Christian Health Insurance
As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as Christian health insurance.
BUT, there is a Christian alternative to traditional health insurance.
The basic premise behind this alternative to health insurance is what's known as sharing. Instead of paying an insurance company a monthly premium, participants in this alternative to health insurance pool their monthly contributions in order to pay one another’s medical bills.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page
to see a list of Christian health insurance organizations.
The Concept Is Rooted in Scripture
- Acts 2:44-45 "All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need."
- Galatians 6:2 "Carry one another’s burdens."
- Hebrews 13:16 "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for God is pleased with such sacrifices."
There are some basic qualifications for a person to be admitted to one of these Christian health insurance alternatives. They vary somewhat between organizations, but they are basically as follows.
- Live a biblical lifestyle. This means that a person is not allowed to smoke tobacco, have an abortion, have sex outside of marriage, use illegal drugs, abuse legal drugs, or abuse alcohol.
- Attend church. Each member must commit to and may have to prove that he or she is an active member in a local church congregation.
- Be a Christian. This seems obvious, but the organizations are careful to provide assistance only to Christians.
- Agree to a statement of faith. Each member agrees to a basic statement of biblical doctrine. It is rather inclusive, and most anyone in any Christian congregation will be able to agree with the statement.
- Commit to living a healthy lifestyle. At least one of the organizations takes this very seriously. If an applicant is overweight, they will pay an extra monthly fee to receive help from a health coach. The monthly fee continues until a person is at a "normal" weight. At least one of the organizations also suggests that diabetes and high cholesterol can be controlled by diet and exercise.
It’s Not Health Insurance
It is important to restate what I’ve already mentioned.
This is not Christian health insurance.
As far as I know, there are no solely Christian companies that offer traditional Christian health insurance. The organizations discussed here are health organizations which facilitate the sharing of funds between Christians in order to pay medical bills.
There are several advantages to these organizations.
- Lower cost. The monthly share that is paid into the fund is typically lower than monthly insurance premiums.
- Moral healthcare. You have confidence that your money will never be shared for an abortion, never be shared for drug-related medical expenses, and may not even be used when a person gets into an accident when drunk.
- Prayer support and spiritual encouragement. Other Christians will make it a priority to pray for your health needs and you may receive emails or notes of encouragement.
- Christian staff. You can be confident that everyone you deal with at the organization will be Christians.
- Unpaid bills may be met by others. If a particular medical procedure is not covered, the organization may make your need known to the membership. That way, people can share directly with you to help meet your need.
- Members of these organizations are exempt from the 2014 requirement to purchase health insurance. Even though this is not Christian health insurance, the government has made an exception for this type of sharing ministry.
As good as they are, these alternatives to Christian health insurance do have some disadvantages.
- Pre-existing conditions are not usually covered. Though not completely true for all of the organizations I discuss on other pages, applicants need to be aware that medical treatment related to a condition starting prior to application may well not be covered. However, in at least one case, there is provision for the care of signs and symptoms of pre-existing conditions that occur after membership approval.
- Slow pay. As I researched the various organizations which provide this alternative to Christian health insurance, I discovered that in some cases, the organizations do not pay medical bills as quickly as they should. I don’t know why this is, and I don’t know how often this happens. But it is something you should be aware of.
- It’s not insurance. If you choose one of the sharing plans, you may find it difficult to get back into a traditional insurance plan. This probably wouldn’t apply if you get your insurance through your work place. But if you are self-employed or for some other reason need to get your own insurance, you may find it difficult to get an insurance company to accept you. They are highly suspicious of people who have not had insurance in the immediate past.
- There are no guarantees. There are no protections against an organization going out of business. There are no guarantees that there will always be enough money to pay your bills – though this doesn’t seem to have been a problem in the past.
- Nobody is watching. Because sharing is not traditional insurance, these organizations are not regulated by the government. Therefore, they can basically do what the majority of members decide to do.
Christian Health Insurance Organizations
There are three main contenders in the alternative Christian health insurance marketplace.
You do have options when looking for Christian health insurance. There are no Christian companies that offer traditional health insurance. But there are at least three organizations that enable Christians to share the burden of medical bills. Though not for everyone, they are worth considering.
If you are looking for church insurance, you might want to check out Church Mutual Insurance and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.