Now, there’s finally an answer for the health insurance frustration we all endure. United Refuah HealthShare is the exciting alternative for Jewish families.

 

In my house, like in any other, there are certain things my husband takes care of, and certain things I take care of. The bills, thank G-d, are in his court. Towards the end of each year, though, when it comes time to decide whether we’ll be staying on our current insurance plan or switching to a new one, it’s up to me to do the research, analyze the fine print, and decide which plan makes the most sense for us. Once I finish my research, I present the information to my husband, who gives me his go ahead to sign us up, trusting that I know our family’s health care needs and can determine what gives us the best value and cost efficiency.

I’ve taken care of this task for as long as I can remember.

Unfortunately, except for the time when I found a really great dental plan, most of my recent insurance decisions have been coupled with frustration.

“They’re all bad,” I usually tell my husband, “But I think we should go with such-and-such because it’s the least of the evils.”

And each year it’s only gotten worse, with higher rates and less coverage.  Over the past year, we’ve been paying a higher premium than we ever did, and because deductibles are also higher, I’ve been paying more out of pocket  than ever…and baruch Hashem, we’re healthy, and all those bills have just been for routine or preventative care.

Sometimes the bills make no sense. Often, it seems the insurance companies are covering absolutely nothing.

I often think,   “I wish I could just pay for my own care, rather than paying the insurance company!”

That of course is not an option.

I’m sure you all share a similar story.

 

Now, for the first time ever, I’m actually excited about my family’s health care options. That’s because of the launch of  United Refuah HealthShare.

Lots of you have probably heard of health share organizations. Until now, health shares have been exclusive to those of the Christian faith. Basically, members make a fixed monthly contribution to the health share and their health care bills are shared by these contributions. The monthly payments are low, most often less than half the cost of traditional insurance.

That’s because there’s no hefty profit for the insurance company; health shares are non-profit organizations. Health shares are also not regulated the same way as insurance by the government, so they don’t need to accept those with pre-existing conditions (this is what drives rates way up). They will, however, share in the medical expenses of members with managed chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol or diabetes. Health share members are generally healthy, and that keeps monthly payments low. Nevertheless, of course, if a medical issue pops up, the eligible expenses will be shared up to one million dollars per incident.  Because health shares are religious organizations, they also don’t share those things that go against our beliefs or lifestyle, such as abortions for example, which also adds to the savings. On the other hand, there is limited sharing for mental health and chiropractic care. All of the things we need. Not the things we don’t.

When I first heard about the launch of United Refuah, the health share for the Jewish community, I was overjoyed.

“Sign me up!” I thought.

But then I had questions. A lot of questions.

“How could a health share cover large Jewish families? How could it have enough people if we’re a smaller group than Christians? How much will they actually pay? Will it really save money?”

I asked all these questions to Moishe Katz, Director of operations for United Refuah HealthShare, and I was so impressed with every response. United Refuah has already had such a great response during their initial sign up period, that they already have significant membership from 13 states throughout the country. United Refuah will share up to 1 million dollars per medical event, which is gives me a great sense of comfort. Even though health share organizations are not guaranteed by the government, I could not find any report of a health share that ran out of money and couldn’t pay its members medical expenses. The economics work, especially when as a community we are good stewards of each other’s resources and make good choices in care selection while avoiding waste.

There’s no restrictive “network,” so you can use whichever provider you prefer.  

United Refuah also offers complimentary 24 hour access to board certified Doctors via telephone or video conference. This can save a mother a day spent in the doctor’s waiting room or a trip to the ER for non-urgent issues.

As far as our large Jewish families? United Refuah charges just $519 for a family with up to four children, and only $50 per additional child. That made sense to me. I also found it very reasonable.

When I added up all the numbers, it seemed that by joining United Refuah, my family’s medical costs would be cut in HALF.

I’m very excited that the monthly payments I will make towards the United Refuah Health Share will go directly to paying the medical expenses that my family and other Jewish families incur. It sounds like an ideal situation.

Here’s the numbers and information below, so you see if United Refuah works for your family as well. For more information or to sign up, visit https://www.unitedrefuahhs.org/

Get affordable healthcare, right here in our health sharing community. 
United Refuah Healthshare is not insurance, it’s a group of people like you who share one another’s healthcare expenses.

UNITED REFUAH MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM

 

UNITED REFUAH PROGRAM TYPE ACH Payment Non-ACH Payment
SINGLE $219 $229
COUPLE $349 $359
FAMILY

3-6   MEMBERS

($50 MONTHLY FOR EACH ADDITIONAL MEMBER)

$519 $539

 

Annual Membership Dues: At Signup: $125, Recurring thereafter: $75

Annual PreShare Amount (this is similar to a deductible):
$500 for an individual | $1000 for a couple | $1500 for a family

After the Annual Preshare amount is met, member co-share is 20% up to the Maximum Annual Co-Share Amount (this is equivalent to “max out of pocket”):

$2,000 for an individual | $4,000 for a couple | $8,000 for a family

Once the Annual PreShare Amount and Maximum Annual Co-Share Amount have been satisfied, URHS will share 100% of eligible medical costs, with a maximum of $1,000,000 per incident.  An additional unshared pregnancy fee applies. Sharing is limited during first 60 days of membership. All eligible expenses are subject to the sharing guidelines.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Seems like there is a LOT they don’t cover.
    Prescription drugs
    Vaccines
    Contraception

    Are these all “things we don’t need” according to you??

    • Vaccines are covered of course.
      Prescription drugs actually cost much less when you’re part of a health share. Most insurance policies today do not cover prescription drugs before the deductible is met anyway; my previous plan did not. Drugs are often much cheaper when you’re a self-pay customer because you become eligible for “discount codes.” I recently paid $18 for eyedrops that had cost $98 “with insurance.” I’m sure UR can provide more specific details about the discounts available.

  2. I think even with all that there is still a significant savings to make it well worth it. Traditional health insurance is the biggest scam out there. We paid through our noses for insurance and then we had co-pays and co-insurance and a long list of things they did not cover. Here we only get the list of things not covered. No co-pays or co-insurance. Seems like a win win to me.

    Victoria please share the dental plan you found that’s so great. So far we havent found any and are still looking.

    Thank you

    • Haha Mrs. S I think I need to keep the dental plan a secret!

      Right, there’s no co-pays. There is co-insurance but it’s still half of what traditional insurance usually offers.

  3. A post by a medical biller raised some valid issues here.  I was looking out for an honest response to the concerns she posted, but instead you chose to delete her comment. Now THAT makes me suspicious about United Refuah!

    • The medical biller posted the response anonymously and wasn’t referring specifically to United Refuah just to the general idea (Which we couldn’t verify). If you have an specific questions, please ask them in the comments and we can have someone answer them. Or you can call them directly and discuss what’s covered.

  4. Hi,
    I am posting my query below since I think that the answers to these questions can benefit all who are considering United Refuah.
    1. It is concerning that United Refuah does not have any government regulations applying to them with regard to claims determinations.  I have heard that they arbitrarily won’t pay claims and there is nowhere to appeal that.
    2.  Since United Refuah is not an insurance company what happens when one develops a medical condition that requires extensive care? Can they go onto a proper insurance? I have heard that being on united refuah is considered uninsured and thus, as having a “preexisting condition”, one would be unable to get a proper health plan.
    3.  If someone has a medical condition, would United Refuah offer them “coverage” ?
    4.  A quick Google on Liberty Healthshare, which is a similar concept albeit a different company, shows that many individuals have had major problems with reimbursement on that plan.  How will United Refuah be different?

  5. I was invited to ask questions here, and assured they would get addressed. If United Refuah is the ideal solution to all health insurance dilemmas as advertised here, why have none of these questions been answered? These are very real and intelligent concerns and I, as well as all your readers, deserve clarification!

  6. Hi PJ:

    Thank you for your insightful questions.

    Your first question regarding claims determination is a very serious question. United Refuah HealthShare provides three levels of appeal for any dispute in sharing responsibility. First level is our Customer Service supervisors who are empowered to work with members for most issues. Second level is a team of board members of United Refuah HealthShare (URHS is a non-profit organization). The third line of appeal is the Beis Ha’Vaad of Lakewood Medical Halacha division together with their team of experts. We are confident that these methods will lead to a just decision for our members.

    Your second question regarding switching over to a traditional insurance from a HealthShare organization is something you should address with an insurance broker for exact details on acceptance criteria. In general, with current regulations, a person can join a traditional insurance plan – even with a pre-existing condition – during open enrollment or when experiencing a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) such as marriage, birth, or losing a job. Again, please check with an insurance company for specific details.

    As far as joining with a pre-existing condition, United Refuah offers a phase in approach. For the first year of membership, there will not be any sharing for that condition. For the second and third year of membership, sharing for that condition is limited to $25,000. From the fourth year and on, the condition is no longer considered pre-existing.

    United Refuah HealthShare is committed to delivering a great member experience to each one of our members, helping them manage their health and their healthcare expenses.

    I will also mention that United Refuah members have access to Aetna Dental Network with deeply discounted rates at over 200,000 dentists nationwide. Although we don’t share in those expenses, this program make dental care much more affordable.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. You can also call us directly at 440-772-0722

    We look forward to welcoming you and your family as members.

    Thank you!

  7. So what happens if one is pregnant and gives birth prematurely? Who covers the NICU stay which can be 500k or more? Is that considered pre existing if mom was pregnant ? If a serious illness is diagnosed while enrolled in this healthshare i e cancer or a car accident ch”v can members at that point still apply for traditional insurance or are they considered uninsured for a pre existing condition? Please advise .

  8. Is there any referrals of people who have used this service during a incident and came out whole? What information can you provide to reassure me that united refuah will have my back if a health problem occurred. United refuah is a new organization, so before signing up i would like to be reassured.

  9. Hi Diane:

    Thank you for your questions.

    United Refuah HealthShare shares in up to $1,000,000 per eligible medical incident after the first 60 days of membership. This includes NICU charges as well.

    Pregnancy is considered preexisting. As such, a member must have joined at least 10 months prior to their due date in order for the pregnancy and birth costs, as well as the newborns health costs, to be eligible for sharing.

    As far as a serious illness c”v, in which a member would elect to join a traditional insurance plan, membership in a healthshare is not considered uninterrupted coverage. They would have to join the insurance plan during open enrollment or during a special enrollment period which allows issuance of a guaranteed issue policy, even for individuals with serious illnesses. Please check with your insurance broker for exact details regarding this process which we hope no one ever has to do.

    Thank you for your questions,

    United Refuah

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