Friday, May 16, 2008

Insurance: A Christian Alternative?

It is simply amazing the things that turn up when you start digging around on the Internet. Sites and blogs that you have never heard or conceived of turn up on Google with the most interesting stories. Case in point is today's subject: Health Cost Sharing Ministries.

You see, I was doing research on health care costs and I stumbled upon Ken Walker's piece on Church Central. It seems that some members of the Christian Community have cooked up their own solution to dealing with cost of care and insurance issues. It is, indeed, an interesting one. Walker describes it thusly:

I'm a member of Christian Care Ministry (CCM), which I've found to be reliable and pleasant to deal with. I also like its emphasis on healthy living as an alternative to facing high health costs (something I'm taking especially seriously after my surgery.)

However, I'm not trying to advertise for CCM as much as promote these plans. In recent years I've talked to three different self-employed Christians who all pay $1,100 or more a month for health insurance. As I told one, "If someone said that's what I had to pay for coverage, I'd tell them I'll just have to take my chances."

The other two major plans I'm aware of are Christian Healthcare Ministries and Samaritan Ministries. While there are variables, each operates on the same principle: Christians helping other Christians share health care expenses. Their foundational verse: "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2, NIV.)

Although none fits the legal definition of insurance, they still have similar deductibles and guidelines. Sometimes that has brought oversight or even legal snarls with state insurance regulators, but thus far the ministries have prevailed.

The insurance collaboratives are an interesting twist on dealing with health care costs. More of a cost sharing co-op than anything resembling insurance as we know it, they are a concrete example of the lengths to which modern Americans have to go in order to in order to take care of themselves.

The mere fact that actions like this are needed proves that sweeping reform is of utmost importance!

SOURCE: "Christians sharing health care costs alternative to insurance" 05/12/08
photo courtesy of maccanti, used under its Creative Commons license

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