If you have read my previous post on the cost of healthcare, or are struggling with what to do with your healthcare insurance premiums for 2017, then you really should read the rest of this article.
As somebody who is no longer on an employer’s plan, I need to arrange and pay for my own insurance. Having a reasonable income, I receive no subsidies and the cost for my family of 4 is therefore $1,500 per month about to go to $2,000 per month in 2017 (Gold plan with Blue Shield). Health insurance bugs me to the core. I think the reason for that is because growing up in the UK, healthcare was free; living in the USA, I received health insurance through my company, so that appeared to be free from my perspective. With early retirement came the need to pay for my own health insurance, but at the same time we were forced into the new insurance system set up as a result of Obamacare. Yes it’s great that millions of people now have healthcare, but at what expense, cost and liberty to everybody else. The fact is that all the plans (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum) that exist are identical except for deductibles/co-pays and have been designed to cover everything. I don’t want to be covered for everything, I want a reasonable insurance plan that protects me from high medical bills and for when something catastrophic goes wrong.
Recently I found out about health share plans. There are a number of them out there with similar philosophies and payments, the one I have selected is the Liberty Healthshare Plan. The basic principal is this – many people pay an amount into a share box. When you need money for a medical purpose, you make a request and monies from all the other share boxes are ‘donated’ meet your payment needs. There are some significant differences from regular health insurance. Because this is not insurance, there is no guarantee that your bills will be paid (although there has never happened to members). The origin of share plans come from Christian ministries. As a result (and why I believe the system works quite frankly) is that you are expected to lead a ‘healthy’ lifestyle that meets some conditions such as not drinking to excess, no smoking, no drugs and leading a healthy lifestyle. My family ticks all those boxes, so what is next.
One of the biggest draws for me, is that instead of paying $2,000/month in 2017, I will be paying $449 per month for the entire family with better coverage for our needs. With that payment, there is a ‘deductible’ called an AUA (annual unshared amount). But I can go to any doctor, there are no co-pays, no other deductibles after the AUA and a maximum annual amount up to $1,000,000. There is also an annual wellness check-up included. Pre-existing conditions are not covered if they have occurred in the past 24 months. If you have a pre-existing condition, then there is no coverage the first 12 months of membership, up to $25,000 the second year, $50,000 the third year and then in the fourth year of membership it is no longer considered pre-existing.
So this plan is exactly what I am looking for; something at a reasonable cost; it expects me to be reasonably healthy; it allows me to go where want; it will not cover some conditions non medical emergencies – dental, vision, abortion, mental health, infertility, sex change, dangerous sport.
Simply put, if you do not smoke, do not drink to excess, are in reasonable shape and have no pre-existing conditions, then this is a plan you have to look at http://www.libertyhealthshare.org/3-program-options. I have been very impressed with the people who are on the other end of the phone when I was asking literally dozens of questions.
Pro’s – Premium saving of $17,100 per year; can see any doctor, no co-pay, fits our family values
Con’s – No ‘guarantee of payment’, no preconditions
In the future, I will add my experiences when using the plan and let you know how the claims process works. Please contact me if you have any further questions on this subject.
Update – I have received the medical ID cards and all the paperwork and guidelines.