Ep 149: Close up: Trinity Health Share - Self employed insurance alternative


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When my leap day comes, insurance will be critical. And insurance may be keeping you tethered to your 9-to-5, but the reality is there are some affordable options. In episode 122, I talk about losing the fear that I would shell out thousands per month by uncovering new self-employed insurance options. Today, I'm diving deeper into a particular company I learned of from a current mentor, Trinity Health Share. Let's see what this health insurance alternative is all about.



In this episode, we'll talk about...

  • The difference in health insurance and a health insurance alternative

  • The details of how Trinity Health Share Works

  • What you might expect being in a health share from a monthly cost perspective


So I learned about Trinity Health Share from a mentor of mine and she actually told me about it after she listened to my episode 122. She was telling me about some of the things that she was going through with a Trinity health share. She's completely self-employed and one of the things I remember her saying is "The only thing I hate is, I hated that I have to switch. I had to switch all of my doctors when I first got into the program" but she's like, "I want you to check this one out, just learn a little bit more about it."



So I went and I dug a little bit deeper here to see what I could uncover about Trinity health share. Now Trinity health share, when you go to their home page, which is Trinityhealthshare.org, you'll see on that page they really have four overall program types. There is the Everyday program. There's a Comprehensive program, there's the Catastrophic program, and then there's the Interim program and you'll also see some varying cost. And I'm telling you, when I first looked at it, I thought, "Oh, these are really good prices." It just made me want to dig a little bit deeper. So for the everyday program, the prices starting at $173 a month. For the comprehensive, it starts at $261 a month. For the Catastrophic, it starts at $105 a month. And for the Interim, it starts at $91 a month. So that's just the starting point. Within each of these programs, they're like some sub-components kind of Ala carte. You can pick and choose a menu of different options within them. So basically with this health share, it is not health insurance, it is a health insurance alternative. So unlike health insurance where you have coverages for certain things, this health insurance alternative is really more of a program that helps you better and effectively manage your dollars that you would contribute towards healthcare and brings you together in a community of people who can also help share that cost. So it lowers the cost by really optimizing how things work from a healthcare perspective.



Now there are some basic components that Trinity health share has. So no matter what program you're maneuvering around, there are some different components. The first one is a consult fee. The other one is something called an MSRA which stands for Member Shared Responsibility Amount. And then the last one I'd say is the monthly contribution. So these three things are core to any of their programs. Now let me read to you a little bit about their sharing process, which I find interesting.



I would say it isn't completely satisfying for me yet though. I still have a few questions about how this sharing exactly transpires, but they have outlined their sharing process like this. There are five steps to it.


The first one members contribute.

So every month, members send in these voluntary contributions to Trinity health share and I am assuming that those contributions are similar to what I read earlier about their programs. $173 for the everyday program, $261, etc. That's my assumption.


The second part of the process is you get to visit network doctors

Members schedule appointments with participating in-network providers and they make sure that their services are eligible for sharing.


The third piece is that doctors submit bills and they sit

They submit their bills electronically to Trinity health share directly or any administrator that they're using for eligibility review.


The fourth step in the process is members share bills and here's where it gets kind of interesting.

Members contribute towards all medical expenses from their share boxes via the secure online accounts.


Now the fifth step is payments are actually sent to the providers, so the doctors and hospitals, they're reimbursed for whatever shareable amount was eligible under the member's program.



So this sounds super, super interesting and it sounds sleek. It sounds like something that I want to participate in when I go that self-employed route. I'm very curious though, how this members sharing piece works because there's a lot of talk with Trinity health share. And the same was true for Christian Health Ministries, which I talk about in episode 122. There's a lot of talks around the cost-sharing being very voluntary or there's just some very soft language around members being good stewards and you know, taking care of their expenses first before asking other members to pay.




I don't hear a lot of concrete languages that says you must do this before you do that type of thing. But it's interesting nonetheless. So they've got a five-step member sharing process. And when I talked about those three components that appear to be core to all of their programs, the consult fees, the MSRA and the monthly contributions, the way these work and a little bit of an example. So if you were enrolled in a particular program that had a primary care included with it, you might go to the doctor, whatever doctor is in-network and you could pay let's say either $50 $35 or $20 and that by the way is a real representation of a consult fee for one of their programs. So you would pay that, it almost sounds like a copay to the doctor. You would still be making your monthly contributions, which kind of sound like premiums then you would have this MSRA, that member shared responsibility amount.



Essentially I would almost think about that like a deductible is what it kinda sounds like. Basically, you've got a bill in from your provider and let's say that the bill is $400 and your MSRA or your member shared responsibility amount, let's say is $1,000. It essentially means that you would pay that $400 bill and anything up to that $1,000 before you reached out to the other members saying, "Hey, I need you guys to help me pay this bill." So very, very, very interesting. And in some cases, depending on the program that you're with, some things are included in your contributions. Like wellness visits and some programs are considered included in your contributions, they highly leverage telemedicine. So instead of going in to see a doctor utilizing the internet and having 24/7, 365 days a year, access to a health care provider, those types of things may be included within your program.



So overall, Trinity Health Share sounds fairly interesting. It sounds similar though to Christian Health Ministries and probably to most of the other healthcare providers that are out there. And I haven't got a chance to really sit down and do my research on all of them. But it is a good alternative and it is something to check out, especially if you're worried about health insurance premiums and affordability and that type of thing once you go the self-employed route. So take this information as always, take some action on it. Go do a little research on your own, whatever works for you.


Insurance may be keeping you tethered to your 9-to-5, but the reality is there are some affordable options. (Click to tweet)

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