'Quality' of ACA health plans up for debate

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
 | 
Bill Bumpas, Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

doctor writing prescriptionAs the open enrollment deadline for the Affordable Care Act draws near, many Americans are once again facing difficult healthcare decisions. Many are hoping that with a new president in the White House, the Affordable Care Act will be replaced – but as it stands now, ObamaCare is still in place.

Even though the December 15 deadline has passed, Healthcare.gov says people can still get coverage starting February 1 if they sign up by next Sunday (January 15). This year, more than eight out of ten people who enroll through Healthcare.gov qualify for financial help – and the website says "most people can find quality plans with premiums for $50 to $100 per month."

Not everyone agrees with the price and/or "quality" of health insurance plans. "There's almost no such thing as a $50 premium or even a $100 premium before subsidies under the ACA," says Hadley Heath Manning of Independent Women's Forum.

As for those plans, Manning says they're not quality.

Manning

"And compared to other plans – for example, those offered by employers and those offered before the Affordable Care Act – the network of providers available to people in the ACA exchange-based plans is much smaller," she says. "So we have to judge the quality of a health insurance plan not just by what the policy says it will cover, but what in reality consumers can access when they go to use their plan."

As a result, Manning says her heart goes out to people who may have no other choice but enroll in an ObamaCare exchange plan, especially if they live in a state where it's the only thing available.

A viable, growing option

Altrua HealthShare
Christian Healthcare Ministries
Liberty HealthShare
Medi-Share
Samaritan Ministries

Healthcare-sharing organizations have become a viable option for many families and individuals over the last few years as they have had to deal with the federal health insurance requirement. According to Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, more than 300,000 Americans have opted to go the medical-sharing route. Several of those groups (above) offer a faith-based solution to the challenges presented by rising costs of healthcare and policies that can be expensive.

Anthony Hopp with Samaritan Ministries says although healthcare-sharing groups are exempt from the individual mandate under ObamaCare, that has never been his organization's main selling point.

"We put forth the fact that you can be in community with your brothers and sisters in Christ," he begins. "You can know where your money goes every month, you can be a good steward of the resources that God has entrusted to you, you can take charge of your own healthcare and be able to direct it as you see fit for each person's family."

Hopp tells OneNewsNow that the growing number of members of healthcare-sharing organizations is playing a part in reforming healthcare at the grassroots level.

"The whole healthcare landscape is a dark one right now," he shares. "And I think what healthcare-sharing organizations are doing is a bright light in that darkness – and the bright light is what the members are doing, it's not what a particular organization is doing."

He says in Samaritan's case, it's the 65,000 households who faithfully – month after month – support each other and take care of one another in a practical way by sharing medical needs.

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