Health Sharing Groups Grow

A 2011 survey found 8 out of 10 Christians are unaware of health sharing ― an alternative to health insurance. CCHF has long been talking about health sharing, including on radio interviews and in our new “Legal Alternatives” flier, which lists it as one of nine exemptions to the ObamaCare insurance mandate. Interest is growing. Since open enrollment began, Medi-Share had more timthumbthan 23,000 people asking for information in October alone, and 2,108 people joined. Samaritan Ministries, which routinely shares about $6 million in medical needs each month, received 754 new household enrollments in October, which added up to 2,483 individuals. Medical sharing is far less expensive than health insurance and exceedingly more personal. Read our 2010 report on health sharing. See comparison chart for two of the three ministries. Read personal stories.

Comments (21)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    I find the Care and Share groups to be very interesting. Voluntary associations were the way fraternal organizations assisted their members years ago.

  2. Howard says:

    Sounds like a great alternative and would work just right for me.

    • Trent says:

      It could work for a lot of people, but like my self, they know little to nothing about it. This is the first I have ever heard of such a thing

  3. Mike Moore says:

    Christian organizations really have a great success rate in anything they try. This great concept needs to be talked about everywhere and to everyone.

  4. James Lansberry says:

    Thanks for the plug! We’re excited to see the interest right now, and thankful for God’s blessing us with this island of freedom in PPACA.

    I’m personally a big fan of Greg’s and also NCPA and read here avidly and have learned a great deal from folks like you all!

    James Lansberry
    Executive VP
    Samaritan Ministries

  5. Joe Guarino says:

    Over the past nine years, my family of seven has submitted 18 medical events to be shared. Everything from a group of blood tests that were less than $1000 to an emergency surgery that originally cost $24,600 but was discounted to $14,700. We have received checks, cards with encouraging words, and prayers from all over the country to help us pay our bills. And we have paid off every single one of them. On the one hand, I am one of the 30 or 47 million uninsured. On the other hand, I am proud to say that we participate in health care sharing. I have no medical debt; we are medically debt free. This works!

    • Trent says:

      Have you by chance worked out how much you save doing it this way?

      • Joe Guarino says:

        Yes. I figured out that, during our first 3 1/2 years of participation, we saved $33,000 compared to the other option of having to purchase health insurance. Through the first seven years, I figured out that number to be approximately $70,000.

        Right now, I share $370/month, or $4,440/year for my family of seven. The Kaiser Family Foundation ( states this: “Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $16,351 this year, up 4 percent from last year, with workers on average paying $4,565 towards the cost of their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey.”

  6. Wally says:

    “When a member needs help with a medical bill he submits a request for assistance to the sharing ministry. All eligible medical needs are published to the membership after the individual or family has paid their share of eachmedical episode. Nearly all essential expenses are covered from chemotherapy and major surgeries to routine checkups. In nearly every case, the request for financial assistance is granted.”

    There needs to be more info about this that is easily available to the public.

    • Trent says:


    • Joe Guarino says:

      All three national Christian health care sharing ministries are required by the Affordable Care Act to provide to the public upon request a copy of their annual audit which must be performed by an independent accounting firm.

      All three ministries are easily accessible over the Internet. And they all have toll-free numbers where they will answer your questions.

    • Donna says:

      Please note that the chart that Greg linked to shows that the two groups reported on “shared” only 63% and 47% of submitted claims. I don’t know how the decisions are made, but there is no requirement for these groups to pay anything, and no protection if they don’t pay. It may be very helpful to some people, but it is not the same as insurance.

      • James Lansberry says:

        The compiled list is unclear and we’re working to get that fixed. The difference between what was shared and total bills received is made up mostly of 1) individual amounts not shared. (e.g. Samaritan Ministries doesn’t share the first $300 of each need) and 2) discounts on the billed amount. Samaritan averages close to 40% in discounts on larger bills that we can get discounted for the members.

        The gross bills amount is the chargemaster rate, which no one pays except uneducated self-pay patients. Insurance companies routinely pay less than half of chargemaster.

        James Lansberry
        Samaritan Ministries

  7. Greg Scandlen says:

    It should be pointed out that this was compiled by Twila Brase at Citizens Council for Health Freedom.

    • Joe Guarino says:

      Twila put the first one together a few years ago. Since then, the Alliance has been updating it. The one to which you have linked was updated by the Alliance approx. six months ago.

  8. Ralph Ferdinand Weber says:

    When something bad happens like the passage of obamacare, people are measured by the good they create out of it. Samaritan Ministries’ growth is one of those things. Coming up with alternatives for individuals, and from the employer mandate is what will ensure their growth.

  9. Philip Thwing says:

    I have MediShare, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. They pay their bills on time, pray for you, and cost about 1/3 of what group insurance was going to cost me.
    Though we are healthy, my wife had unexpected major surgery. Dealing with MediShare was painless and pleasant.
    When I send my share in, I often get an accounting of who it’s going to help so that I can lift them up in prayer.
    MediShare is only for Christians, and your testimony is even part of the application.

  10. Alieta Eck, MD says:

    I serve on the Board of Medi-Share and can attest to the fact that they are a class act. Members decide what to share in, and can avoid paying for services they object to, such as abortion. A family of 4 with the head of household being 35, can join for $197/ mo. This requires a $10,000 annual household portion (like a deductible). If you combine that with a concierge concept, by paying $200/ mo, they could have e-mail, Facebook, phone or actual visits all included. 95% of people spend less than $5,000 in a given year, so this makes sense. Totally under the ACA radar screen.

  11. Jim Porterfield says:

    The health sharing groups fit right in with what we found when Consumers for Health Care Choices started up. The ways to save money were, and still are:
    If possible, Ask what everything costs before they do it to you(not possible if it it is a life and death emergency).
    Ask if there is a discount if you pay cash.
    Use a cash-only doctor who posts prices whenever you can.
    If possible, use immediate care centers instead of the Hospital emergency room.
    Ask what the side effects are.
    Ask what the alternatives are and what they cost.
    If possible, use generic perscriptions.
    If possible, ask for a perscription that is twice the recommended dose, then use a pill splitter on it.
    Use on-line lab tests (My has worked well for me)samples go to the same labs as the doctors and hospitals use, but the cost is way lower.
    If possible, use medical tourism for big ticket items, (but buyer beware).
    For hernias, go to Shouldice Hernia hospital in Canada (That is all they do since 1945).
    Use the premium savings to set up and fund an HSA(not sure if this would be allowed with Medi-Share under ACA, but perhaps someone else would know).
    Eat Organic Labeled food, (at least it should have few or no pesticides or antibiotics or hormones. (I say few because, try as we might, they are in the air and rain, which even organic farmers can’t control. And, herbicides (particularly glyphosate) are in most manure which many organic farms get from outside their farm from animals that have been fed GMO grain.

    If you garden, balance the soil minerals (Use The Ideal Soil Handbook to do the balancing.) Also, add sea minerals to the soil and/or foliar 2-3 times per week, (I have had good results with GroPAL and SEA-90 and there are several others.
    Get a Brix meter and test your fruit and vegies, the higher the number the better (for example, store- bought tomatoes run 1 to 3 brix and taste like it, good tomatoes should be 8 to 12 Brix).
    Last, but not least, drink Structured Water, there are a number of whole house units out there,and several good ones can be had for less than $1,500 and should last a long time.(these are not Filters,although you may need a prefilter before it goes through the structuring device). As I understand it, lack of cell hydration is particularly problematic for human health.
    So, Merry Christmas, and may all your health wishes come true.