I took an early retirement, and was using COBRA until I could figure out my health insurance situation. Most companies are required to offer former employees COBRA for 18 months, and not a day longer. My COBRA was scheduled to end on December 17, 2017. I could get Obamacare either starting Dec 1, 2017 or wait until January 1, 2018. The catch was that the Doctor we were seeing at the Mayo Clinic would be out of network with Obamacare. We still had lots of tests we needed to get done at the Mayo Clinic, and wanted to keep COBRA as long as we could. This meant that we had a coverage gap for the balance of December.
No private pay insurance company would underwrite us for the rest of December. And even if they did, we still could not get access to Mayo Clinic. I was running out of options, until I came upon CHM (Christian Health Ministries). Health ministries have been around for a long time, but started gaining popularity when Obamacare became the law of the land. Having a Health Ministry as your insurance satisfies the healthcare mandate at prices that are affordable. In a nutshell, health ministries are a group of Christian people sharing medical costs among members. You can join anytime, and leave anytime. Your acceptance is guaranteed as long as you’re a Christian and a non-smoker. You can go see any doctor you want, there are no restrictions.
As a CHM member, you pay your share, and not a premium. You don’t have a contract, you have a covenant. Terminology is different, but works just like health insurance. You purchase a share for every member of your family for $150/share(for a Gold membership). When you need to see a Doctor, you simply submit your bill to CHM after your visit. CHM asks that each member try to negotiate a discount with the provider. They simply consider this good business, and it’s a common practice in the health care industry. As long as your bills are over $500, CHM will fully pay your bill up to $125,000 per incident. They will cover pre-existing conditions upto $15,000. If your bill is greater than that, CHM will try to reimburse you through their Prayer Page donations. As a member, you can make a voluntary contribution to help pay for additional medical costs for members. You can read more about CHM here