Concerned about health insurance and Obamacare?

I don’t often talk about our company, The Karis Group, but with the deadlines on health insurance looming and the state pools opening in a month, I’d like to present another option.

Christian healthcare sharing programs have been around for a long time–our company has been negotiating bills for them for more than 15 years, so we’re very familiar with how well they work. We personally use them to pay for any health needs we might have. And what’s even better, their members are automatically exempted from any of the penalties within the Affordable Care Act.

This is how they work. Based on Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens,” each month, we send  a contribution to a family with medical needs. No huge deductibles (just $300 per incident), no co-pays, no having to stay within network. Our daughter, who has a C-section due next Tuesday, has had all her bills for the pregnancy (except for the $300) paid by other members of the program. Compare this to her last pregnancy when she and her husband had traditional insurance and had to pay more than $3,000 in out-0f-pocket expenses.

The Karis Group has taken the largest of these healthcare sharing organizations, Samaritan Ministries, and we’ve added a number of other benefits (like discounts on dental, pharmacy, 24 hour phone access to a physician, etc) to form an entity called The Health Co-op. Most families can cut their health insurance costs by at least 50%. We’re excited about the potential of not just families, but Christian organizations and businesses being able to save hugely on their insurance costs and having more money available for use in the Kingdom.

Check us out at thehealthcoop.com.

Guest post by Tony Dale: Lowering healthcare costs

Simple church life is about living for Jesus 24/7.  We listen to Him and we do what He says.  Could this have anything to do with keeping our healthcare costs down?

Sixteen years ago, as a result of an accident to my knee (that will teach me to try to keep up with the kids on a basketball court!), I needed surgery.  I was so shocked by the bills, that I challenged them all and to my amazement everybody pretty much asked me, “What are you willing to pay?”  Felicity was asking the Lord what we could do to help support ourselves in a country where our medical licenses were not recognized, and out of this came The Karis Group. Our company has since negotiated hundreds of millions of dollars in medical bills for individuals, insurance companies, and for the various Christian health care sharing ministries that have grown up across America over the past 25 years.

By working with these Christian groups, and watching the incredible job they do, we found ourselves wondering how we could promote this sharing costs approach to the wider body of Christ. Most Christians are not even aware that such groups exist. But as I spoke with various ministries and churches about the huge cost savings that they would see by working in this environment, the reply was always the same,  “We love the idea behind these groups, but does it really work for a big group like ours?  Can they handle the challenges of all of our staff and any pre-existing conditions that they already have?”

At that time, the answer to those questions was not really clear.

But things have changed, and The Health Co-Op is the answer that has emerged.  Built around the foundation of what Samaritan Ministries, by far the largest of the Christian health care sharing groups, has done, we have pulled together a collection of services that mean the Christian world now has a serious, non-insurance alternative to classic major medical insurance.  We have taken our 16 years’ experience and created a service that slashes costs while enhancing and improving the way that your medical bills are paid.  The typical family or Christian group that we are helping is able to cut their medical costs by upwards of 50%.  And all of this is done is an environment that glorifies the Lord by literally helping Christians to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2

I believe that the moral and ethical issues involved in health care are some of the key issues that American Christians need to grapple with.  Do we want a system that few can afford, and that does little to nothing to reward godly/healthy living?  Do we want our dollars being spent to provide for services and procedures that we actually stand against?  It is hard to say I am pro-life, and then pay into an insurance plan that puts my money towards paying for other people’s abortions!  It is to the Catholics great credit that they have been willing to challenge the way health care law is trying to shape modern medical practice in a way that is profoundly anti-Biblical.

So come and have a look at what we are doing.  You can not only probably save a lot of money, but you can do so in a context that shows The Health Co-Op providing quality answers to a challenge that may otherwise bankrupt this country.

Can our business help you (with healthcare problems and questions)?

Stethescope

Our business just launched a new product.

Here are a few examples from our website that give you an idea of how we help people navigate the healthcare maze:

Consider the case of Rhonda who has insurance, but when the hospital submitted the bills to her insurance company, they denied payment on the charges. She’s tried to call the insurance company, but feels that she gets the run-around since she always either has to leave a message or speaks to someone who doesn’t know the answers. No one seems to be able to help her understand why her charges weren’t covered under her policy. She’s never dealt with insurance before since it has always seemed simple.

  • I wish someone just help me understand what is going on with all of these bills and letters from my insurance.
  • Please explain why my insurance didn’t pay what I thought it would.
  • I don’t have time to wait on hold all day while I’m at work. Can someone could help me get answers?
  • How can I appeal my insurance company’s decision?
  • Is anyone on my side?

Robert lost his job and his wife, Alissa, hasn’t been able to get more than part-time hours so there are many things they can’t afford, including health insurance.  Since they’re young, they’ve just been hoping for the best as far as health situations, until now.  While trying to do some home repair himself to save money, he fell from a ladder and shattered his ankle, resulting in complicated surgery and weeks of bed rest and limited movement.  They are barely making ends meet on Alissa’s income and now have hospital bills far beyond what they can pay.  The hospital offered them a minimal self-pay discount, but that makes little difference when there is no money to pay any of the bills.  They need a professional to help them find answers and don’t know where to turn.

  • I can’t even keep up with who all I owe money to anymore.
  • There is no way I can ever pay off this much money.
  • Where should I even start?
  • Is there any help for people like me?
  • Are my finances ruined for life from this one event?

Valinda is a single mom with 2 teenagers she’s supporting. She also has her mom living with her who has early Alzheimer’s that had progressed slowly for a while, but in the last few months it has escalated more rapidly. She doesn’t know what she is going to do. She can’t quit her job and stay home with her, nor can she afford to pay someone to come in and stay 5 days a week. She knows there are solutions and facilities, but, between her job, the teenagers and taking care of her mother, her life is too busy to figure out how to simplify it. She needs someone to turn to who can help her find these answers she needs.

  • I really want to make sure my parent is taken care of. Are there any good facilities around me?
  • What should I ask when I check out a facility?
  • Does her insurance pay for something like this?
  • Help me know more about Alzheimer’s so I can take better care of my parent.
  • Does anyone see me and my parent as people in this whole process?

 

What our business does…

Kare360-logo

In 1996, Tony was playing basketball with the kids when he injured his knee. It required surgery. When the bills came in, he was horrified to discover how high they were for such a short procedure. At the time, we belonged to one of the Christian sharing groups that help each other with medical bills, so he called up each of the providers who had sent bills, and explained to them that he didn't feel comfortable paying the full amount. To his amazement, each one offered a substantial discount.

We had been praying for some time through Deuteronomy 8:18, that the Lord would give us an idea to create a business. When we had the thought that maybe we could negotiate medical bills for other members of the Christian sharing group, we contacted the organization to suggest it. Within 3 days, we were working for them, and within a week, it became obvious that we could make a significant difference.

Since that time, our company, The Karis Group, has expanded. We now work for many different clients and help them save more than 20 million dollars on their medical bills each year. We have taken on a significant number of people to help us and built an infrastructure to cope with all the demands.

Up until now, The Karis Group has only worked with groups of people, but we've always wanted to find a way to work with individuals. After months of brainstorming, on October 3rd, we launched a new product that works with individuals and families for a small monthly fee. In the new program, we not only handle negotiating medical bills, but any other questions that tie in with medical care. For example, have you ever tried to make sense of insurance or found your medical bills incomprehensible?  Or have you tried to understand which is the best facility to go to with medical needs? Our customer care is outstanding and our staff will work with you to handle any questions or problems you face with healthcare–the exceptions being that we are not there to give medical advice, nor are we trying to sell insurance.

So if you know anyone who is facing any kind of challenge with the healthcare system, or has medical bills they don't know how to handle, please put them in touch with us. Here's the Kare360 website and a press release. We'd love to help them.