This is NOT a sponsored post. However, links to Medi-Share’s website are referral links. I only suggest products that I believe in, and this is my honest experience and opinion of our first year with Medi-Share.
Health insurance is a struggle for many people, and for us, it became a big source of anxiety at the end of 2015 when our insurance company went out of business. We scrambled to research new plans, but after 11 years with the same company, we were out of the loop regarding the insurance landscape at that time.
Being self-employed, we started shopping the market for individual plans. We also talked to three brokers and they all had the same advice: check Healthcare.gov.
Once there, we found many options, but the costs were more than we were paying with the private insurer. We settled on the least expensive plan, but the monthly premium was still $200 more a month than our previous coverage. That was a hit to our budget, but we reworked our numbers to find the funds and make it fit. We felt we didn’t have a choice, and we put the issue behind us.
However, on November 1, 2016, we logged on to healthcare.gov to renew for 2017 and found premiums had doubled and the options were limited.
The new rates were more than our mortgage payment! They were so unaffordable, we actually considered taking the tax penalty and going uninsured.
There were many sleepless nights, a few tears, and possibly some cursing…
Thankfully, in our scramble for options, we discovered a non-traditional, yet completely affordable product: Medi-Share, a health cost-sharing ministry. We started using it in January 2017 and I wrote all about it, so I won’t rehash it all here. Please take the time to read these posts for perspective:
- Why We Left Traditional Health Insurance – includes all of our numbers and options.
- Why We Chose Medi-Share, a Health Cost Sharing Ministry, an affordable solution to traditional health insurance. If you’re unfamiliar with the health cost-sharing concept, we were too! Medi-Share is NOT insurance, but we will not be fined by the government for not having insurance. Medi-Share can be used as a substitute to satisfy the federal mandate requiring “applicable individuals” to maintain “minimum essential insurance coverage”. (At least at the time this publishes. The future of health insurance continues to be up in the air.)
- My First Update to Medi-Share – Written in September 2017. I updated our experience and included all of our numbers through that point in time.
Medi-Share: Our first year.
The first half of 2017 was non-eventful in regards to our health. We had a few preventative appointments, but nothing out of the ordinary. That changed on Saturday, June 25, 2017, when one of my children started complaining. Due to her privacy, I won’t go into specifics at this time, but I honestly thought her problem was related to allergies.
It turns out that allergies weren’t her issue at all, and unfortunately, we spent the rest of the summer dealing with doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and procedures trying to determine the correct protocol for her issue.
In the September 2017 update, I went into more detail about how Medi-Share worked for us during this time. We hit our Annual Household Portion (think: deductible) with this medical event and our medical bills started to be paid by the other members’ shares. Medi-Share was working exactly how we were told it would.
After that first update, we thought our daughter was in the clear and our medical drama was behind us. She was responding well to the medical treatments and medications, and the doctors were pleased.
However, that all changed at the end of November when my daughter called me from school to tell me she had a reoccurrence.
We rushed her to the doctor and a procedure was scheduled for a few days later. There was a sense of urgency with this reoccurrence and this procedure would be more invasive than the previous ones. It would include an overnight stay at the hospital. Her first, and mine too, as they let me stay with her.
She missed the last 11 days of school right before the Christmas break. She’s a very active kid, and missed swim practice and meets, her holiday band and choral concert, Girl Scout meetings, and holiday parties. She was one bummed out middle schooler, but still handled it like a champ. As soon as she was able, she caught up with her school work and was on track when she returned to school on January 2.
The good news is that her doctor is very pleased with the outcome of this last procedure. She wouldn’t completely say my daughter will never have a reoccurrence, but she did say she would be very surprised, so we’ll go with that!
So how did Medi-Share hold up in the middle of this medical crisis? Well! It worked really well!
If you’re new to our story, read Why We Chose Medi-Share, to understand how this health cost-sharing ministry works. It will provide perspective for the following information and numbers.
On the spreadsheet below, you’ll see that the December bills were quite high. We hit our Annual Household Portion (think: deductible) in June, so all of the medical bills after that point were paid by other members’ shares. Medi-Share is NOT insurance, but it runs very similarly, and it worked exactly like we were told it would.
Recap of our numbers for 2017:
The total amount billed from providers: $104,009.11
Total discount from using in-network providers: $28,291.29 (27%)
Payment due to providers: $75,717.82
Medical Bills that were shared: $64,561.61 – What does “shared” mean? These bills were paid by the shares of other members of Medi-Share.
Our Out of Pocket Portion for medical bills: $11,156.21 – This includes the $35 down payment per date of service, our $10,000 annual household portion, and bills that were not shareable, such as preventative appointments.
Our monthly shares (premium) totaled $3591 for 2017, compared to $9600 for our annual premium in 2016, and the least expensive option that we found for 2017 in the traditional health insurance market cost of $16,320 for the year.
As you can see we saved significantly in 2017 with Medi-Share on our monthly payment. We used those savings to pay off a home equity loan and we increased our contribution to our church to help fund missions projects.
We had high deductible health plans from 2004 – 2016 and contributed many years to a health savings account. We used those funds to pay for our medical bills in 2017 and that account is now depleted and closed. Our main financial goal for 2018 is to save $10k for our Annual Household Portion with Medi-Share. However, we will have to put the money into a regular savings account, since we are no longer allowed to contribute to a health savings account.
Sidebar on prescriptions: I get asked a lot about how prescriptions are handled. Medi-Share’s guideline on “prescription costs: the cost of CMS or FDA approved testing, treatments, and up to six months of FDA approved prescription drugs per eligible condition will be considered for sharing. Medi-Share members can save on most prescriptions by presenting their Medi-Share card at participating pharmacies. Find the pharmacies near you and compare your prescription prices at MyRxPrice.com.” The spreadsheet above doesn’t include prescription medications, due to the meds not being processed through Medi-Share. My husband is on a lifetime medication and my daughter is on a short-term medication related to her condition. We purchase the meds through a participating pharmacy and spend about $60/month combined. Check the Medi-Share Guidelines for more details, or call them directly to clarify your prescription.
Also, please note, we have never had vision or dental insurance while in the individual market, so this list does not include those bills. I did not include them in my numbers in the previous posts and I want to keep everything consistent.
Our thoughts on Medi-Share:
In 2017, we learned that things can and DO happen to healthy people. Our daughter is doing very well. Her unexpected condition was never life-threatening, but it is potentially life-altering. Only time will tell.
We went into the year very nervous about trying a non-traditional approach to health insurance. We only knew a few people using Medi-Share back then and they were new users too. However, we never felt comfortable going without health insurance, but we didn’t know how we would pay such exorbitant monthly premiums with a traditional plan.
My daughter’s medical condition came out of nowhere. Not a single sign prior to that Saturday in June led us to believe that we would have incurred over $100k in medical bills for the year.
During this entire ordeal, we felt like Medi-Share was behind us the entire way. They answered our questions and guided us when we weren’t sure how things would work out. They also prayed over our family while on the phone, which was quite comforting.
Medi-Share worked beautifully and we were able to spend the time caring for our daughter without worrying about the medical bills being paid.
We’re so glad we took the leap of faith.
Have questions regarding our experience? Are you currently looking for health insurance options? Share your questions, comments, or your own experience in the comments.
Interested in learning more about Medi-Share, I highly recommend you thoroughly read their website. Also, they are VERY helpful on the phone, so if you have specific questions, do not hesitate to call them directly…and don’t be surprised if the customer rep offers to say a prayer at the end of the call. 😉
Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. However, any link directly to Medi-Share’s website is my referral link. All members receive a referral link upon becoming a member. I only suggest products that I believe in. Please note that we are still fairly new consumers of Medi-Share, but this is my honest opinion.
Keli @ Yellow Brick Freedom says
Great post! I’m definitely interested in Medi-Share when we move into early or semi-retirement. It’s good to hear that it has worked so well for you.
Thank you so much for your MediShare posts. My family is going through what you did in 2003 and transitioning from employer health insurance to self employment without benefits. We have been researching the various sharing options and were struggling to decide which way to go. Your blog has made our decision easy. I am sorry to hear what your daughter went through last year but am so thankful that you took the time to share your experience. Please know that God used your trial to bless others through this post (and I am sure in many other ways as well). May He continue to bless you and your family.
Thank you, Todd, for your comments. I wrote this series to help others with this very difficult decision. We were in a scary place when we realized we couldn’t afford the traditional route any longer and were very thankful when we stumbled onto Medi-Share. May God bless you too with your decisions.