Frequently Asked Questions
Q. If I am a Medi-Share member, do I need to do anything?
A. No. Because members of healthcare sharing ministries like Medi-Share are exempt, there is no need for you to take action.
Q. What if I don't join Medi-Share and I don't buy insurance?
A. If you do not have health insurance by March 31, 2014, or have an exemption like members of Medi-Share, you will be penalized on your 2014 taxes. For individuals, the penalty this year is the greater of either $95 or up to 1 percent of the portion of the person’s modified adjusted gross income that exceeds $10,150, which is the level that requires you to file a tax return. That rises to $695, or 2.5 percent of income, by 2016. For families this year the penalty is $285 or 1 percent of the portion of modified adjusted gross income over $20,300. That will grow in 2016 to $2,085 or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater.
Q. What happens after March 31, 2014?
A. That's the cut off date to enroll in health insurance before you are subject to the law's tax penalty for not having coverage. You will not be penalized if you are a member of Medi-Share. This date is also important because you will not be able to go through the federal or state marketplaces to purchase coverage after March 31st until the next open enrollment period which begins November 15, 2014 unless you have a qualifying life event.
Q. What if I leave Medi-Share when open enrollment is not available?
A. If you cease participation in Medi-Share or your participation in Medi-Share is placed in inactive status (either due to your failure to share or follow the Medi-Share guidelines) outside of the Open Enrollment period, which, for coverage starting in 2015, is between November 15, 2014 and February 15, 2015, then you will not be able to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan until the next open enrollment period begins. This means that you will not be in compliance with the law and you will be subject to the law's tax penalty for not having coverage for the months that you are not either enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan or are a member of a health care sharing ministry.
Q. Does Medi-Share have an open enrollment period?
A. No. Medi-Share is not health insurance, so Christians can join anytime! You don't have to experience a qualifying life event, and you can take Medi-Share with you when you change jobs.
Q. If I qualify for a subsidy, can I use that for Medi-Share?
A. No. The subsidies only apply to health insurance purchased through the Marketplace, and in some limited cases, private health insurers.
Q. If I join Medi-Share, how will the government know that I have met the requirements of the law?
A. Christian Care Ministry has met with Health and Human Services and the IRS, and their representatives have asked that Medi-Share members report their participation in a healthcare sharing ministry when they file their income tax returns, not through their state or federal exchanges. The ministry's "Certificate of Exemption" can be found here.
According to the IRS website, the exemption for members of healthcare sharing ministries is available by claiming the exemption as part of filing a federal income tax return. You can learn more on the IRS website, specifically question 21, here.
Q. My spouse's employer-provided insurance covers only employees and their dependents, not spouses. Since that means I'm not covered, will I qualify for a Subsidy?
A. Maybe. You can shop on the exchanges during open enrollment, but the subsidies are based on your family's income so it depends. Medi-Share is a great option for spouses who cannot get insurance through their spouse's employer and find the plans on the exchange costly.
Q. If I qualify for a subsidy, why would I even consider Medi-Share?
A. First of all, Medi-Share is likely still more affordable, even after the subsidy is applied. You need to shop on the Marketplace in your state to determine if you qualify for a subsidy and how much it will be. Reports are that the insurance rates are higher because of all the new requirements that insurers must meet. It's important to weigh the costs, the copayments and deductibles, as well as the additional covered services. What you may receive for "free" on a Marketplace plan may not be worth the higher monthly out of pocket that you will be spending, or a 40% copay, especially if you are healthy.
Secondly, and we think most importantly, Medi-Share is a way to walk out your faith by sharing the medical bills of other Christians and by doing so, helping carry their burdens as instructed in God's Word. As a member of Medi-Share, you know that every month your dollars are going to help another Christian family and will not pay for things that, as a Christian, you don't believe in, like abortion or the morning after pill.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2