Do you rely on the health care marketplace to meet your medical needs? A Texas judge recently ruled that the Affordability Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. Regardless of how you lean in politics, you can probably agree with me that the cost of health care just keeps going up and up… so it can be nice to know what your alternatives are if you do rely on the ACA for your healthcare. Or, maybe you missed the December 15 deadline for enrollment and you do not qualify for the special enrollment period, and you’re scrambling for what you’ll do come January 1, 2019. What can you do to cover yourself now for your healthcare for next year? Check out these great alternatives.
Health Care Sharing Ministries
The key word here is “sharing” – if you google exchange instead of sharing, it will give you the information on the Affordable Care Act’s health care marketplace. Health care sharing ministries are an alternative to traditional health insurance, but they are not the same as health insurance. Some of the programs you can look into to see if they meet your needs include:
- Samaritan Ministries
- Christian Health Care Ministries
- Altrua HealthShare
- Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries
- Liberty Health Share
- MCS Medical Cost Sharing
Perhaps the biggest difference between traditional insurance and health sharing ministries is that members of health care sharing ministries share a set of similar faith beliefs. Based upon that, there are certain medical procedures that will not be covered. Some health care sharing ministries may require church attendance as a requisite for being in the program. Others provide an online prayer board where members can provide support for one another. All these things make health sharing ministries extremely different from regular insurance.
Members of health sharing ministries might pray for each other during their times of illness, sharing their well wishes on an online prayer board.
(Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer)
If you have a chronic condition that requires medication, a charitable pharmacy could be a source for you to obtain medication at a reasonable rate until you find a more stable alternative. If there’s a St. Vincent dePaul in your area (they’re known for operating thrift stores), check and see if one of their programs is a charitable pharmacy. It probably won’t be advertised very blatantly, but if they have one, it could be a great help.
Other pharmacies that can help may operate in hospitals. These aren’t labelled as charity programs, but hospitals affiliated with the state or city are probably more likely to have a discount program, if you qualify. You won’t be able to just walk in and get free medication from the get-go, you will most likely have to apply, then be accepted.
Patient Assistance Programs
These are similar to charitable pharmacies and they can be a Godsend if you have a chronic condition. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is an online index that allows you to search by condition or drug name for agencies that may be able to help.
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