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Altrua

Altrua HealthShare is related to Altrua Ministries, a nonprofit which partners with well-known foundations like The Salvation Army. The HealthShare launched in 2000 but their merge with Blessed Assurance Bulletin allows them to claim that they have been in operation since 1996. Altrua serves about 15,000 members from a home base in Texas.

Altrua HealthShare is a puzzle with many unusual pieces. For example, if you exceed the weight standard, Altrua may charge you extra or cancel your membership. Even some core pieces of this HealthShare are very complicated, like the structure of the Member Responsibility Amount (MRA). During a calendar year, there are two MRAs that you must meet before your costs become fully shareable. You are responsible for all your medical expenses until you meet your first MRA, between $500 and $7,500. Then, you pay a portion of your eligible bills until you meet the second responsibility amount, between $2,500 and $10,000. Altogether, these primary MRA amounts may total between $3,000 and $12,500. However, unlike many HealthShares the MRAs work on a per person per year basis, not per need.

Due to Altrua HealthShare’s strict definition of pre-existing conditions, some of your most critical needs may not be shareable. Depending on the condition, if you have had any treatment or symptoms in the past ten years, you may have a two or five year wait before you can share it with the community. What’s worse, you may never be able to share some of your needs because there are lifetime limits on some pre-existing conditions. However, not all pieces of the Altrua puzzle are a bummer. In fact, you may be able to share some expenses with Altrua that are not typically eligible with other HealthShares. For example, you can share adoption expenses like a maternity need.

Despite the complex structure and strict rules, Altrua HealthShare plans have many practical features that emphasize member wellness. Each membership includes six office visits per year. What’s more, you may pool office visits with other members in your household. If one household member uses less than six visits, any other member in the household may use the remaining visits. Altrua HealthShare allows an extra visit for select preventive screenings. For example, female members over the age of 40 must get a mammogram every two years. Pap Tests and Prostate Specific Antigen Tests are treated in the same way.

Sharing may feel a little thin with Altrua; bills related to something as common as a migraine may not be shareable until after two years of membership if you have had one in the past ten years. On the other hand, Altrua HealthShare encourages regular visits to your healthcare providers. Ultimately, you may pay a lot out of your own pocket, but much of your routine care is likely shareable with Altrua HealthShare.

Membership Requirements:

  • Agree to “statement of standards,” including strict religious beliefs
  • No tobacco use
  • Weight limits
  • Annual recommitment form

Key Considerations:

  • Need turn-around: 30–45 days
  • Annual fees: $100 renewal, $25 donation to Altrua Ministries
  • ER visits highly scrutinized, may not be shareable
  • Substance use/abuse (including nicotine) may result in drug screening and membership termination
  • Decreased monthly contributions for Medicare part A or B participants
  • Strict sharing rules regarding vehicle-related injuries and extreme sports

Pros:

  • 30-day trial period
  • Refer a friend $100
  • Telemedicine (DialCare)
  • Counseling shareable
  • Federally recognized by CMS
  • Provider paid directly, or member reimbursed
  • No annual limits: Diamond and Emerald
  • Group plans available for churches or businesses
  • Nationwide Primary PPO network: MultiPlan/PHCS
  • COVID-19 services shareable: $50 for test, $150 for vaccine
  • Adoption shareable (2 adoption events, $5000 each)
  • Advanced Opinion for Eligibility available, but not required
  • Discounts on dental, vision, hearing, alternative health, medical supplies
  • Children may have a membership with or without their parents
  • Maternity shareable for single-person plans

Cons:

  • 90-day wait for most services
  • 12-month wait for some services
  • No memberships available for members over 65
  • Annual limits: Sapphire and Ruby
  • Lifetime limits on all plans
  • Limited cancer sharing
  • Sharing limits on most common needs
  • Limited hospice and skilled nursing sharing: 40 visits/days
  • Dependents qualify until age 23 (typical is 26)
  • Extra charges or disqualification for exceeding weight standards
  • Refusing prescribed treatment may impact future need eligibility
  • Complications from ineligible pregnancy (mother or baby) not shareable
  • Strict pre-existing conditions definition: 10-year prior
  • Maternity not shareable for unmarried members

Ideal Candidates:

  • Do not participate in extreme sports
  • Enjoy using recreational vehicles responsibly
  • Have strong moral convictions
  • Want a plan just for their children
  • Have money to spend on their medical care
Website altruahealthshare.org
Need Processing Time 30-45 Days
Caps $2,000,000 lifetime per member
Personal Responsibility $500, $1,000, $1,500 or $7,500 MRA
Pre-existing Limitations Depends of Diagnosis up to 24 month or 5 yr waiting period
Pre-existing exception(s) Depends of Diagnosis up to 24 month or 5yr waiting period
Wellness Visit Yes, for Office Visits
Preventive Immunizations Pediatric only
Screening for Mammogram Yes, 1 year waiting period (age 40+)
Screening for Colonoscopy Yes, with limitations
Mental Health No
Provider Network PHCS Network
Need Processing Method Provider Direct, Reimbursement
Telemedicine DialCare
Startup Fee 125.00
Renewal Fee 100.00
Prescriptions Discount Rx Card - GoodRx or Magellan
Maternity $5,000 MRA (not all memberships), shared $12,000 to $25,000, 90 day wait
Membership Size 15,000
Community Start Date 2002

Reviews

HealthSharing Reviews 74 reviews
2.9 / 5
Yelp 127 reviews
1.0 / 5
Better Business Bureau 12 reviews
1.3 / 5
0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0

Altrua Options

Diamond Emerald Sapphire
Annual Out of Pocket Max 1st: $500, 2nd MRA: Max $2,500 1st: $1000, 2nd MRA: Max $2,500 1st: $1500, 2nd MRA: Max $2,500
Shareable Cost Per Need Only if more than MRA amount 75% (1st), 100% (2nd MRA) Only if more than MRA amount 75% (1st), 100% (2nd MRA) Only if more than MRA amount 75% (1st), 100% (2nd MRA)
Max Sharing Per Need
Extended Sharing $2 mil $1 million lifetime $1 million lifetime
Doctor's Office Visits Max $300;$35copay Max $300;$35copay MRA
Hospitalization Subject to MRA Subject to MRA Subject to MRA
Emergency Care Subject to MRA Subject to MRA Subject to MRA
Prescriptions No No No
Maternity Shareable, after $5,000 MRA Max $12,000 1st yr, $25,000 2nd Shareable, after $5,000 MRA Max $12,000 1st yr, $25,000 2nd Shareable, after $5,000 MRA Max $12,000 1st yr, $25,000 2nd
Note

Doctor’s Office Visits: Maximum $300/visit can be counted towards 1st MRA, then 2nd MRA
Maternity: max $4,000 normal delivery, $6,000 non-elective C-section, and after 10 months of a Couple Membership
Colonoscopy: Not shareable in the first year; Maximum 3 per lifetime, unless having genetic diseases

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Are you or have you been a member of Altrua? Please leave a review below so others can get a better sense of what it’s like to be a part of a healthsharing ministry! If you have any questions about Altrua, contact us!
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