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United Refuah HealthShare

“Refuah” means healing in Hebrew, and unlike many HealthShares, which come from Christian roots, United Refuah is a Jewish organization based in Ohio.  Like many Christian HealthShares, Refuah values the religious community it serves and promotes caring for one another. United Refuah was founded by Baruch Chaim Manies, an entrepreneur who wanted to provide a medical cost sharing option to his Jewish community after many Christian HealthShares were unwilling to accept Jewish members. United Refuah is still a new HealthShare, founded in 2018; however, they took over the health sharing program of Maysville Fellowship Medical Aid Plan (founded before 1999).

So far, reviews are generally positive. The HealthShare also provides the only option for Jewish people who want to participate in a medical cost sharing organization that shares their values. Comments from Moishe Katz, the National Director of United Refuah HealthShare, indicate that while members must belong to the Jewish community and share Jewish values, they do not necessarily have to be practicing Jews. However, this is not explicitly stated in the membership guidelines, so prospective members should be cautious.

United Refuah’s member responsibility

Unlike many HealthShares, which calculate member responsibility costs on a per-need basis, United Refuah members pay an “Annual Pre-Share Amount,” which resets on the anniversary of their membership each year. The Pre-Share amount is $500 for a single member, $1,000 for a couple, and $1,500 for a family. After the Annual Pre-Share Amount, United Refuah will share in 80 percent of eligible medical bills. Members have responsibility for 20 percent of their medical bills until they meet an “Annual Co-Share Responsibility.” After the Co-Share amount is met, United Refuah will begin to share 100 percent of a member’s eligible medical costs. The co-share responsibility is $1,000 for single members, $2,000 for couples, and $4,000 for a family.

This means that in one calendar year, a single member could be responsible for up to $1,500 in medical costs (a $500 Annual Pre-Share Amount plus the $1,000 Co-Share Responsibility Amount). Family memberships could pay up to $5,500 in medical bills before their needs are fully shareable. Refuah also charges pregnancy fees in addition to the Annual Pre-Share and Co-Share amounts. However, once these amounts are met, United Refuah HealthShare shares 100 percent of eligible medical bills. Though that might seem daunting, it is actually pretty reasonable as far as member responsibility goes, and much more straightforward than most companies.

Preauthorization with United Refuah HealthShare

One key consideration with United Refuah HealthShare is its strict preauthorization policy—many medical needs are only shareable after preapproval. The reasoning behind this process seems to stem from a desire to keep medical costs low for its members and avoid sharing medical costs that have been over-charged. United Refuah also has maximum amounts for specific services (generally based on the caps placed by Medicare). For example, United Refuah reimburses doctor visits up to 50 percent above the Medicare rate. In these cases, United Refuah helps negotiate rates for patients too.

For emergency care, true emergency care, United Refuah asks for notification within 48 hours of admission. This is also the request they make for maternity admission. Any emergency admission that is reported will be scrutinized by United Refuah to make sure that the, often costly, emergency services were truly medically necessary.

With preapproval, United Refuah seems willing to share costs other HealthShares will not. For instance, some types of therapy and mental wellness visits such as psychological counseling are shareable with certain restrictions. What’s more, United Refuah will share in some preventive care like annual wellness visits, Pap smears, mammograms, and colonoscopy screenings. These services are not subject to the AHP or annual co-share. So, while Refuah closely watches how membership dollars are spent, they are also willing to share in medical expenses that help keep the community healthy.

Key Considerations

Here is some of the top information we believe potential members might want to know about this HealthShare.

Membership Requirements

  • Share Jewish beliefs based upon the dictates of the Torah
  • Maintain a Jewish lifestyle
  • Provide detailed health information to United Refuah
  • Be under age 65

Notable

  • $1,000,000 incident limit
  • Simple program structure
  • May deny members based on pre-existing conditions or other factors
  • Most pre-existing conditions fully shareable after four years of membership
  • Mandatory WellCheck program enrollments for members with certain health conditions

Pros

  • Prescription discounts
  • Telehealth available
  • No lifetime sharing limit
  • $600 annual allowance for preventive care visit per person
  • Some therapy and mental health services shareable with pre-approval
  • No pregnancy fees for family membership
  • Refuah ShareFund allows members to share directly with other members in need

Cons

  • No maternity sharing for unwed mothers
  • Pregnancy fees for mothers in a single or couple membership
  • No smoking or tobacco use
  • Enrollment fee of $125; annual renewal of $75; $10 credit card fee
  • Some pre-existing conditions may never be shareable
  • Sixty-day waiting period before sharing fully begins
  • No dental or vision sharing or discount options
  • Many types of sharing only eligible after pre-notification to Refuah HealthShare
  • Additional fee for family memberships with more than six members

Ideal Candidates

  • Belong to the Jewish community
  • Never participate in hazardous hobbies or professional sports
  • Appreciate a simple program structure
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products

Learn more about United Refuah HealthShare by watching their video

Website unitedrefuahhs.org
Religious Requirements Yes, Jewish
Need Processing Time 30 days
Caps $1,000,000 per incident; No lifetime limit
Personal Responsibility $500-$1500 APA + $1000-$4000 max co-share
Pre-existing Limitations 1st year not shared; 2nd & 3rd year $25,000; 4th year fully shareable
Pre-existing exception(s) Some conditions may never be shareable
Wellness Visit Yes, up to $600 per person annually
Preventive Immunizations Yes, subject to APA
Screening for Mammogram Yes, every other year after age 50
Screening for Colonoscopy Yes, every ten years after 50
Mental Health For diagnosed illness: 10 visits annually; Max $125 per visit
Provider Network None
Need Processing Method Provider Direct, Reimbursement
Telemedicine TeleRefuah
Startup Fee 125.00
Renewal Fee 75.00
Prescriptions Inpatient and specialty meds only
Maternity Yes; additional APA for single and couple
Membership Size 3000
Community Start Date 2017

Reviews

Google 85 reviews
4.9 / 5
0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0

United Refuah HealthShare Options

Family Couple Single
Annual Out of Pocket Max $5,500 $3,000 ($3,900 with pregnancy fee) $1,500 ($4,000 with pregnancy fee)
Shareable Cost Per Need 80% after $1,500 APA; 100% after $4,000 Max co-share 80% after $1,000 APA; 100% after $2,000 Max co-share 80% after $500 APA; 100% after $1,000 Max co-share
Max Sharing Per Need $1,000,000* $1,000,000* $1,000,000*
Extended Sharing N/A N/A N/A
Doctor's Office Visits Yes Yes Yes
Hospitalization Need-based; pre-approval required Need-based; pre-approval required Need-based; pre-approval required
Emergency Care Yes, strict Yes, strict Yes, strict
Prescriptions Need-based; Discounts available Need-based; Discounts available Need-based; Discounts available
Maternity Yes; No additional fee Yes with $900 pregnancy fee Yes with $2,500 pregnancy fee
Note *Different limits during first 60 days of membership *25,000 limit for needs occurring in first 60 days *25,000 limit for needs occurring in first 60 days
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Personal Responsibility: United Refuah has an Annual PreShare Amount (APA) with maximum annual co-shares. Members pay a 20% co-share after their APA up until their maximum co-share amount for the year. Single members have a $500 APA, $1000 max co-share, and $2,500 pregnancy fee. The most a single member could pay out of pocket in a year for personal responsibility is $4,000 (Couples $3,900; Families $5,500). Without a pregnancy need, the max out-of-pocket for personal responsibility in one year is $1,500 Single; $3,000 Couple; $5,500 Family.

Sharing Limits: First 60 days limited to $25,000 max for all household members combined.

Maximum Service Rate: If a bill exceeds United Refuah’s maximum rate for a service the member is responsible for paying the difference.

Mental Health: Sharing available for diagnosed psychological or psychiatric conditions, not for general family counseling, learning disabilities, or behavioral counseling.

Well Check: All members will submit a health questionnaire during the application process. United Refuah may determine that some members enroll in their WellCheck Assist or WellCheck Support program to be granted membership. If United Refuah makes this determination, it is not negotiable.

 

Have an opinion? We want to hear it!

Are you or have you been a member of United Refuah HealthShare? 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 United Refuah HealthShare, contact us!
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