Frequently Asked Questions About Healthcare Reform
Q. As a Medi-Share member, what do I need to do to comply with the individual mandate requirements?
A. Members of healthcare sharing ministries like Medi-Share are exempt from the individual mandate requirement. You will be asked on your tax return about your compliance with the law requirement and you will indicate that you are a member of a healthcare sharing ministry and therefore exempt.
Q. As a Medi-Share member, how do I claim my exemption on my taxes?
A. You can learn more about the exemption and download the IRS form and instructions for completing it here: Tax Exemption
Q. What if I am not a member of Medi-Share and I don't buy insurance?
A. If you do not have health insurance or have an exemption like members of Medi-Share, you will be penalized on your taxes.
Individuals: The penalty for the 2014 tax 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 increases to $695, or 2.5 percent of income, by 2016.
Families: The penalty for the 2014 tax year 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.
If you don't have coverage (or belong to a healthcare sharing ministry) in 2015, you'll pay the higher of the these two amounts:
- 2% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
- $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $975.
Q. When is Open Enrollment?
A. The open enrollment period for the Healthcare Marketplace is November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016. This period does not apply to Medi-Share and you can apply at anytime.
Q. What if I leave Medi-Share when open enrollment is not available?
A. If you end your Medi-Share membership or your membership is placed in inactive status (either due to your failure to share or failure to follow the Medi-Share Guidelines) outside of the Open Enrollment period, 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.
You can learn more about how to claim the exemption when filing your taxes 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 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.