A health care sharing ministry (HCSM) provides a health care cost sharing arrangement among persons of similar and sincerely held beliefs. HCSMs are operated by not-for-profit religious organizations acting as a clearinghouse for those who have medical expenses and those who desire to share the burden of those medical expenses.
- HCSMs receive no funding or grants from government sources.
- HCSMs are not insurance companies. HCSM do not assume any risk or guarantee the payment of any medical bill. Twenty-nine states have explicitly recognized this and specifically exempt HCSMs from their insurance codes.
- HCSMs serve more than 580,000 people*, with participating households in all fifty states.
- HCSMs’ participants share more than $570 million per year* for one another’s health care costs.
- HCSMs strive to be accessible to participants regardless of their income, because traditionally shares are a fraction of the cost of insurance rates.
*As of April 1, 2016
In our nation’s past, our forefathers were quite familiar with bearing one another’s burdens. Mutual aid was a foundation of social welfare in the United States. Today, our mentality has moved far from that of our ancestors. We still have the mandate to bear one another’s burdens, but we hardly know what that means anymore. If an emergency medical problem arises, the government or the insurance company takes care of it, and our friends, relatives and neighbors have little participation in restoring us to our former state. We don’t think we need each other in the way we used to. HCSMs provide an opportunity where Christians can minister to the Body of Christ while being thrifty with their money, and without ignoring their own medical needs. HCSMs have grown in popularity and success ever since the Old Order Amish Church Fund began the modern-era of burden-bearing during the 1960’s. Today, participants from a broad spectrum of Christian denominations support each other’s medical needs across all fifty states and around the world.
A HCSM is founded on the biblical mandate of believers to share each other’s needs. Our goal is to apply Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” to the ever-rising medical costs which can be quite burdensome for anyone, single or married, young or old. It is a principle that has been around since the birth and growth of the early Church. The Book of Acts reports, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need,” (Acts 2:44-45). These Christians are making a decision to be there for their neighbor in need and bring glory to God in the process of sharing.
How it works
The member ministries of the Alliance each publish and distribute a monthly publication to a group of committed Christian participants who have offered to give a certain amount each month. This money is shared among the participants to assist those with medical bills. The publication lists the current needs of its participants and shows who the gift is to help that particular month. This brings Christians together to share medical bills with one another. The key is that medical needs are shared among participants. The personal approach of HCSMs facilitates Christians to bear one another’s burdens in a very tangible way. Biblical principles are foundational to HCSMs and the participants treat each other with respect, prayer, and genuine care.
Testimony from a participant
“We are amazed at the care and generosity of God’s people! We received over 200 cards and gifts from those who felt led by the Holy Spirit to help bear our financial burden! I now share with others as much as possible about this incredible ministry. We often found ourselves in tears as we read the meaningful notes of agape love and encouragement.”
~ Michael & Mary Suitter Hayden, ID
If you are interested in joining a health care sharing ministry as an individual or household, click on the icons below to learn more about the health care sharing ministries that comprise the Alliance.
Call Samaritan @ 888-268-4377 Call Medi-Share @ 800-772-5623
To compare participation history, guidelines, and requirements between our member ministries see our comparison chart. Please direct all participation related questions to each respective ministry.
The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries was founded in 2007 by Christian Care Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries International to provide advocacy for, and education about health care sharing ministries and their members. Health care sharing satisfies the Federal health care law’s (Affordable Care Act) requirement that individuals purchase insurance or pay a penalty-tax (see 26 United States Code Section 5000A, (d) (2) (B)). The Alliance is a tax exempt 501(c)(6) Christian advocacy ministry. The Alliance seeks to return health care to a private, patient-centered model. Christian Care Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries International have both received letters of certification (here and here) as recognized health care sharing ministries by the Department of Health & Human Services (via Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). The IRS has issued Form 8965 along with finalized instructions explaining how members of a recognized health care sharing ministry can apply for an exemption to the individual mandate.