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Health Sharing Ministries Attract Millions of Members, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

As of mid-2022, about 865,000 Americans had joined religious health groups known as health sharing ministries according to the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries.  These programs have reached true mass-market scale, and can be significantly less expensive for members than traditional health insurance. These plans are essentially cost sharing agreements among members who may have somewhat similar religious beliefs.  In order to control total outlays, they rely on averages--with many healthy members who have few or no costs each year—to allow the coverage substantial payments for those who need expensive treatment. 
The plans may be limited in that they often do not cover pre-existing conditions or preventive services (e.g., check-ups, mammograms, colonoscopies).  Abortions, birth control and addiction treatments are also not typically covered.  However, substantial therapies and procedures may be covered.  Examples of such plans include Christian Healthcare Ministries in Ohio; Liberty HealthShare (also based in Ohio); and Samaritan Ministries International based in Illinois.

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