When you are considering switching to a HealthShare, there are a lot of new terms and processes to learn. One of the more confusing parts about joining a HealthShare may be understanding what your out-of-pocket costs will be. Whichever HealthShare you choose, you will submit a monthly payment to maintain your membership. This monthly amount is very similar to the kind of monthly premium you might pay to maintain your health insurance. So, if you are used to paying monthly for your healthcare needs, this will not be a huge change.
However, a monthly contribution is different than a monthly insurance premium in a number of ways. Let’s discuss what makes a HealthShare contribution unique and how to determine the right monthly cost for you.
Your monthly expenses
Your membership with your HealthShare is voluntary. You do not sign a contract or commit to a certain timeframe. Therefore, your membership depends on month-to-month payments, usually called a “monthly contribution.” This phrase, monthly contribution, highlights the voluntary nature of your commitment to the membership. Though your membership is voluntary, you must submit this monthly amount to remain an active member.
Some HealthShares use slightly different words to describe your monthly financial obligation, such as monthly share, membership contribution, monthly share deposit, and monthly financial gift. Whatever they call it, it’s the name for your monthly payment.
Keep in mind that your overall monthly healthcare expenses will involve more than your monthly HealthShare membership dues. You will have a personal responsibility level to meet, unshared expenses to pay, and perhaps a DPC membership or some insurance coverage to budget for—take all of that into account when choosing your HealthShare and membership level.
Pay more now or later
Your monthly HealthShare expense will have a big impact on how much you pay when you see a provider. If you have a lower monthly cost, you will likely have more out-of-pocket expenses. If you have a higher monthly cost, you will probably be eligible to share more expenses sooner and have smaller out-of-pocket expenses.
A relatively low monthly contribution will mean that your member responsibility—the amount you are responsible for before the membership shares your expenses—is a higher amount. The opposite is true if you have a higher monthly contribution. The more you pay upfront, the less you have to pay later.
How to decide
Of course, it’s easy to focus on your monthly expenses as your main priority—how you will make your health care strategy work from day to day. But a low monthly payment may mean that you will have to pay much more when you experience a medical event. You might find a membership program for as low as $100 a month, but you may have a $5,000 responsibility to meet before anything becomes shareable. So, when you are choosing your HealthShare membership level, look at the monthly contribution in connection with the member responsibility.
HealthShares are designed to meet major and unexpected medical expenses, so a lower-cost monthly membership will be helpful, but it may not be as effective as a plan with a higher monthly contribution and lower personal responsibility amount. Your choice depends on how you plan to use your HealthShare membership as a healthcare tool. Examine your healthcare priorities and lifestyle carefully before deciding which monthly cost approach is right for you.