saving on healthcare costs

When I became pregnant last year with our now-eight-month-old daughter, we had no healthcare of any kind. In face, we barely had an income. We were trying to make it as UFirst agents, but we were too discouraged from personal tragedies and several moves to keep up our initial momentum. It was halfway through our pregnancy before we were even able to break even on monthly expenses. We had no idea how we would pay the prenatal and birth costs, so we did all we knew to do: we prayed. And the Lord answered! With the help of our supportive church family and other friends, we were able to pay all of the prenatal and birth costs by the time Rilla was born, including the extra ones incurred as a result of close monitoring of her hydronephrosis while still in utero.

We truly saw God work in great ways to pay Rilla’s birth costs, as well as heal her extra-large kidneys. It has continued to be a testimony to us of God’s faithfulness. After our daughter’s birth, though, we began seeking diligently how we might better prepare ourselves for our next child. Standard methods of healthcare were quickly crossed off the list. The premiums were far too high. In addition to that, we felt strongly against paying into any healthcare system which condoned and supported medical practices such as abortion, with which we strongly disagree. It simply did not seem ethical.

So we began looking into Christian healthcare options. What we found were several cost-sharing programs. These are different from standard healthcare in that they are comprised of Christians adhering to a biblical worldview and lifestyle who together share one another’s burdens by pooling their money for that month’s medical needs. After analyzing the options, we chose to go with Christian Healthcare Ministries. Although there are several other good Christian healthshare options, this is the one that most suits our needs for the lowest price.

For $85 per month, I am covered for each medical situation which totals more than $1000. This means that if we have another child within the next two years, it will have been financially worth it to join the program. And unlike many healthcare programs, this organization is supportive of my alternative birthing preferences (delivering with a certified midwife in a birthing center).

Christian Healthcare Ministries is not your typical healthcare program. For one thing, it’s not healthcare. It’s healthshare, meaning that the money is distributed each month among that month’s needs (as documented by medical forms and all that). So a person is not guaranteed to have all of their needs met if that month were particularly high in costs.¬†Additionally, needs under $1000 are not covered. I am totally responsible for things like chiropractor visits and minor needs which would require a trip to the doctor. That’s fine by me.

I really love being a part of an alternative healthcare program that is designed to help members of the body of Christ. Every month I receive the name and address of a family who is struggling, and I am asked to pray for them and send them words of encouragement. It’s a privilege to be able to do that! And it surely softens any reluctance I have to write a check for $85 when I know that it will go to pay the medical bills of another Christian family. I also receive a newsletter with general information and prayer requests for program members who have various needs which are not eligible for healthshare (such as some pre-existing conditions). Members are given the opportunity to give extra toward these needs.

An added bonus for me was two months free upon sign-up, and I will also receive a month free every time I refer a new member.

As someone who grew up without health insurance, is extremely skeptical of the current healthcare system, and earnestly desires to honor the Lord in every area, this program is the perfect solution for me. It is a way to be protected for medical costs without paying out the nose for more coverage than I ever anticipate using, and at the same time supporting other families in need who are adhering to a biblical worldview. I’m neither paying for extra coverage nor supporting medical practices with which I disagree.

We are completely satisfied with our decision for me to join this program and with every correspondence I’ve had with them to date. It is a huge relief for us to know that we will only need to contribute $1000 toward maternity expenses when we become pregnant again.

For Christians looking to cut their healthcare costs,¬†Christian Healthcare Ministries and other Christian programs like it are an excellent alternative to standard medical insurance. I highly recommend taking time to research the options and see if one of these programs may suit your family’s needs.

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Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 9:48 am  Comments (3)  

refocusing

I’m experiencing writer’s block when it comes to this blog.

I had desired to chronicle our road toward financial freedom and the discoveries we make in our efforts to live more and more frugally. But we’re really not making any more changes than what we’ve already made. Every bill we have has been carefully analyzed so that we are paying as little as we can in that area, or as little as is reasonable for us. Every monthly living expense is tracked and kept to a minimum by thrifty shopping or doing without. So what more is there for me to blog about? I read finance blogs daily and am continually looking for ways to save. I use coupons online and in stores. I shop at three grocery stores to make sure I get the best prices. I sell extra items on eBay and Craigslist.

So I think I will write a series of entries about what we do and why we do it. I don’t know if it will be helpful to anyone else, but it may be good for me to take another look at various areas of our finances and share those whats and whys.

With the two or three people who actually read this, that is.

Published in: on September 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment