I've always had good healthcare. As a kid our health insurance was so good that after paying out the $50 per person annual deductible it was cheaper to go to the doctor and pick up a $2 prescription than it was to go to Wal-Mart and get something over the counter. As I got older I ventured into my own healthcare and I've been on 80/20 PPO's, 100% post deductible HSA's, and a few other plans. January would come and we expected to pay out the obligatory deductibles and then we'd enjoy the benefits of our health insurance for the remainder of the year. I felt secure in these plans - and I could never imagine being without one. But, now I have entered the world of being "uninsured" and I'm loving it.
Yeah, I'm surprised to hear myself say it, too. Let me tell you about the big move my employer has made and how all of us participating in it are thoroughly enjoying it. Last year, in a move to get away from being at the mercies of the health insurance companies, Celebrate switched to Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM). CHM is not an insurance but is an 'eligible option' of the Affordable Healthcare Act - meaning those who participate will not be fined for being 'uncovered.'
So, what is it? CHM is a huge healthcare expense sharing group. It means that we all pay in a monthly amount to help cover the costs of other people's medical expenses, and in turn our expenses are shared by others as well. Sound shady or unreliable? Well... so far they have 'shared' 1 billion dollars in expenses and it has been great for us. The rates are also exceptional. An individual can enroll for between $45 and $150 per month. My entire family is covered for $450/month. This means that for each incident we have a $500 personal responsibility. After the $500 is met CHM will take care of the remainder of the bill. Here's the kicker, CHM will negotiate those submitted bills and the first $500 which is rebated will reduce your $500 responsibility. The initial coverage is for up to $1,000,000. For an additional $28 per month my household has no coverage limit.
So, you're probably wondering what good this does if you don't have the initial $500. Since my employer no longer had to pay half of an ever increasing insurance premium they instead put $400/month into an Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) managed by Discovery Benefits (DB). DB provides me with a debit card to have access to these increasing funds for medical expenses. What's even better is that I am now considered "uninsured" and as such most medical personell treat me more like a patient rather than an insurance case and they regularly discount my bills by at least twenty percent without even asking.
What does this look like? My friend just had a surgery and she submitted over $36,000 in expenses for her 'incident' to CHM (including all doctor visits, hospital stay, etc.). CHM contacted the doctors and negotiated $8,000 off. She then received a check for over $28,000 to pay the medical expenses. Since the negotiated deduction was more than $500 she was not responsible for any of it. Meanwhile, her HRA continues to grow allowing her to cover medical expenses including dental, vision, etc.
Everyone on staff participating in this program has had nothing but great things to say. In the end our expenses have been less all around and we feel like we are getting excellent healthcare. I can't say enough about how freeing this option is.
If you would like to learn more about CHM, visit their website and please list me as your referral. http://www.chministries.org/