For those considering their 2018 health insurance options, open enrollment in Utah continues until Dec. 15 and some of the choices in the market don’t even call themselves “insurance.”
One example is Liberty Healthshare which falls into the category of healthcare sharing ministries.
Dale Bellis, the company’s executive director, said it is a nationwide nonprofit association of people who have joined around a common cause.
“And that is paying each other’s medical bills. We do it without the aid of an insurance company, or the government. It’s just a regular, systematic way to meet healthcare costs. And it’s not insurance.”
He said 71,000 households are enrolled across the nation, representing 175,000 individuals.
“We ask our member households every month to set aside what we call a ‘suggested share amount.’ It’s $199 for a single, $299 for a couple or $449 for a family of three or more. That money goes into a secure online account, we call it a share box, and it is matched to another member that month who has medical bills.
“You will literally and transparently through your online account see your money flow from your account to the receiving member’s account. Then we cut the checks directly out of that receiving member’s account and pay the doctors and hospitals.”
Bellis said it is part of what Christian churches have been doing for generations.
He said the concept catches consumer’s attention when they first understand it is very cost efficient and cost affordable.
“Number two is the change of mentality that says we are all self-pay patients, we don’t have insurance. So when we go to the doctor it’s our money at stake as well as the money of our fellow members, because we are sharing those costs in community with each other.”
He said the other response is “…my money is going to help another person, it’s not going to a company’s black hole somewhere.”
Bellis said Liberty Healthshare members are encouraged to ask for the best cash price for services from a doctor or a hospital.
“Many people don’t realize that what a hospital will bill, they will accept far less in resolution for that particular service. We want to reimburse providers fairly, honorably and reasonably.”
Those enrolled in any of the healthcare sharing ministries are not required to have insurance and also they are exempt from the mandates of the Affordable Care Act.
Bellis said more information is available at <a href=”http://www.libertyhealthshare.org” target=”_blank”>libertyhealthshare.org</a>.