What are Health Sharing Plans, and How Does it Work?

Depending on your religious beliefs, you may not have ever heard of a health sharing program. Health Sharing Plans are faith-based health programs that facilitate sharing funds among members for qualified medical expenses. According to the specific guidelines each health sharing plans hold, members pool their monthly ‘shares’ together (much like a premium) that are then used to help others in their network with medical expenses.

Differences Between Health Care Sharing vs Health Insurance

  • Insurance is defined as “a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for a payment of a premium.” No such guarantee exists for health care sharing. 
  • When insured, you enter a legally binding contract with your insurer. However, there are no binding contracts between a member and a health sharing program or between members to receive a payment.  

Like health insurance, there are specific guidelines each must follow to be accepted into a Health Sharing Plan. Typically, these Health Sharing Plans are formed by people with similar beliefs and values who agree to share each other’s healthcare expenses. These programs’ main appeal is that they are theoretically much less expensive than health insurance, with lower out-of-pocket expense limits than typical high-deductible health insurance options.

But Health Care Sharing isn’t health insurance. They typically do not cover health-related costs considered ‘unbiblical’ – define in their guidelines – and can exclude payments for birth control, abortions, alcohol or drug-related injuries, or negligent injuries. This also includes accidents that some faiths may consider an ‘act of god.’ 

Participating members are excluded from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance, although they do not meet the ACA’s essential health benefits requirements. 

What are Health Care Sharing Plan Options

To become a member of a particular healthcare sharing program, you may be required to agree and sign a statement of faith, or in some cases, have to verify regular church attendance. However, each healthcare sharing program has its own policies. The significant difference between each health sharing plan is their acceptance guidelines, alternative treatment coverage, and electronic billing. 

The most popular health sharing ministries are: 

  1. Liberty Healthshare
  2. Christian Healthcare Ministries
  3. Samaritan Ministries
  4. Medi-Share
  5. Altrua Healthshare
  6. AlieraCare
  7. Sedera 

Review of Popular Healthcare Sharing Ministries

While there are multiple healthcare sharing ministries out there, we will review the five most popular plans’ features and benefits.

Christian Healthcare Ministries Review & Pricing

“To be CHM members, participating adults must be Christians living by biblical principles, including abstaining from the use of tobacco and the illegal use of drugs (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), following biblical teaching on the use of alcohol, and attending group worship regularly if health permits (Hebrews 10:25). There are no restrictions based on age, weight, geographic location or health history.” – Christian Healthcare Ministries. 

According to the Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) website, their members currently, at approximately 320,000, have shared over $2.5 billion. Like the ACA, the CHM has Gold, Silver, and Bronze options with ranging benefits and costs.

Gold Program

$172 per unit, per month

Most extensive financial support by sharing 100% of any medical incident exceeding $500 (as long as all other Guidelines are met), up to $125,000 per illness. 

Includes:

  • Inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery
  • Medical testing
  • Maternity
  • Physical therapy and home healthcare (up to 45 visits for each type)
  • Incident-related doctor’s office visits
  • Incident-related prescriptions

Silver Program

$118 per unit, per month

Shares medical expenses exceeding $2,500 (as long as all other Guidelines are met), up to $125,000 per illness.

Includes:

  • Inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery
  • Surgery performed at facilities that meet accepted standards of medical care

Does not include:

  • Maternity bills
  • Testing and treatment outside of a hospital
  • Urgent care facilities 

Bronze Program

$78 per unit, per month

Shares medical expenses exceeding $5,000 (as long as all other Guidelines are met), up to $125,000 per illness.

Includes:

  • Inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery
  • Surgery performed at facilities that meet accepted standards of medical care

Does not include:

  • Maternity bills
  • Testing and treatment outside of a hospital
  • Urgent care facilities

CHM also has a low-cost, Bible-inspired catastrophic coverage program called “brother’s keeper,” which can be added to all plans for an additional fee.

Liberty Healthshare Review & Price

“Liberty HealthShare’s program is based on shared ethical and religious beliefs, a religious tradition of mutual aid, neighborly assistance, and financial sharing. The program does not share expenses resulting from behaviors and lifestyles destructive to personal health, but is specially tailored for individuals who maintain a Christian lifestyle, make responsible choices in regards to health, and believe in helping others.” – Liberty Healthshare 

While Liberty Healthshare (LHS) has the reputation of being an ‘inclusive’ healthcare sharing program, there is a list of Sharing Member Qualifications and Requirements that must be met to be accepted. Currently, LHS has approximately 202,000 members. 

LHS has four medical cost-sharing programs, which include: 

Liberty CompleteSM

Single $399

Couple $499

Family $675

  • $1,000,000 shareable per incident after Annual Unshared Amount (AUA)
  • SavNet discounts on dental, vision, hearing and chiropractic costs
  • HealthShareRx prescriptions savings plan
  • Liberty TeleHealth virtual healthcare app and web portal
  • AUA – Single $1,000, Couple $1,750, Family $2,250

Liberty PlusSM

Single $374

Couple $474

Family $624

  • $125,000 shareable per incident after Annual Unshared Amount (AUA)
  • SavNet discounts on dental, vision, hearing and chiropractic costs
  • HealthShareRx prescriptions savings plan
  • Liberty TeleHealth virtual healthcare app and web portal 
  • AUA – Single $1,000, Couple $1,750, Family $2,250

Liberty ShareSM

Single $349

Couple $449

Family $599

  • 70% of eligible medical bills, up to $125,000 shareable per incident after Annual Unshared Amount (AUA)
  • Includes physician, urgent care, clinic, emergency room, and hospital (inpatient and outpatient) treatment
  • HealthShareRx prescriptions savings plan 
  • Liberty TeleHealth virtual healthcare app and web portal
  • AUA – Single $1,000, Couple $1,750, Family $2,250

Liberty Select

Single $199

Couple $299

Family $399

  • $500,000 shareable per incident after Annual Unshared Amount (AUA)
  • Eligible wellness expenses, including screenings shareable up to $400 per membership year and not subject to AUA (Infants included). All other LHS guidelines apply.  
  • Excludes maternity
  • HealthShareRx prescriptions savings plan
  • Liberty TeleHealth virtual healthcare app and web portal 
  • AUA – Single $6,000, Couple $12,000, Family $15,000

Those who participate in LHS must pay their Annual Unshared Amount (AUA) in full before medical costs are eligible for sharing.

Medi-Share Review & Pricing

“Our membership is made up of Christ-followers who agree with the Statement of Faith. Additionally, members agree to live by the following Biblical standards: 

  • No use of tobacco or illegal drugs
  • No abuse of legal drugs
  • No sex outside of traditional Christian marriage” – Medi-Share

Medi-Share currently serves more than 325,000 members and has facilitated the sharing of over $2 billion. 

With Medi-share, each household’s monthly share is based on the oldest applicant’s age and how many family members participate. There are several Annual Household Portion (AHP) options available. 

Medi-Share Membership Includes:

  • Share options
  • Annual physical with limited labs*
  • Hospital, Surgical, and other medical expenses
  • No lifetime or annual sharing limits
  • Eligible Bills sharable at 100% after AHP (maternity exception)
  • One AHP per family (no individual/per incident AHP)
  • Access and discounts through PHCS Network
  • Unlimited TeleCounseling with 0% consultation fee
  • Unlimited TeleHealth with $0 counseling fee
  • Dental discounts
  • Vision discounts
  • Prescription discounts
  • Maternity sharing*

*Reference the Medi-Share Program Guidelines

Samaritan Ministries Review and Pricing

“Our membership requirements strive to encourage Christian maturity and foster accountability and a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, we ask that all members agree to our Statement of Faith and to our Membership Requirements.” – Samaritan Ministries 

CLASSIC MEMBERSHIP

Membership Type

Monthly Share

One person $227

Individual Membership is < Age 29 $160

Two-person family $454

Widowed or Divorced with Children $330

3-7 person families $530

8+ person families* $555

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: $400/incident

MAX SHAREABLE AMOUNT: including maternity, 2 person or higher required $250,000/incident 

Samaritan shares 100% of qualifying needs, which go above $300 in total cost on the Classic Plan. Prorating rules apply.

Members of the Basic Level Membership agree to share expenses incurred for medical treatments specified in the Membership Guidelines

Sedera Review & Pricing

“The Sedera MCS Community believes that our members, in concert with the medical providers of their choosing, have a natural incentive to do what is best for themselves and their families, as well as the primary responsibility for making their own health care decisions.” – Sedera

Access+ Initial Unshareable Amount (IUA)

Ages 30-39

$500 IUA $1,000 IUA $1,500 IUA $2,500 IUA $5,000 IUA

Member Only $244 $237 $212 $172 $147

Member + Spouse $467 $454 $404 $324 $274

Member + Child(ren) $449 $437 $389 $313 $266

Member + Family $678 $659 $586 $471 $398

Members Under 30

Member Only Under 30 $208 $195 $174 $153 $113

Member + Spouse Under 30 $396 $370 $328 $286 $207

Member + Child(ren) Under 30 $381 $357 $317 $278 $202

Member + Family Under 30 $574 $538 $477 $416 $300