Medishare review – Sharing the burdens of healthcare costs?

medishare-review

Medishare Review Summary

Medishare is a community that enables its members to pay for each other’s medical bills. Learn more in our Medishare review!

Nebula Genomics

Reviews
Price
Ease of use

Summary

Medishare is a health cost sharing ministry designed to defray the cost of unexpected medical bills. Reviews are mixed, with some users finding they save money compared to insurance while others found trouble getting claims approved and disliked the overarching restrictions.

4

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

7 Facts from our Medishare Review

  1. Medishare location: Melbourne, FL
  2. Products: Healthcare sharing ministry
  3. Privacy: Share member information only for the purposes of providing their service or with permission from the member
  4. How it works: Apply online, create an account, present card at service provider’s office, Medishare will determine discounts and sharing eligibility
  5. Cost: Fees = $176 ($50 application fee + $120 new member fee (individual/family) + $2 one-time membership fee for setting up your sharing account); Monthly cost: $100 to $955 depends on the annual amount paid before shares can be used, age, and household size
  6. Reviews: Generally good
  7. Complementary products: Nebula Genomics (DNA test that decodes 100% of DNA and provides the ability to explore health-related genetic traits)

Medishare Introduction

This is a review of Medishare (Medi-share), is a health care sharing ministry administered by Christian Care Ministry, Inc. Medi share members share their financial resources to pay for each other’s eligible medical bills with the goal that everyone in the community can live a healthier life. 

Medishare was founded by Dr. E. John Reinhold in 1993. The program is part of a not-for-profit organization, Christian Care Ministry, based in Melbourne, Florida. The ministry reports over 400,000 members have joined Medishare and more than $2.6 billion in medical expenses have been shared and discounted. 

Medishare is not health insurance. Whereas traditional health insurance groups typically rely on a pool of member’s funds, members share their funds directly with other members each month through an online portal. Fund sharing is always voluntary. 

Not all health conditions are eligible for sharing. To join Medi-share, members must be Christians who belong to a church and commit to values prescribed by the church. Certain conditions that arise due to actions not in line with those values, such as illegal drugs or alcohol use or extramarital sex, are not eligible to be shared. 

Although this share is not insurance, it is compliant with the Affordable Care Act. As such, members are exempt from insurance regulation. 

Christian Medishare operates in all 50 US states. A review of the disclosure is required. The ministry has released disclosures with regard to an individual’s responsibility for medical bills required for the state. The following states require a notice for Medi share to qualify for an exemption from insurance regulation. While Medishare is not insurance and therefore, need not qualify for such exemptions, CCM has elected to publish these exemptions. You can review the disclosure required for the state in which you reside: KY, MD, PA, WI – All Other States.  

Studies show that the cost of healthcare can be decreased if people are enabled to better understand their disease risk. Nebula Genomics offers Whole Genome Sequencing, which is the most comprehensive genetic test that decodes 100% of DNA. Click here to learn more!

The Genetic Basis for Reducing Disease Risk

Many diseases have a genetic basis. That is, certain parts of your genome may put you at greater risk for developing a disease. When you know your genetic makeup, you can discuss your risk with a medical provider and take preventative measures to reduce your chances of developing diseases. 

Programs like Medishare do not cover genetic counseling. Genetic testing sites like Nebula Genomics allow you to explore your genome and learn about your disease risk with their online platform. Nebula Genomics is not a diagnostic company and changes to your lifestyle should be discussed with a licensed medical provider. Knowing your disease risk allows you to make healthy decisions that can lower your medical bills and make a program like that even more cost-effective.

Review of Medishare

Medishare is a Christian community that works together to share the burdens of high medical costs.
Medishare is a Christian community that works together to share the burdens of high medical costs. 

Medishare is a Christian community in which members share the financial burdens of medical bills. Using their Medishare login, members choose a monthly share amount and each month that share is matched with another member’s eligible medical bills. The online public portal is transparent so that members know whose bills they are paying each month.  

Guidelines are publicly available and voted on by members. These guidelines are elected to publish by the members. They outline the program requirements and how Medishare facilitates sharing medical bill payments. 

Review of Medishare Process

How does Medi Share work? Potential members apply online or over the phone to the Medishare program and pay a one-time $50 application fee. Customer service is available Monday to Friday from 8 am to 9 pm EST and Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm EST. 

Application forms include a health history questionnaire and Testimony & Commitment Form. If approved, the member pays a one-time $120 new member fee in addition to the $50 application fee (does not apply to Senior Assist members). 

Members then create an individual sharing account with Medishare’s financial partner, America’s Christian Credit Union (ACCU), in which they will share bills and deposit their monthly share amount. There is a  $2 one-time membership fee for setting up your sharing account. There is also a $2 monthly administrative fee and an additional $1 monthly paper statement fee if you choose to have your statements sent by mail, instead of email.

After receiving medical services, members present their member ID cards to their medical service provider and receive negotiated rates. The provider sends the bill to Medishare where the ministry negotiates for further discounts and determines if the bill is eligible for sharing among other members. Then, the provider will bill the patient for what they owe.

It should be noted that Medishare is intended for unexpected medical bills that burden members. Examples include doctor’s visits, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, maternity, well-child care, and adoption costs. Other expenses like well-visits, routine medical care, including immunizations and vaccines, and preventative care are not eligible to be shared. Some exceptions exist for pregnancies and unborn children. 

Review of Medishare Cost

Review of Medishare Annual Household Portion and Monthly Share Payments

Members choose an Annual Household Portion (AHP), ranging from $1,000 to $10,500. An AHP is similar to an insurance deductible. It is the annual amount a household will contribute to its medical bills before they can participate in bill sharing with other members. 

Members can choose to change their AHP at any time with a $75 administrative fee. 

Members contribute a monthly “share” to their account based on age and the number of people in their household. Shares are comparable to health insurance premiums. These monthly payments that act like monthly premiums goes directly to pay other members’ medical bills. 

Medishare offers seven AHP options for households:

  • $1,000 (individual only)
  • $1,750
  • $3,000
  • $4,250
  • $5,000
  • $8,000
  • $10,500

Review of Medishare Monthly Share for Individuals and Families

Members can apply for the Health Incentive that can save a household up to 20% on their monthly share payments. To qualify, both the head of household and spouse (if applicable) must apply as individuals and meet the criteria within 30 days of each other. To be eligible, individuals must:

  • Complete the online health form
  • Report blood pressure less than or equal to 121/81
  • Report an abdominal circumference less than 38” (men) or less than 35” (women)
  • Report a BMI greater than 17.5 and less than 25
Community members can input their information and calculate their monthly share amounts with the online calculator.
Community members can input their information and calculate their monthly share amounts with the online calculator. 

Monthly share amounts are calculated based on the number of individuals applying in the households and age of members. Interested members can calculate their monthly shares using the online calculator. Below are some examples for applicants who live in Philadelphia, PA: 

An individual of 29 years old:

Annual Household PortionStandard Monthly ShareHealthy Monthly Share
$1,000$314.13$286.13
$1,750$340.77$307.77
$3,000$262.50$237.50
$4,250$213.12$192.12
$5,500$183.15$166.15
$8,000$153.18$135.18
$10,500$115.44$99.44

A married couple of 29 years old with no children:

Annual Household PortionStandard Monthly ShareHealthy Monthly Share
$1,750$584.97$530.97
$3,000$436.23$399.23
$4,250$341.88$309.88
$5,500$288.60$262.60
$8,000$214.23$194.23
$10,500$139.86$124.86

A married couple of 29 years old with at least one child:

Annual Household PortionStandard Monthly ShareHealthy Monthly Share
$1,750$954.60$815.60
$3,000$746.72$633.72
$4,250$616.05$527.05
$5,500$517.26$441.26
$8,000$371.85$318.85
$10,500$256.41$216.41

Review of Medishare Monthly Share for Seniors

Medishare offers an option for individual seniors age 65 and older with Medicare Parts A and B

called the Senior Assist program. 

Medical procedures that qualify for sharing through the Senior Assist program include:

  • copayments 
  • deductibles 
  • hospitalization 
  • skilled nursing facility care 
  • out of country urgent care

The monthly share amounts for seniors start at just $70 per month.

  • 65-70 years old: $70 per month
  • 71-75 years old:  $85 per month
  • 76 or older:         $95 per month

Review of Medishare Monthly Share for Medishare Groups

Employers can enroll in Medishare groups for themselves and their employees and receive group billing.

Review of Medishare Medical Visits

Medishare members are encouraged to choose a medical Medishare provider within their network. Members are responsible for a $35 provider fee for doctors and hospitalizations, and a $200 provider fee for emergency room care. These fees must be paid even after the AHP is reached and these installments do not apply to the AHP. 

Community members are encouraged to establish a provider in the preferred provider organization (PPO) to benefit the most from the discounts in the Medi-Share program.
Community members are encouraged to establish a provider in the preferred provider organization (PPO) to benefit the most from the discounts in the Medishare program.

Members may choose to use a medical provider outside of the preferred provider organization, but bills incurred with these providers will not be eligible for discounts. 

Review of Medishare Telemedicine

Medishare members have 24/7 access to telehealth doctors through MDLIVE. Members login to the member center, choose from a list of available providers based on their location and set up an immediate consultation by phone or video. This service is for non-emergencies. The doctor can review symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and order prescriptions. 

MDLIVE is Medishare's 24/7 telemedicine program where community members can consult with a doctor at any time from the comfort of home.
MDLIVE is Medishare’s 24/7 telemedicine program where community members can consult with a doctor at any time from the comfort of home. 

Review of Medishare Dental, Vision, and Auditory Discounts

Medishare members receive 20% to 60% savings on most dental care through the Careington network. Services included in the Medishare pricing include routine oral exams, unlimited cleanings, and major work such as dentures, crowns, and root canals. 

Members receive 5% to 30% off the retail price of eyewear with the Superior Vision discount program. Members are eligible for discounts on exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses, and LASIK at more than 40,000 participating provider locations. 

Medishare members may also receive hearing aid discounts from 30% to 60% at over 5,000 network providers nationwide.

Review of Medishare Privacy

According to their privacy policy, Medishare typically does not share member information with anyone outside of Christian Care Ministry, Inc. without permission. Christian Care Medi-share may disclose information to partners who provide services on the member’s behalf. 

Medishare uses typical security measures to protect personal and financial information online, such as a Secured Socket Layer (SSL).

Other Medishare Reviews

Medishare has a mix of high reviews and neutral reviews. 

Reviewers on Healthsharing tended to rank Medishare very low. The most frequent complaint was the company denying payment. These reviews are written by customers. 

A review from August 1st, 2020 claims: “ I thought this would be a good option because I needed affordable healthcare. I’m healthy and had never been hospitalized until the end of last year. I had almost 60K in medical bills. Medi-share refused to pay, falsely stating, pre-existing condition. I spend my days helping people with severe trauma and now I’m looking at probably having to file for medical bankruptcy.”

The editors for Part-time Money and DoughRoller gave much higher ratings, mainly based on MediShare’s lower costs compared with insurance and ease of the application process.  

Reviews of Medishare from past and current members are available on their website.
Reviews of Medishare from past and current members are available on their website.

Member reviews are available on the Medishare website. 

Review of Medishare Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • An alternative to the Affordable Care Act Marketplace
  • Membership cannot be terminated due to a developing medical condition

Cons

  • Medishare is not insurance
  • Little to no legal protection if a claim is not paid or if the ministry goes bankrupt 
  • Restrictions based on lifestyle and pre-existing conditions
  • No Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions

Nebula Genomics

In the final part of our Medishare review, we will take a look at Nebula Genomics.

At Nebula Genomics, our goal is to empower you to discover more about your genome, including your genetic risk to disease. By knowing your risk, you can take preventative steps that reduce health care costs. These changes can benefit members of cost-sharing programs such as Medishare. A healthy lifestyle tends to reduce the number of medical visits, thereby lowering monthly out of pocket costs while reducing the frequency of medical bills. 

Nebula Genomics offers the most comprehensive genetic testing through whole-genome sequencing. With our new 30x Whole Genome Sequencing service, we determine 100% of your DNA. 

You can examine genes of interest, identify relevant mutations, and search for genetic variants. You can even view your sequencing data from your own computer. Results also include data access, weekly reports, ancestry analysis, and exploration tools.

As a customer, you have access to hundreds of traits and curated research studies through the Nebula Research Library, allowing you to stay up-to-date with the most cutting-edge research as it comes out, including health research, and what it means about you and your DNA.

Summary

Medishare is a healthcare cost-sharing ministry in which members contribute monthly shares to help pay for other member’s health bills. The company offers patient protection and affordable care. This service has advantages for those who have high costs and often unexpected health procedures. Alternatives to Medishare include Christian Healthcare MinistriesLiberty HealthShare, and Samaritan Ministries

Sequencing your genome can help you understand how your genes affect your health and give you the opportunity to take preventative measures that ultimately reduce the risk of high health bills. Customers can use this risk information to decide if a cost-sharing program is right for them or their families now or in the future.  

It should be noted that even though members of Medi share are exempt from the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act found in 26 United States Code §5000A(d)(2)(B), Medishare is not an insurance company. There are no legal protections if the ministry goes bankrupt or if your bills fail to be paid. Also, because it is designed for unexpected, burdensome medical bills, things like routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative care are not eligible to be shared.

Did you like our Medishare review? You can read more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests. In particular, you might be interested in these articles:

You can also read more abou these other ministry-base health care cost communities: Christian Healthcare Ministries (as low as $78 per unit, per month),  Liberty HealthShare (as low as $199 per month based on plan and age), and Samaritan Ministries (as low as $100 per month based on age and household size)