Some Alternatives to Health Insurance for Americans

There are huge obstacles to President DJT’s Swamp Draining Attempt in Washington, DC.  One of the biggest fights revolves around replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is commonly known as Obamacare. There seems to be a log jam in Congress. This was in part instigated by the left wing of the Republican Party. (That’s is the majority of Republicans in both the House and Senate.) So, despite their rhetoric, it seems like they don’t want to do away with socialized medicine.  This is because the status quo concentrates both power and the flow of wealth through Washington, DC. For now, no real change seems capable of moving through the Swamp-Mired Congress. In this essay, I’ll be addressing making a change of our own. We can do so without waiting for Congressional action: Medical Cost Sharing.

How will this  be resolved by the Congresscritters?  Probably not anytime soon. Consequently, I expect to see health insurance premiums keep ratcheting upward. The “alternative plans” now being developed by the divided Congress probably won’t be much better than the current ACA.  And what about the recently-touted “Obamacare Light” program?  It doesn’t offer much hope of reduced costs for typical American families.

Medical Cost Sharing

I encourage readers in the US to closely look at the alternatives to traditional insurance. Probably one of the best alternatives: Medical cost sharing ministries,. These are also called health sharing ministries.  They are networks or societies of individuals and families that agree help pay for each other’s medical expenses. These are nearly all  faith-based programs. Consequently they are exempt from the ACA law. (And exempt from any ACA non-participation fines.)  About one million Americans are already enrolled in health sharing ministries, and the numbers are growing rapidly. Typically, these programs do not cover any pre-existing conditions. But most noteworthy they have no limit (“cap”) on covered costs.  The annual cost of these plans is less than most insurance plans.

The four best-known and widely-subscribed Christian health cost sharing programs are:

  1. Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM.) It is available in all 50 States.  Unlike most of the others, it allows LDS (Mormon) church members.
  2. Christian Care Medi-Share. It has the lowest monthly cost for younger members. (The costs are age-based.) It is available in all States except Montana.
  3. Samaritan Ministries. This is the program that JWR’s family is enrolled in. It is available in all 50 States. Members must belong to an evangelical church. Among its competitors it has the lowest “Annual Personal Responsibility.” (The equivalent of an an annual insurance deductible.)
  4. Liberty HealthShare. This program appears to provide the most comprehensive coverage. Unlike most other plans, it covers alternative and natural treatments. It is available in all States except Pennsylvania.

Which Is Best?

Maybe with a hint of marketing bias, Liberty HealthShare has published a quick coverage comparison chart of the four major plans. The Alliance of Healthcare Sharing Ministries web site states: “The IRS has issued Form 8965 along with finalized instructions explaining how members of a recognized health care sharing ministry can apply for an exemption to the individual mandate on their annual federal income tax return.”

It is noteworhty that I only have personal experience with  Samaritan Ministries. Hence, to avoid my personal bias, I will refer you to this good summary article. It is: A Look At The Three Big Christian Healthcare Sharing Options.  (It was written in 2014, but updated in 2017.)

One For Catholics

Recently, another health share program was expanded. It is intended for members of the Roman Catholic Church, and “other like-minded Christians”. It is called Solidarity Health Share. I haven’t had the opportunity to look into it closely. But it seems to be operated quite ethically. This, it is quite similar the the aforementioned Big Four.


In conclusion, the preceding is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis. It is just a starting point.  So do your own due diligence.

Finally, you may ask: Should you switch to one of these programs? It probably makes sense for most of us. Please pray about it. If you then feel convicted to make the switch, then don’t hesitate.

Some Recommended Further Reading: The Big Lie of Socialized Medicine.


  1. I have used Samaritan Ministries for 3+ years. During that time I have had one event. I slipped on the ice and crushed my elbow.

    Members are encouraged to ask for discounts, as cash paying patients. I asked for and received discounts from 25-50% on everything but the internal hardware (pins, plates and screws). It was very empowering. Because I was able to get such good discounts, I was not required to pay the $300 deductible.

    While it is true Samaritan does not cover pre-existing conditions, they give members the opportunity to share from $20-30 to someone who is getting treatment for their pre-existing. If each member were to help, they say the bill would be covered.

    I always send that little bit extra.

    Two other benefits:
    1. I got some very sweet notes of comfort from those helping pay my bills.

    2. If expenses/ claims are less for the month, Samaritan adjusts the monthly share downward. What insurance company does that?

    I am a very happy customer.

  2. My wife, 3 kids and I are in Florida and have had Liberty Healthshare for nearly 2 years now. We are extremely pleased with the program overall. Being self employed, Obamacare was costing 4 of us (one wasn’t even born yet) over $1,000 per month. It was nice to go down to $400 per month overnight.

    We have gotten into the habit of just telling healthcare providers we are self pay and paying immediately and then submitting the bills to Liberty for reimbursement. This isn’t something you have to do, but I have found it ultimately saves both Liberty and us money. For example, our primary doctor would bill insurance for around $250 for a sick visit. If we self pay, the charge is $74-$95.

    We feel grateful there are good viable options to Obamacare. Also I can attest that at least in our case, they do pay medical bills. Last year our baby was born and the total charges from the hospital exceeded $15,000. Liberty has paid everything.

  3. One of the most under reported facts on Obummercare is the way to avoid the penalty. If you don’t want or need the overpriced crappy insurance, but don’t want to pay the penalty, make sure your withholdings are low enough that you don’t get a refund! There is no mechanism in the law to collect the penalty other than to confiscate your refund.

    1. I can only speak for Samaritan’s, but their website carefully explains how it works. Also their customer service department is very good. After my injury, I actually got to talk to a real person!

  4. Medi-Share is now available (once again) in Montana. Years ago, we were on it. It was great. Very affordable. There is no excuse for what has taken place with health care in D.C. Government needs to get out of it entirely, then watch costs drop like a rock.

  5. Why have a separate Catholic health sharing ministry? Would it not make more sense to have a Christian health sharing ministry option. Being more members could also give more advantages. I am not analyzing the details. Could that work?

  6. Get a part time job at Starbucks if it’s a possibility for you or a spouse. If you average just 20 hours a week each 6 month period you are eligible for full health insurance benefits. The choices in plans are incredible compared to any other full time job I have had. I figure they are basically giving me $1500 a month toward my family plan which would cost me 2k a month on the open market. There are some other great benefits as well. It’s a pretty good deal if you can hack it. I have my own business on the side and they are flexible with my scheduling. We don’t go to church so medishare is not available to non church members as far as I know.

    1. “Giving” you $1500/month? I think not. I think that what you are getting (not enough details) is an O’BozoCare TAX SUBSIDY, paid by Teh Gooberment, from the money picked from our pockets by tax (and other) laws and enforced by Armed Force of Government.

  7. Sorry, these plans seem no different than what regular health insurance costs would be with deductibles, etc. They are just marketed differently. With Medi-Share you have to meet an Annual Household Portion before your bills are posted for what appears to be reimbursement, as you seem to be required to pay your bills upfront in cash. Paying in cash gets you discounts which all medical services usually provide, so I am not seeing any real savings, just a re-arrangement of how the bills are paid. The more you pay in Annual Household Portion drops your monthly rate which is no different than the higher deductible you have the lower your payments are with regular insurance. All insurance is a scam, until you need it for a serious illness/injury. Just like all lawyers are worthless until you need one to get you out of a legal bind. I’ll stay with regular insurance for now.

    1. My cost is $200 less a month than what I was quoted in the Marketplace.

      With Samaritan you do not need to meet an Annual Household portion.

      This is not insurance. It is a health sharing network. There is no big company getting rich off my premiums.

      I do not have to pay the $300 deductible if I negotiate my bills for that much or better.

      The pool of ‘share-er’s’ is, in the case of Samaritan, a group of people who agree to be faithful to their spouse, not drink alcohol (or very little), and attend church regularly. I am not sure if that is the case for the other groups.

      After my health event, they did not raise my rates.

      1. Thanks for your response as the web sites do not seem full of information on exactly what they do and how they do it. I have looked at Medi-Share and am looking at Samaritan now. Samaritan does appear to be less expensive from what I can tell. My main concern is major illnesses and how they would be covered. I got both pneumonia and the flu at the same time early in the year. Was in intensive care for 2 weeks, with 9 of those days on a respirator. Spent about 10 more days in the hospital rehabbing after intensive care. Bills were $220,000 of which I only had to pay $500.00 in co-pays, everything else paid for by my health insurance. If any of these other plans mentioned has a record like that, I would be interested in knowing more.

    2. Okay, you seemed to have missed the point, if you work and have access to medical insurance through your employer then that is great, continue on. These plans are for those who are self employed or for any number of reasons, maybe their employer doesn’t provide insurance then this does give an opportunity to have catastrophic coverage and in some cases a portion of doctors visits.

  8. The bottom line is the fact millions of Americans have some sort of pre-existing condition thus are not eligible for these faith based programs.

    The only option is to “play the government game” and get the best insurance for your situation.
    I pay over $1200 per month with a $1000 deductible but that is prorated over the fiscal year.
    But my coverage &
    care is excellent. And I have a pre-existing condition.

    And when I turn 65, my health expense will drop by 70%.

  9. Beware Christian Healthcare Ministries. They will not pay your bills if you cancel coverage before payout. They have one obscure half sentence they base that right on. I was unable to continue their high monthly cost and cancelled. I was left with a $1600 bill. They take up to 90 days to pay and if your providrr takes anytime at all to bill you, you can end up having to continue coverage for many months beyond the date of service. Which of course is to CHM’s advantage because they continue to bring in funds.

  10. Or people can just ditch the chemical poison pharmaceutical atrocity they call medicine in favor of naturopathic and holistic (real) medicine which heals and cures instead of treating symptoms and is much cheaper as most times you don’t even have to see a doctor. No such thing as preexisting conditions either.

Comments are closed.