Christians-only health care plan allows members to share costs


by Gene Kang

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 25 at 11:54 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Imagine sharing your medical bills with thousands people in hopes they would help you pay for them. Kentucky lawmakers signed a new bill into law which makes it a reality.

Have you heard of Medi-Share? It's a Christians-only health care program new to Kentucky. But what is it exactly?

"We've created an electronic process that moves money from one member's account to another member's account," Christian Care Ministry CEO, Tony Meggs, said.

The Florida-based group said Medi-Share helps cover health care costs of fellow Christians who need it.
So far, they have 63,000 members in 49 states.

The Medi-Share program will open the door to Christians here in Kentucky. It serves 24 counties and the Archdiocese of Louisville alone serves 200,000 people. There are 24,000 churches of different denominations statewide.

However, being Christian is not the only qualification - be sure to read the fine print.

In order to qualify, churchgoers must pledge: not to smoke, drink, use drugs or engage in sex outside of marriage and there's no written guarantee that your medical bills will be paid.

Bob Swagman, Christian, said: "I think it's reasonable to expect people to live within certain boundaries to get the benefits."

Larry Taylor, Christian, said: "You're also violating my rights. What you're saying is that if I want to take advantage of this I can't because I smoke and drink."

While Meggs said there's no way to track your personal life, it's more of a moral code.

On average, an individual would pay $175 a month or $282 for a family. Savings of up to 40 percent.

WHAS 11: "Who delegates how the money is transferred from one account to the next?"

Meggs: "In short the service provider or doctor would send us the medical bill. We then would look at it and see if it's eligible to be published for sharing with members based on guidelines voted on."
Medi-Share members are exempt from the new health care law which requires Americans to buy insurance by next year. It helps people who make too much money to receive Federal subsidies and those who don’t make enough money to pay out-of-pocket premiums.

The Christian plan has a network of half-a-million providers.