Christians nationwide are helping to share one another's medical bills through Medi-Share, a network of believers which is exempt from the Affordable Care Act requirements to purchase health insurance. Medi-Share members pay monthly premiums and submit claims to their network, just like regular insurance companies; what is unique to the Christian Care Ministry is that members' medical plans are more tailored to their family's values and needs, and their bills are shared by other brothers and sisters in Christ who have committed to a Biblical, healthy lifestyle.
Like a high-deductible plan, Medi-Share covers the cost for major medical bills after members meet their deductible. Fox News reports that the Christian Care Ministry has more than 242,000 members, each of whom have agreed to live according to the word of God. Members are encouraged to participate regularly in their local church gatherings, and are asked to abstain from sexual immorality and from tobacco and other drugs (though alcohol is allowed in moderation).
Because of these healthier lifestyle choices, Medi-Share premiums are lower than what most insurance companies offer. "[The Biblical model] makes for a healthier group of people to care for, and a lower cost for our members," the network's website reads. The Christian Care Ministry encourages participants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and gives health incentive discounts to members as well.
The Medi-Share health plans are based on Christian values and do not cover abortion procedures. There are seven levels of medical bill sharing options to choose from, depending on a family's needs and budget. "If the federal healthcare reform mandate has you seeking a wise and God-honoring choice for your healthcare, you'll find it in Medi-Share," their website reads.
The Chappell family appreciates the fact that they feel in-touch with the other members of their network. "We've always enjoyed knowing that when we sent in our monthly share, it was going to help another Christian family," they say. Like many others, they enjoy lifting up their brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need of the funds that they are providing through their monthly premiums. They echo Paul's sentiments in 2 Corinthians 8:14-15:
"Your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, 'Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.'"
Though the Christian Care Ministry is not an insurance company, they have an outstanding track record of consistent coverage. According to CEO Tony Meggs, there have been only a handful of complaints concerning coverage deficiencies in the past 21 years of the ministry's operation.
Americans have until March 31 to sign up for insurance in order to avoid penalties for being uninsured under the Affordable Care Act.