For the millions of Americans who do not get their health insurance from work, the open enrollment deadline is at the end of next week. Friday, December 15th is when the window of opportunity closes for people to sign-up for health coverage, which at least for now, is required by law.
While Obamacare prices go up and choice diminishes, Christians are increasingly walking away from the Affordable Health Care Act and opting for faith-based heath-sharing plans, which are allowed by law as an acceptable form of health insurance in place of those offered on the Obamacare exchanges.
Health Sharing plans are actually considered ministries, according to insurance expert Jeff Smedsrud, founder of HealthValues.org, a website showcasing the various health-sharing ministries.
Smedsrud told CBN News that Christians are attracted to health sharing ministries for two main reasons: cost and community.
"Health-sharing ministries are not only fully in line with their faith," he said, "But also often result in a 50 percent savings compared to a major medical insurance." Speaking about HeathValues.org he said, "Up until now, there has been no one-stop place to see and compare all the options available to Christians, get expert help, fill in the gaps not covered by a health plan, and quickly come up with the right solution for them."
Smedsrud said about three million Americans take part in the six major heath-sharing groups. He said while the vast majority are happy with what they get, health sharing isn't for everyone.
For instance, sometimes people with pre-existing conditions are not eligible to participate.
Accentuating the fact that these are faith-based programs, Smedsrud said oftentimes health-sharing plans will not pay for medical expenses incurred from behavior not in keeping with Christian values. Examples of this would be pregnancy out of wedlock or a drunk driving accident.
Participants in health sharing ministries can communicate with one another if they like, such as with a personal notes of encouragement. Participants also pray for the needs of those experiencing medical issues.