BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Having other people help out with paying your medical bills might sound like a fantasy, but it’s a real system that has helped hundreds of thousands of people.
Nikki Temple was a school teacher who decided to stay at home to raise her children.
“Both my kids have lots of medical needs and we were trying to find something that would work with our new income but also fit with the needs of our children," says Temple.
Her husband owns BenJammin’ Sports Grill in Argo. They found traditional health care too expensive and looked at Medi-Share, a medical bill sharing organization. People put in a “share”, similar to a premium, that helps pay another’s bills.
“So we have like a monthly ‘premium’ but it goes to someone else’s medical needs. And I pay a premium based on what I want my share to be,” says Temple.
Each customer also has an annual household portion, which is like a deductible, that must be met before you receive any shares.
“It’s quite different from insurance. It’s really a community of people who come together and share one another’s burdens directly," says Medi-Share spokesperson Michael Gardner.
Groups like Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries are faith-based organizations that believe in a community supporting each other in a Biblical sense.
“Ask one another, is there anything I can pray for you about?” says Gardner.
Medi-Share has 400,000 customers across the U.S.—6,000 of which are in Alabama. And they’ve helped with major medical issues.
“Things like cancer, things like heart disease, organ transplants. Million-dollar needs that our members have shared in over the years,” says Gardner.
Most of these organizations have been around since the early 1990’s--and for thousands of people, has been the only alternative when it comes to health care.
“I love it cause I don’t feel like I’m paying for a lot of extra stuff that I don’t need,” says Temple.
These organizations also help negotiate your medical bills for you. But they’re not for everyone, so be sure to read up on it before you make the switch.