"It's a lot more practical to join Medi-Share than it is to become Amish."

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Darrell Post's picture

One quote in the story caught my eye:

"One big set of issues is that they're not regulated for solvency," said I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School and co-director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics. "They can go bankrupt. If it gets too many claims and they can't pay them, [it's] 'too bad, so sad.' "

 

Oh? They can go bankrupt as compared to the (regulated!) federal government currently almost 17 trillion in debt, and having no means to pay for socialized medicine?

GregH's picture

Jim wrote:

I'd be concerned about a plan that "doesn't include ....  some preventive medicine, including colonoscopies and annual mammograms"

 

 

That does not concern me. Insurance is supposed to be for emergencies, not routine stuff. 
 

But there is something that does concern me about this: it is not real insurance in the first place. 

Rob Fall's picture

Maybe in your world but not in mine.

GregH wrote:
Jim wrote:

I'd be concerned about a plan that "doesn't include ....  some preventive medicine, including colonoscopies and annual mammograms"

That does not concern me. Insurance is supposed to be for emergencies, not routine stuff.

But there is something that does concern me about this: it is not real insurance in the first place

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I would be one of those people who views health insurance in the same way as car insurance. It's there for the big things. We pay to maintain our car, even major repairs. Insurance is for the catastrophic. 

IMO insurance has allowed many Americans to live very unhealthy lifestyles, because they can take a pill or have a surgery to try to counteract their excessive junk food, couch potato, smoking, and drinking habits. When you view insurance as something that is only for major, unavoidable injuries and disease, it changes the way you eat, drink, and exercise. 

"The whole goal of health-care reform is to ensure that people are protected against risk and illness, and this violates that fundamental goal," said John Gruber, an MIT economics professor and the director of the health care program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He also served as a technical consultant to the Obama administration on the Affordable Care Act.

There is no possible way that health care reform is going to protect people against illness or risk, especially if they don't change the way they live their lives. 

As far as gov't being safe and solvent, how 'bout that there US Postal Service? Or the city of Detroit? 

ChristyM's picture

This kind of smacks of "who sinned, this man or his parents?"  My husband has adult onset diabetes.  Totally genetic - he was normal weight and exercise level when diagnosed.  Our son has autism with a history of a seizure disorder.   (please, no plaguing me with miracle diets or supplements - we've tried them)  I have a terrible family history for cancer, and I need to live as long and as healthfully as I can to take care of these guys along with my 83 year old widowed father (see cancer thing above).  When we did not have employer provided health insurance we checked into one of the "sharing plans".  We decided it was not a good fit for us because along with promising to not engage in what would traditionally be considered health risks (cigarette smoking, consuming alcohol as a beverage, etc.) we also had to agree to dietary counseling and to consider limiting our intake of caffeine.  We found those guidelines a bit restrictive to say the least.  So - yeah - we take care of ourselves and are thankful to not have sent my father into bankruptcy for his recent radiation treatment. 

rogercarlson's picture

I was a medishare program...it was absolutely horrible.  I would NEVER recommend it to anyone.

 

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Charlie's picture

Susan, I think that at least some insurance actually causes people to take better care of themselves. Many people have employer-based health insurance. Employers figure out very quickly that healthy employees cost them less money. Thus, employers promote health awareness and sometimes even offer health incentives. That outside pressure, especially when it comes with positive motivation, has encouraged many people to live healthier lives.

Also, from what I've been told by people I know who have lived in Europe, the state-based system has had a similar effect. When the government realizes that it has taken responsibility for peoples' health, it does everything it can to keep costs low, which amounts to promoting general health awareness and pushing for prevention-focused policies that save a lot of money in the long-run. Also, European people, who are aware they are collectively responsible for each others' health, tend to be health-conscious and exert positive peer pressure. I mean, you're not going to get Germans to give up their beer, but in other ways...

I see a certain psychological plausibility in your line of reasoning, but I do not think it corresponds to available data.

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christian cerna's picture

Susan is correct. The only person who can make me a healthier person is myself. If I am not disciplined enough to keep a healthy diet and to work out/exercise regularly, then I will not become a healthy person just because I have medical insurance. Most people only go to the hospital/clinic when they have a medical emergency or have not been feeling well for a good while. 

There are millions of American who are living paycheck to paycheck. For many people, spending money on anything other than rent, food, or gas is a luxury. Forcing young, healthy people, many of whom are unemployed or only working part-time, can only further hurt the economy. 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Just thinking about the gov't being responsible for people's health makes the backs of my knees twitch. 

What if someone at a desk decides that the above poster Christy doesn't qualify, just like the MediShare plan? Some diseases are the result of poor diet and exercise, but some are genetic, or environmental factors are contributors, and others are complications from injury. 

I remember being on a HMO and needing to have my wisdom teeth removed, and a broken molar repaired/removed. They'd only agree to remove 2 wisdom teeth because the ones on the other side didn't hurt enough, even though they are pointed east/west instead of north/south. They actually asked me if the pain was tolerable and could be treated with Tylenol, and stupid me said "Sure". Ditto the broken tooth- it wasn't hurting me at the time, so they wouldn't pay for it. Where do they find the people who make these decisions? Have any of them been to medical school? I trow not.

I'd rather take my chances with a health plan that allows me more control over my own care. Like a HSA.

Andrew K.'s picture

Charlie wrote:

Susan, I think that at least some insurance actually causes people to take better care of themselves. Many people have employer-based health insurance. Employers figure out very quickly that healthy employees cost them less money. Thus, employers promote health awareness and sometimes even offer health incentives. That outside pressure, especially when it comes with positive motivation, has encouraged many people to live healthier lives.

Also, from what I've been told by people I know who have lived in Europe, the state-based system has had a similar effect. When the government realizes that it has taken responsibility for peoples' health, it does everything it can to keep costs low, which amounts to promoting general health awareness and pushing for prevention-focused policies that save a lot of money in the long-run. Also, European people, who are aware they are collectively responsible for each others' health, tend to be health-conscious and exert positive peer pressure. I mean, you're not going to get Germans to give up their beer, but in other ways...

I see a certain psychological plausibility in your line of reasoning, but I do not think it corresponds to available data.

I disagree with the implications of that statement, Charlie. Numerous studies have shown beer highly beneficial to the health--in moderation, of course. And therein may lie the rub.

神是爱

Wayne Wilson's picture

rogercarlson wrote:

I was a medishare program...it was absolutely horrible.  I would NEVER recommend it to anyone.

 

 

Roger, if you get a chance, could you briefly share some of he pitfalls?  I think it sounds attractive to people in some situations.

Steve Newman's picture

My wife and I are on a medical sharing program. Our only other alternative would be to be uninsured at this point. It is a regular monthly expense, but it has been good so far. We also view it as something that is there for the large expenses. We have had one large expense, and it doesn't take much to have one these days. While it takes time to get the expense approved and published and you have to make payments during that time, the Lord used the medical sharing to pay the expense off. Medical sharing doesn't keep you from doing preventative health, it just becomes your own responsibility. 

They do help to try and negotiate lower bills as well as just the ministry of prayer you can have for others, as well as having them pray for you. There are riders you can purchase for more advanced types of coverage, such as cancer, etc., but you must purchase them before the fact. 

It is not ideal, but I do appreciate the sense of Christians helping one another without giving to greedy profiteers in the middle or government bureaucrats who operate against my beliefs and best interests.

GregH's picture

Steve and others, here is a question for you about your experience:

One of the biggest benefits of insurance is that they negotiate rates for you (obviously especially if in-network). These adjustments are enormous--very typically 80% or more off the billed rate. So even though I have a big deductible and pay out of pocket most of the time, I pay way less than a cash patient would because the insurance company forces them to charge me less.

Does that situation occur with MediShare? I am sure they say they negotiate but really, how successful are they? I am not sure what leverage they have to negotiate.

GregH's picture

Jim wrote:

The myth of the "greedy profiteers in the middle".

United Heath Group is perhaps the largest investor-owned insurance company in the US. A guy in my SS class works for them. I happen to have a handful of UNH stock. As an investor my return is 1.5%

You sound like Nancy Pelosi! 

Well, there is a lot of greed to go around starting with the medical professionals (yes, some make an obscene amount of money) and ending with many patients themselves. It is one messed up system through and through and I don't know you can absolve insurance companies completely for their part in it.

Jim's picture

GregH wrote:
Well, there is a lot of greed to go around starting with the medical professionals (yes, some make an obscene amount of money) and ending with many patients themselves. It is one messed up system through and through and I don't know you can absolve insurance companies completely for their part in it.

I don't think I absolved anyone. I just get sick of Obama-Pelosi-Reid blaming big (Oil/Pharma/Banks/Walmart/Healthcare) companies for all of our woes! And then to hear a pastor echo that refrain .... 

As a personal anecdote, last year a wondrous new drug healed my from C-Diff. Dificid had just come on the market. The drug  company is a small little known company called Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. They have yet to make a profit.

Jonathan Charles's picture

My local hospital gives a cash discount, a friend of mine who has something similar to Medi-Share gets this discount.

GregH's picture

Jonathan, in my experience, doctors and hospitals give discounts if you ask but they are far less than the discount you get through insurance. As an example, I recently paid a "discounted" rate (20%) for a service in cash because I did not think there was value in filing it with insurance. Later, I changed my mind and filed and found out that the negotiated rate with insurance was more like 50%. 

In a recent surgery, the hospital billed insurance $31K and ended up getting paid by insurance about $5K. Those are the kind of discounts I am talking about that I think cash customers might usually miss out on. 

Steve Newman's picture

I can't speak for Medi-Share, because I'm not on it. We are on Samaritan (samaritanministries.org). I'm not anti-profit, just would rather be spending money on a non-profit that actually benefits believers in Christ. Many hospitals are "non-profit" not in the sense of Christian ministry (which is why some of the religious hospitals were started), but more for the benefit of not paying taxes. If insurance companies make money, good for them. However, I had a good friend who was an actuary, and people who work in the industry will tell you that they routinely turn down people that they don't think will profit them. 

As for the rates, there is some truth to what is being said. Hospitals do show less mercy to cash payers as far as discounts. Samaritan is associated with a ministry that will try to negotiate lower payments, with mixed success. The best we were able to do on our $5000+ bill was 10% off. However, my Samaritan brothers and sisters paid it off. A lot of times they can do better than that.

rogercarlson's picture

Sorry for the delay.  I was on a medi-share plan.  At the time, I had been with many insurance companies from different jobs.  The church I pastored (and still do) had medi-share.  When they first enrolled me they did the medical history.  About 8 years earlier, I had an ulcer, and they wanted documentation.  I had not been treated for it because it was dormant.   They had me contact the doctor who treated me.  Since he had not treated me (no had any other doctor), he had no current records and told him that. 

The medi-share company gave me a rider for a year.  A few months later, my doctor thought I had the same liver disease Walter Payton had.  I went through the tests, and, praise the Lord, they were clear.  But the doctor noticed my dormant ulcer, and noted it.  Because of that the medi-share I was on denied paying the whole test...about 5K.  No insurance company, before or since, ever questioned the ulcer or refused to pay, but the medi-share.  I felt like they were looking for a reason not to pay.  It was the only claim we made with them and we have kids too.  I would be very careful when using one of these groups.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Wayne Wilson's picture

That's quite a story...and a helpful warning!