Members already know health shares are great for handling medical expenses for major medical incidents, but there are other features you should expect from your health share. Some of these features, like telemedicine and preventive screening, are provided by most health shares as part of your membership. To get the most out of your health share membership, you should be taking full advantage of these features.
The features talked about in this blog are common inclusions for most major health shares at this point, and should be expected as part of your health share membership in 2023. If your health share membership does not include some of these features, then you should contact your health share to request they be added. They may not add it right away, but the more members that ask, the more likely they are to consider adding it.
Read below to learn more about features you should expect from your health share this year.
Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, allows users to communicate with licensed medical professionals remotely, whether it be over the phone or through video call, for treatment and diagnosis of a variety of issues. Many health shares have partnered with telemedicine providers to give their members the ability to see providers while reducing out-of-pocket expenses.
Teladoc Health™, who are partnered with Zion HealthShare and Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), have “doctors, therapists, and specialists” available 24/7 and can be reached by phone, video, or through their app. Teladoc Health™ has licensed medical professionals in all 50 states, so when you call you can speak with “a local doctor who understands the weather and illnesses common to your area.” Additionally, they provide dermatology services, which means you can upload photos of a suspected skin condition through their app and one of their dermatologists will send you a custom treatment plan in response.
Teladoc Health™ is included with every Zion HealthShare and CHM membership at no additional charge. CHM says their HealthiestYou™ program by Teladoc Health™ reduces their members’ “out-of-pocket medical expenses” and has saved their members more than $13,000,000 since 2021.
Similarly, United Refuah HealthShare partnered with Doctegrity to provide their members with Telerefuah, which also allows their members remote access to consultations with licensed doctors and therapists.
While many health shares are partnered with telemedicine providers, others are not. Samaritan Ministries, for instance, says in their guidelines that telemedicine consultation is eligible for sharing, but does not provide any more detail and does not include telemedicine services as part of their memberships.
Health shares rarely share expenses related to prescription medications when they are not related to eligible medical incidents, but many offer members access to prescription discount programs, which can help save you money on out-of-pocket costs for your medications.
Drug prices vary by pharmacy, so these programs gather pricing data from pharmacies in your area to find you the most affordable option. They provide you with coupons to give to your pharmacist in exchange for discounts on your prescriptions.
Altrua HealthShare partners with ManifestRx to offer their members discounts for named-brand and generic prescriptions, and the Altura app provides you the means to compare pharmacies’ drug pricing.
On the other hand, some health shares, like CHM, are not partnered with any prescription discount program. In the section of their guidelines titled “planning for ineligible costs,” they recommend that members “shop for providers discount programs that can offer cost savings,” instead of providing that feature as part of membership.
Preventive screening is vital in the detection of cancers and other serious illness. While preventive care is not always eligible for sharing, many health shares do share expenses related to some preventive screenings. These include mammograms, which can help detect breast cancer, and (less frequently eligible) colonoscopies or Cologuard® tests, which can help detect colon cancer.
Health shares often put waiting periods and age restrictions on preventive screenings. They may not be eligible for members under 40-50 years of age, or if they are within their first year of membership, depending on the details of their program.
Some health shares are better at this than others. Solidarity HealthShare shares in expenses for both screening colonoscopies, mammograms, and even pap smears on an annual basis. Medi-Share, on the other hand, does not share in screening mammograms or colonoscopies, which could be something to bear in mind if you are a health share member over 40 years old.
You can get more out of your health share membership if you understand all of the features that it includes. While not all of these additional features come with every health share membership, they are common enough that you should expect them. If any of these features appeal to you, we encourage you to contact your health share or use our website to find one that’s right for you.