Taking a Lesson from the Amish

The Waynesboro Republicans are men and women of principle. Their goal is to defend the Constitution, with energy, courage and good humor.

Published in the News Virginian, December 3, 2014

AmishUnder Obamacare, the cost of healthcare insurance is increasing, while out-of-pocket deductions are soaring. That means that ordinary folks have less healthcare coverage at a significantly greater price. But, there is an alternative to Obamacare, and it is called healthcare-sharing ministries.

When the President’s law was being written, Senator Charles Grassley inserted an exemption into the legislation. That exemption is similar to the one granted to the Amish.

Here is the history of the exemption. In the 1960’s, the Amish founded the Old Order Amish Church Fund. That fund was built on the concept of caring for your own medical needs and caring for others, while being thrifty. As the success of the Old Order Amish Church Fund became known, other funds to share medical expenses were created to include all Christians.

Healthcare-sharing is now available in all 50 States, and 28 States have laws that explicitly provide for such coverage. Virginia is one of those States.

Much of the appeal of healthcare-sharing ministries is that they provide medical coverage at less cost and do not force participants to fund such things as abortion and sex-change operations.

There are three primary healthcare-sharing organizations. They are Medi-Share, Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries, with Medi-Share being the largest.

Those who seek to avoid Obamacare by using this exemption pledge not to drink to excess, take illegal drugs or have relations outside of traditional marriage. As is readily apparent, the pool of members, by living better lifestyles, is healthier and less susceptible to many kinds of illnesses. That causes claims to be lower, and lower claims mean smaller premiums.

Here is how healthcare-sharing works. When a participant receives a medical bill, he or she submits the bill to the organization. If the bill meets the eligibility requirements and the person’s deductible has been reached, the bill is paid. Actually, the payment of the bill is shared by other members of the plan.

Since this type of coverage was begun, acceptance has been widespread and growth has been exponential as people have discovered a method to avoid the costs and requirements of government healthcare.

You should know that healthcare-sharing is not insurance. Companies that sell insurance are profit-making corporations, regulated by the government. Healthcare-sharing organizations are non-profit ministries and are not subject to regulation.

Being free from government supervision lowers the operating costs of Healthcare-sharing ministries, but removes the legal force to oversee the functioning of the business. Should a claim be denied, a plan participant may appeal within the organization, but he or she does not have a governmental insurance agency to which to complain.

Healthcare-sharing ministries presently cover over 300,000 subscribers.

For a comparison of costs, let’s look at some numbers for a family of 4. These numbers will vary slightly based on locality.

First, Obamacare: Least Expensive Plan, $782 per month, $12,000 deductible.

Second, Medi-Share: Best Plan, $404 per month, $2,500 deductible.

Third, Samaritan Ministries: Best Plan, $405 per month. $300 deductible per medical need.

If you are interested in healthcare-sharing, you should go to the websites of the ministries offering such coverage. Then, you should call their customer service centers and ask lots of questions.

I encourage you to send copies of this article to Christian family members and friends. They may be happy to learn, what the Amish already know.

Ken Adams is the Chairman of the Waynesboro Virginia Republican Committee.