Yep, you read that right. We do not have health insurance. And yes, we’re a family of five consisting of two adults and three children. So, then how do we survive medical issues if we don’t have health insurance? How do we prepare and pay for medical expenses and what about dental?? Is there an affordable health insurance option?
Just a little backstory so you can understand why we made the decisions that we did. My family became consumer debt-free in August of 2015 right before the birth of our third child. We paid off just over $55,000 of consumer debt in two years. Shortly after the birth of our daughter, we had a very scary medical scare that involved our daughter being admitted to the hospital overnight. Thankfully, she ended up rebounding and everything was okay.
But at the time my husband worked for a soul-sucking corporation and they were less than thrilled when my husband needed to take off for a few days (he had been out of town when our daughter went into the hospital and we had not seen him in almost a month). My husband was beyond angry that his employer couldn’t understand why he needed to have a few days at home with his three children and wife after the scariest event of our lives.
And right then and there, my husband decided that he was done with that corporate job and so #TeamFearon got to work building our six-month emergency fund so my husband could quit his job and go into business for himself.
To have insurance or not to have insurance…
While we were saving and building up our emergency fund, we started looking around at different insurance policies. We kept looking around the Marketplace but everything was sooooo expensive! We kept hoping for an affordable health insurance option to pop up. Not to mention the deductibles would completely wipe out the emergency fund we were building. Which, if you haven’t read our story on how my husband’s fall out of a two-story window wiped out our savings, head here to read that story. Basically, we’ve been down that road before and never want to go back.
So we searched and searched and grew more discouraged by the day because nothing was proving affordable! I mean seriously, the cost of insurance is stupid. Like stupider than stupid because who really can afford those $16,000 deductibles and insurance premiums that are more than mortgages???
That is what ultimately lead us to investigate Healthcare Sharing Ministries. I’ll be honest, at first, I was really wary of these companies – where they legit? Right before I went back to college to pursue my Accounting Degree, I completed a training program for Medical Billing and Coding so I was having a really hard time understanding how these companies worked. Would they actually pay the bills? What do I tell the doctor’s office when I make the appointment?
So is it insurance?
No. Healthcare Sharing Ministries are not insurance which means that they don’t have to pay for any bills that are against their policies or related to a pre-existing condition. I know that may frighten most folks but the reality is that we’ve found Christian Healthcare Ministries to be more than willing to work with us and I believe based on other people’s testimonies of other Sharing Ministries that they are willing to do the same.
The Healthcare Sharing Ministries also do not cover vision or dental care – just healthcare.
How much money does it cost?
The particular plan that we have with CHM is $450 a month for our family of five. (Update 9/15/22 the cost is now $615 a month) We also have what they call Brother’s Keeper which is basically catastrophic coverage and is paid quarterly. The amount varies by quarter but the most we’ve ever paid for a quarter is $125. With the plan that we have, we are responsible for paying for any doctor visit that is less than $500. Which yes, that means our kids’ well visits are not free.
For dental, we have a dental plan from 1Dental that is $199 for the whole year! The whole freaking year! The dental plan even includes partial coverage for braces which is wonderful since we know for a fact that at least one of our kids has to have braces. So if we were going to calculate a rough monthly cost of how much our healthcare ministry and dental costs us, it would be $508.25.
To me, that’s way better than the average premium (as per 2018 statistics) of $1,168 a month! Especially since most of those plans come with huge deductibles that have to be met and only provide 80/20 or 70/30 coverage. ***80/20 and 70/30 refer to the amount that your insurance company will cover AFTER you’ve met your deductible. If you have the 80/20 plan, then your insurance provider would only cover 80% of the bill. You’d still be responsible for 20% of the bill after paying your deductible.
How we prepare for medical expenses.
In order to save and be prepared for these medical expenses, we have a medical fund. (Read this post here for more on our Funds Budgeting System.) You can set yourself up your own medical fund whether you go with a checking account or a high yield savings account (we use a savings account from CIT Bank which has an awesome savings rate!).
Are there any alternatives to Healthcare Sharing Ministries that are still insurance?
Yes! I know of eHealthInsurance as a marketplace that sells affordable health insurance plans. For us, they couldn’t get us a plan we really liked which is why we ended up going with Christian Healthcare Ministries, but they may be worth checking out.
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