Health shares are a great way to pay less for your health care as an alternative to traditional health insurance. If you are a Latter-day Saint, not all health share organizations will let you join. Thankfully, there are many health shares tailored that will. Here is an overview of some of the best options available today – as well as what we’ve done for our family of five!
Since 2016, our family has opted to use a health share – or cost sharing health program – as an alternative to more traditional health insurance.
While we were members of Liberty Health Share for a short period of time, the vast majority of our experience has been with Christian Healthcare Ministries.
If you are unfamiliar with health shares, I recommend you read this post that we wrote, which goes into a deep diver comparison of some of the more popular companies out there.
However, the purpose of this post is not to do a big comparison or even tell you all about health shares – but to share some of the health share organizations that allow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints join.
Health shares are insurance companies that are organized like non-profit organizations. Some health shares are more strict on their requirements than others, so it’s important to understand what they offer and how much they cost before joining.
Many of them have a set of governing rules or a “faith statement” that you are required to agree to before joining. Because of this, there are several ministries that Latter-day Saints aren’t eligible for joining. While I’ve heard some members debate whether or not they feel like they can join some of these (as in, they feel they can join if they support others having the beliefs stated, even if they don’t align with the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), there have been some instances where organizations – such as Samaritan Ministries – have kicked them out for being Latter-day Saints.
Since they are private organizations, they are certainly welcome to pick and choose who is a part of their organization. But if you are a Latter-day Saint, you might be wondering, is there any health share that I can join? A lot of the more well-known ones – like Medi-Share – don’t support members of the church joining.
Thankfully, there are quite a few health shares (and more popping up regularly) that are welcoming to members of various faith groups. If you are member of the church and are looking for health share to join, you’ve come to the right place.
Below I’ll share some of the different organizations that have belief statements that align with the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hope that this will be helpful. This isn’t a comparison of them (you can read that here) but just a brief overview of the requirements and costs to help you make the best decision for you and/or your family.
As of this writing, we are in the process of switching to Zion Health Share. As I’ve mentioned, we have been with Christian Healthcare Ministries for years. When we joined, they had a pretty basic faith statement that I felt alligned with my beliefs. However, earlier this year, they quietly updated their guidelines to have wording that I wasn’t as comfortable with. They have allowed me to stay and haven’t said anything contrary, however, I do worry that may change at some point. Their rates have also been increasing steadily, and at the start of 2022, they will be over $600 for our family. Also, we are part of a Direct Pay Clinic (DPC), and they do not provide a discount for that. So right now, it makes the most sense for us to change.
Consider a Direct Pay Clinic
Several of this health shares that I mention give ou a discount for being part of Direct Pay Clinic (DPC). We have been part of a DPC since 2016, and we have gotten the BEST care because of it.
Direct primary care is an innovative model of health care in which a patient pays a monthly fee to receive comprehensive primary care at any time, without having to worry about whether the service is covered by their insurance. DPCs reduce costs for patients and cut out bureaucratic steps so that doctors can get back to treating patients instead of insurance claims.
Physicians who run DPCs tend to have more time for one-on-one interactions with the patients. They also are able to provide a higher level of care than you might traditionally get. Because of this, many health shares are willing to give you a discount, because you will likely incur fewer costs.
When we signed up for a DPC back in 2016, there were very few in existence. However, more and more are popping up, as physicians and individuals are finding that it’s a much better model.
This organization began in 2019, and it is one of the fastest-growing health shares in the United States. I suspect this is because of their faith statement, reputation, and the vast amount of services available.
Although the name “Zion” makes it sound like it is a Latter-day Saint-specific health share, it is not. It is open to people from a wide variety of backgrounds and faith.
They do have “Principals of Membership” which are:
“Each member of Zion Health must comply with the following requirements to maintain membership with Zion Health and remain eligible to participate in the medical cost-sharing program. Adherence to the Zion Health Principles of Membership minimizes medical risks, encourages good health practices, and ensures member integrity and accountability.
All Zion Health members must attest to the following statements:
- I believe that a community of ethical, health-conscious people can most effectively care for one another by directly sharing the costs associated with each other’s health care needs. I acknowledge that Zion Health affiliates itself with, and considers itself accountable to, a higher power. I recognize that Zion Health welcomes members of all faiths.
- I understand that Zion Health is a benevolent organization, not an insurance entity, and that Zion Health cannot guarantee payment of medical expenses.
- I agree to practice good health measures and strive for a balanced lifestyle. I agree to abstain from the use of any illicit or illegal drugs and refrain from excessive alcohol consumption, acts which are harmful to the body. I understand that members who use tobacco will have an increased monthly contribution (per household) of fifty dollars.
- I am obligated to care for my family. I believe that mental, physical, emotional, or other abuse of a family member, or any other person, is morally wrong. I commit to treating my family and others with care and respect at all times.
- I agree to submit to mediation followed by subsequent binding arbitration, if needed, for any instance of a dispute with Zion Health or its affiliates”
Some of the things that I like about Zion:
- Variable IUA (initial unshareable amount) depending on your needs
- Covers some alternative health care
- Great maternity program – you do have to be a member for 60 days before conceiving in order for bills to be shared.
- Provides a discount for being enrolled in a DPC (there are some things that aren’t shared if you are a part of this, such as preventative care like vaccinations)
- They will help negotiate deals
- Offer up to 50% off your IUA if you negotiate a stellar discount
- Add-on services that you can signup for
- Covers preventative
- Fast Payouts
- Good reputation
I think that the pricing structure is a little overwhelming at first, but it’s very adaptable to your situation and budget.
Sedera Health Share
Sedera is another popular health share. They have a modern, easy-to-use website, and I feel like it is pretty straightforward. They do not prescribe to a specific religious community beliefs, and I feel that their shared beliefs and principles include a wide variety of faiths and lifestyles. Here is what they say:
- “We share a faith in each other and in the strength of our community.
- We believe improving the lot of humankind, present and future, is a virtuous goal
and that it is an expression of our moral and ethical responsibility to endeavor to
voluntarily support our fellow community members.
- We believe that as a community we should care for one another and assist fellow
members with each other’s medical burdens when the opportunity and resources
allow. We strive to share with others as we would like them to share with us.
- We believe in the importance of charity and benevolence as well as the social
duties of voluntariness, integrity, honesty, and personal responsibility.
- We believe in personal accountability for our decisions and responsible stewardship
of all that is entrusted to us and share faith that all members of our community will
be empowered to apply these beliefs and principles in their day-to-day lives.
- We believe that the use of illegal substances or the act of performing an illegal or
unlawful activity is harmful to the community and ourselves.
- We believe in respecting our bodies, practicing good health measures, avoiding
harmful substances and addictions, and striving for a balanced lifestyle.
- We believe it is a basic right to make our own health decisions and to pursue the
advice of learned physicians and advisors, spiritual or otherwise, in determining our
own health decisions.
- We believe the we have a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to
freely associate in the lawful exercise of our common beliefs to voluntarily share
health care expenses with one another. We believe that a community of ethical and
health-conscious people can most effectively encourage and care for one another
by sharing each other’s medical needs directly.
- We believe in the power of educated, informed, and empowered healthcare
consumers to generate value for themselves, the community, and the American
A few other things to keep in mind
- Your price is determined by your IUA (Initial Unshareable Amount), which can be between $500 and $5000, your age, and your family size. There have a great little calculator that makes it really simple to figure out – I like their calculator the most of any website I’ve been on! For my family of 5 with $500 IUA, we’d pay $678. If we chose a $5000, it would be $398
- However, if you are a member of a DPC, then you can get an additional discount. I’m not sure how much it is, though.
- They DO cover matnerity – however, not until you’ve been on the plan for 12 months. This is the biggest reason why we did not go with Sedera. They also have a $5000 IUA for maternity, which is another deal breaker.
- Cash Pay Directory
- Teledoc Services
- Bill Negotation
- Expert Second Opinions Available
- RX Marketplace
- Team Plans
Altrua Health Share
Altrua Health Share has been around since 1999. They offer four different tiers with lots of different pricing options depending on your age and size of your family. The cheapest is as low as $105 a month and the highest as high as $999 a month.
They offer four different tiers, which vary in what is covered, how much you have to pay before it kicks in, etc. I feel like their website has improved significantly over the past few years – it was not impressive at all a few years ago, and I had a hard time figuring out the plans. It seems a lot simpler now!
Here are the shared beliefs you have to accept and agree to in order to join:
- I agree to live a clean and healthy lifestyle and I share the followingethical and religious beliefs:
- I believe in caring for one another.
- I believe in keeping my body clean and healthy with proper nutrition.
- I believe that excessive alcohol consumption, as well as the use of tobacco or illicit drugs, is harmful to the body and soul.
- I believe sexual relations outside the bond of marriage are contrary to the teachings of the Bible and that marriage should be held in honor.
- I believe abortion is wrong, except in a life-threatening situation to the mother.
- I believe it is my obligation to care for my family, and that physical, mental, or emotional abuse of any kind to a family member, or to anyone else, is morally wrong.
A few things to consider about Altrua:
- They offer a free 30-day trial to see if it’s a good fit for your family.
- Pooled office visits – each member gets six office visits included a year, but if you have other members on your membership, if someone uses seven and another uses five, they can use one from the person who has one left over.
- Maternity costs are subject to a higher Member Responsibility amount. Maternity is only on Diamond and Emereld accounts, and there is a $5000 MRA. This was a deal breaker for me. They also have a maternity limit.
- They have different sharing limits for cancer as well. I understand why they do this, but I do prefer the programs that just have the same MRA across the word.
- Telemedicine is included
- For members over certain ages, wellness visits for mammograms and colonscopies are included
- They have different limitations for pre-existing conditions. If there has been an issue over the past ten years, it would be fall into one of three categories – lifetime limitations, five year limitations, and two-year limitations. For instance, since I have Endometroisis, there would be a two-year limitation on sharing of bills related to that. Most organizations have a pre-existing conditions limitations, but a lot of them just look back over the past two years.
I think Altrua is better than it used to be, and for certain people, It think it could be a great option. However, I don’t love that they have different MRAs for different things. I find it confusing, and it makes it less great for people who fall into those situations. Since members of the church often have more pregnancies than other groups of people, the maternity limits and the costs are a bit much in my opinion.
Liberty Health Share
This is actually the first health share that I signed up for, though we were only members for a few months. I found their communication to be poor, and I wasn’t totally confident that they were going to pay our bills. It’s been quite a few years since then, and I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some people love them, some have had bad experiences.
I think the most important thing is just being aware of their time for processing, what they cover, and the process for submitting bills. If you have ANY possibility of a pre-exisiting condition, make sure you are aware of what they will and will not cover.
With that said, Liberty is open to people to a wide variety of people. Their shared member beliefs are pretty broad. Here are the things you must agree/abide by when you join:
“Observe Christian Standards
- Strive to live in accordance with biblical principles
- Honor the biblical teaching to ‘share one another’s burdens’ (Gal. 6:2)
- Participate regularly in worship or prayer
Accept Our Shared Beliefs
- We believe that our personal rights and liberties originate from God and are bestowed on us by God, and are not concessions granted to us by governments or men.
- We believe every individual has a fundamental religious right to worship the God of the Bible in his or her own way.
- We believe it is our biblical and ethical obligation to assist our fellow man when they are in need according to our available resources and opportunity.
- We believe it is our spiritual duty to God and our ethical duty to others to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid foods, behaviors or habits that produce sickness or disease to ourselves or others.
- We believe it is our fundamental right of conscience to direct our own healthcare, in consultation with physicians, family or other valued advisors, free from government dictates, restraints and oversight.
Maintain a Christian Lifestyle
- Refrain from tobacco use in any form.
- Follow scriptural teachings on the use or abuse of alcohol.
- Avoid abuse of prescription drugs, which means consuming prescription medications in a manner not intended by the prescriber that would likely result in bodily harm or dependency.
- Abstain from the abuse of legal drugs or use of illegal drugs including, any hallucinogenic substance, barbiturates, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin or other opiates, marijuana, illegal intravenous drugs, or narcotics.
- Exercise regularly and eat healthy foods that do not harm the body.”
A few things to know about Liberty HealthShare:
- They have three different tiers – and within them, there are different sharing levels depending on your age and family size. The three tiers are Liberty Unite, Liberty Connect, and Liberty Essential. The cheapest plan is $159 all the way up to $1,239.
- Each tier has a different Annual Unshared Amount that must be paid before your expens can be paid, as well as a lifetime limit
- Each tier includes Telehealth and HealthShareRX prescription program
- If you have more than five people in your family, you will be charge an additional $50 a month per person
- They include a lot of preventative care, including wellness visits and vaccinations.
- They will pay for speech therapy, which I don’t see many others doing
- They. havea good maternity program
- You cannot share pre-exisiting conditions within the first year, dental or vision expenses, or Tier 1-3 prescriptions.
- Within the first 60 days of joining, you cannot share expenses that aren’t accidents, acute illness, or injury
Health shares have gained a lot of popularity in recneet years, though they have been in existence for decades. While they may not be the best option for every person or family, they can provide major savings. I hope that this post has been helpful for other Latter-day Saints who are interested in this option. Be sure to leave a comment with your experience with these health shares or others!