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Health Sharing Ministry Troubles...again

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  • Health Sharing Ministry Troubles...again

    I know a lot of the FIRE community LOVES these, but I've always been skeptical, and it seems the problems just keep mounting. Glad regulators are finally looking into these Ponzi schemes: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/02/h...insurance.html

  • #2
    didnt the chooseFI guys drop liberty because of the uncertainty of coverage? cant remember....

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    • #3
      Dunno about ChooseFI, but these "plans" have been almost universally praised by the FIRE community.

      I had a patient with a STEMI a few months ago with one of those plans. My guess is it did not cover his helicopter, cath, and CCU stay, although I'll never know- they were all proud of themselves for saving money on insurance. It really confused the registration people; I kept having to explain it's not insurance and that the patient was actually uninsured.

      I'm particularly annoyed that the folks in this article are now entitled to Medicaid AND having a GoFundMe. Sounds suspicious to me...they should be on the hook, along with the Ministry.


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      • #4
        One of our practice owners was about to join and, at the last minute, decided to review payment history from patients who had the plans. When he saw what wasn't covered, he backed out fairly quickly. I'm afraid the dominoes are going to start doing their thing. Scary.
        Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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        • #5
          You mean people are upset that the group they gave money to who has no legal or written obligation to cover their medical bills aren't covering their medical bills? If only we could have seen this coming.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post
            You mean people are upset that the group they gave money to who has no legal or written obligation to cover their medical bills aren't covering their medical bills? If only we could have seen this coming.
            It's ridiculous the taxpayer and the hospital bailed these people out. They. Need. To. Pay.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Peds View Post
              didnt the chooseFI guys drop liberty because of the uncertainty of coverage? cant remember....
              I just checked. Their site still lists these plans as ACA-compliant,

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              • #8
                Disagree that HSMs are close to "universally praised."

                There are risks and benefits to all financial decisions. Health care coverage is a pick your poison deal in the United States. HSM's are not for me and I doubt I'd ever use one. But I'm fortunate to get tax-deductible insurance through the exchanges under $300 a month. There are some people who have to pay many times more than that. The risk is getting hit with a six figure medical bill until the next open enrollment period - maybe worse if everything went to ************************ in a handbasket. If the odds of that are low (1% or less) then I can see why someone might roll the dice with an HSM rather than fork over $20k a year to United or Aetna.

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                • #9
                  I think you'd be better off just negotiating with the hospital.

                  In any case, I hope that I can be like this family and get Medicaid in a few years. God knows I've paid enough in, more than they have.

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                  • #10
                    I do find it concerning that much of the FIRE community thinks HSM's are a reasonable option instead of insurance. Literally too much faith in hoping medical bills will be reimbursed or paid after the fact. The fact that is is not insurance and not a contractual obligation is far too often overlooked.

                    I think belonging to a direct primary care practice and having a HDHP is a much better option.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bobedwards View Post
                      I do find it concerning that much of the FIRE community thinks HSM's are a reasonable option instead of insurance. Literally too much faith in hoping medical bills will be reimbursed or paid after the fact. The fact that is is not insurance and not a contractual obligation is far too often overlooked.
                      In my opinion, health is overall pretty underrated by the FIRE community. That's one expense that you don't have a lot of control over. You can certainly optimize your chances by living a healthy lifestyle but even then something can happen that turns your world upside down. I prefer to be well-insured for things that are out of my control.

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                      • #12
                        First, there are far more horror stories of people getting billed crazy amounts and they have traditional insurance. I pay about $23K in premiums have a $5K deductible and then pay 20% once deductible. This covers my wife and 3 kids (17,19,22).

                        I then needed to cover two, out-of-state children. I went with Liberty Healthshare. They have a long list of things they won't cover, it is all outlined on their website. Unlike most of the others, they will cover pre-existing conditions after a certain time and uses a sliding scale for years 2 and 3. And yes, it makes it clear that they are not insurance and there is not a guarantee of payment.

                        They typically try to negotiate bills down to what a cash payer or what medicaid would pay. Both of them have had medical issues. It took longer than I had hoped, but eventually all expenses were covered after our deductible. Charges were less than $5K for both. I do pay a higher premium for access to larger coverage.

                        Liberty handles the payments. Money is not sent directly to other people.

                        cd :O)
                        Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. -- Isaiah 40:31

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post

                          In my opinion, health is overall pretty underrated by the FIRE community. That's one expense that you don't have a lot of control over. You can certainly optimize your chances by living a healthy lifestyle but even then something can happen that turns your world upside down. I prefer to be well-insured for things that are out of my control.
                          I completely agree. The narrative is mostly written by young, healthy people, often without children or with children who are healthy, living on $40k per year (all in) blah, blah, blah... Until a health care issue hits (and need not be something catastrophic) and suddenly your health care costs are consuming $25k of your $40k budget, not the $2500 you had anticipated.

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                          • snowcanyon
                            snowcanyon commented
                            Editing a comment
                            If you live in a Medicaid expansion state, this might work...I wonder if that's the secret plan? Nah, probably no plan.

                        • #14
                          Originally posted by chrisCD View Post
                          First, there are far more horror stories of people getting billed crazy amounts and they have traditional insurance. I pay about $23K in premiums have a $5K deductible and then pay 20% once deductible. This covers my wife and 3 kids (17,19,22).

                          I then needed to cover two, out-of-state children. I went with Liberty Healthshare. They have a long list of things they won't cover, it is all outlined on their website. Unlike most of the others, they will cover pre-existing conditions after a certain time and uses a sliding scale for years 2 and 3. And yes, it makes it clear that they are not insurance and there is not a guarantee of payment.

                          They typically try to negotiate bills down to what a cash payer or what medicaid would pay. Both of them have had medical issues. It took longer than I had hoped, but eventually all expenses were covered after our deductible. Charges were less than $5K for both. I do pay a higher premium for access to larger coverage.

                          Liberty handles the payments. Money is not sent directly to other people.

                          cd :O)
                          I don't think anyone is here arguing that private insurance isn't without its own problems. There's also more stories because more people have private insurance. Nonetheless, as long as you understand they have NO obligation to pay any bills then I guess go for it. Just know that your children are essentially uninsured.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by jfoxcpacfp View Post
                            One of our practice owners was about to join and, at the last minute, decided to review payment history from patients who had the plans. When he saw what wasn't covered, he backed out fairly quickly. I'm afraid the dominoes are going to start doing their thing. Scary.
                            I don't recall hearing any stories about people who had a problem that the plan should have covered that wasn't covered to the extent the plan promised to cover it. Although I hear those stories about traditional insurance companies all the time. If you have data showing these plans aren't covering what they have agreed to cover (which is often much less than insurance) I'd love to see it. But I've looked before and there just aren't very many complaints, much less real data, out there.
                            Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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