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Setting the Record Straight About Health Care Sharing Ministries

01-28-2020
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COMMENTARY

Perhaps no other topic tends to be more polarizing or politicized in America than healthcare. Here at Medi-Share, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit Health Care Sharing Ministries, we often find ourselves in the middle of conversations or news articles regarding our unique approach to meeting the healthcare needs of Christians.

One such article was recently published in The New York Times under the headline, “It Looks Like Health Insurance, but It’s Not. ‘Just Trust God,’ Buyers Are Told.” We appreciate the interest in the unique and growing alternative of health care sharing, but we believe the article left readers with misleading conclusions. Though other ministries will want to speak for themselves, I’d at least like to set the record straight regarding Medi-Share.

Significant Facts Omitted or Misrepresented

The article described an unfavorable experience of a handful of members across several ministries and then implied that these experiences are the norm for members of health care sharing ministries. I don’t believe that’s true, and I can affirm that’s definitely not true at Medi-Share. We have a 26-year history of faithfully sharing among our members, an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and consistently high member satisfaction scores (which we monitor continuously). That’s real proof that the great majority of our members like the experience and value they and their families receive by participating in Medi-Share. Since 1993, every eligible bill submitted through the Medi-Share program has been paid by our membership. During 2019, more than $50 million in medical bills were shared each month by the faithful members of Medi-Share.

I was particularly concerned that the one example The New York Times article cited about a Medi-Share member’s experience left out a key part of the story. Yes, it’s true that our member had a medical event that was initially determined not eligible for sharing under the program guidelines. But what the article failed to mention was that the member followed our member appeal process and the initial decision was reversed by our community. Ultimately, this member’s bills were taken care of — that too was omitted. We’ve since learned that an example cited about a Samaritan Ministries’ member was also inaccurately reported.

I wish the article had sought and offered examples I hear every day from members. They are compelling and would more accurately depict the experiences most typical of our community. Let me offer two.

Consider Cathrine, a Medi-Share member in California who just this past year was facing the difficult challenge of fighting cancer. Medi-Share members shared all of her medical bills, and also supported her in prayer, enabling her to focus on her health and recovery instead of having to worry about tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. In Cathrine’s words, “With Medi-Share, you feel like you have an ally, and you just don’t get that in other places.”

Even more recently I heard from a five-year member of Medi-Share named Julie who described a terrifying series of cardiovascular symptoms experienced by her husband, resulting in a number of expensive tests and a hospitalization. Thankfully, he was eventually sent home with a clean bill of health, but that wasn’t the only bill. Julie told us, “We owed over $100k and the only way we wouldn't have to declare bankruptcy was if Medi-Share members came through for us. And came through they did! In our time of need, Medi-Share staff was there to pray with us, guide us through the [sharing] procedures, and the members shared in all of our needs! Thank you so much Medi-Share for doing what you promised to do!” 

Correct, It’s Not Insurance. Medi-Share Is a Health Care Sharing Ministry

Yes, health care sharing ministries like Medi-Share are not insurance. The article stated that correctly. Our members don’t rely on legal obligations but on the faithfulness of God providing through other members of our community. To a secular audience that might sound risky. But for our Christian audience, the concept of a community of believers coming together to support each other, believing that God will provide…that is totally sensible and even inspirational. It’s how we do life.

I believe we can all agree that there are some fundamental challenges with our healthcare system in America, but the solution is to have more options for your healthcare not fewer. Like other health care sharing ministries, Medi-Share is not for everyone. But for our 400,000+ members, they are loud and clear that this program provides them a great experience with real value alongside the intangible blessing of community.

*****

Scott Reddig is the chief executive officer of Christian Care Ministry, a Florida-based non-profit ministry that operates Medi-Share, one of the leading health care sharing ministries in the United States. Since the program’s inception in 1993, Medi-Share says its members have shared more than $3 billion in medical bills and saved an additional $1.6 billion in medical costs from access to an extensive network of 900,000+ health care providers. Medi-Share reports it has more than 400,000 members in all 50 states. Medi-Share describes itself as a community of Christians who share one another’s healthcare burdens and encourage one another through community and prayer. For more information, visit Medishare.com.

 

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