Healthcare is a BIG topic of discussion among my fellow RV Travelers
Like many Americans, I was not really dialed into my health insurance coverage UNTIL I needed it. Frankly, my choice a few years ago to go with Medishare, a Christian Health Sharing Ministry was largely based upon the fact that it was FAR cheaper than ANY other alternative. Little did I know that when I really needed the coverage, I had made an outstanding choice!
Allow me to state at the outset, that while I’m an experienced traveler who has extensive experience in the RV (camper) industry, I’m NO expert on healthcare! That said, having experienced two significant medical events this year, I’ve learned alot – and let’s just say “my eyes have been opened – WIDE open.”
About Medishare – the medical coverage I selected…
Medishare is not actually insurance. It’s one of the companies that offer “health sharing”, kind of like a co-op program where each member contributes and when individual members have a need (aka – medical bills), the program administrators share the funds to pay their medical bills. Medishare itself is actually a Christian Ministry and there are requirements for joining and participating in their program. Medishare IS a great choice for RV travelers as you’ll see by reading on as there is access to affordable medical care in ALL states as you travel.
Medical “events” in my life in 2019 put Medishare to the test
I became a Medishare member back when Obamacare had the penalty for not having coverage and their program qualified for avoiding the penalty. Again, my Medishare fees are FAR LESS than anything I’d pay in the “regular” insurance market.
Fast forward to February 2019. I had been a Medishare member for approximately 4 years. One morning in February 2019, I had a “medical event” while skiing – a heart attack. As heart attacks go, it was more of a wake-up call than a life-limiting event. I spent two nights in the hospital and received 2 stents in my heart. Twelve hours after the procedure I was released and 5 days later, I was back on the ski slopes!
I was fortunate, truly fortunate, despite a 100% blockage in my circumflex artery (and 95% in a tributary), I suffered no permanent heart damage and have no limits on my activity level (and I’m an active person.) BUT… I was left with well over $150,000. in bills from multiple sources (providers) – and with a $10,000. deductible, that was a big “ouch.” I did start a go-fund-me page to honestly ask for help with meeting my deductible, as I was unsure as to how everything was going to play out.
As luck would have it, I was camping about 7 weeks after the heart attack in Tough Creek Campground near Shoshoni, Wyoming. It was a windy evening, I stepped out of my camper, the door swung in the wind and I lost my footing. The resulting fall caused me to put a gash in the back of my head. I drove myself to the nearest ER (it was a Sunday evening and there were NO other options.) Ninety minutes and two staples in my head later, I was facing another $7000. in medical bills.
How Medishare made a difference with the bills I was facing…
Here’s where the rubber hits the road – it DOES matter who your medical coverage is with. First and foremost, I’ve found ALL the Medishare representatives I’ve spoken with over the past 9 months to be KIND. This may sound insignificant, especially from someone with hardened skin from New Jersey, but knowing I can speak with a representative who is not only kind, but GENUINE and will follow through on the promises they make is VERY important to me.
With Medishare, there is a “shared goal” between the member (like me) and the administrators (of Medishare) – that goal is to minimize the bills (through negotiation) to enable the member’s monthly contributions to go farther. It’s a goal I had no problem buying into. This was the case with my one “big bill” – my hospital bill from the heart attack was over $135,000. itself.
To assist Medishare in reducing this bill, I was asked to be patient and was asked by the hospital to submit a financial statement. I was fine with both requests. Ultimately, the bill was reduced by about 40%.
Some things that proved to be even more tangible to me and my wallet…
Medishare made working with the bills from my medical providers as painless as possible, especially as an RV traveler – here’s specifically how…
Medishare belongs to the PHCS Nationwide Discount Network
Medishare uses the PHCS network which has many medical providers NATIONWIDE who accept the negotiated discounts through the PHCS network.
This means that you and I have access to a wide variety of physicians, surgeons, and hospitals nationwide, all of whom accept the reduced fee schedule provided by the PHCS network.
Medishare allows you to use any provider in the event of an emergency – and negotiates for you AND has your back!
In the case of an emergency (as in my two medical events this year), Medishare knows you’re not going to “shop” for a hospital or doctor who is in the PHCS network. In that case, after you seek help, gain treatment and receive the bill, if the provider is NOT in the PHCS network, Medishare will first try to negotiate with the provider using something called “data isight” that sets “usual and customary” fees.
For example, let’s say a medical provider sends you a bill for $2000. for medical services. If they’re in PHCS, the fee is reduced per a set schedule and the provider is paid (after you meet your annual deductible) directly by Medishare.
If the medical provider is NOT part of PHCS, Medishare tries to negotiate with the provider using data-isight as a means to establish a fair fee – let’s say for the sake of argument that fee is $1400.
The medical service provider has the option to accept or reject Medishare’s offer of 1400. If and WHEN they reject the offer, as several medical providers did in my cases, Medishare truly steps up and takes the difference (in my example here, $600.) and treats it as monies THEY pay on your behalf – in effect reducing the bill to you as if the provider was accepting the discount. So, if you’ve already reached your annual deductible (not a tough task if you have a significant medical event these days), they simply pay the 600. to the provider and then only the 1400. is your responsibility – either to be paid by you directly if your annual deductible has not been met or to be paid by Medishare if it has.
Additional Medishare Services – Telemedicine and Discounted Vision – Dental…
Medishare includes as part of your membership access to a discount dental and vision program (at no additional cost to you). They also offer FREE video or phone conferences with a qualified medical doctor who is authorized the practice medicine in the state you’re currently located within (even if its only for a few days!)
This has been a GREAT service that I’ve personally used a few times now with a few minor skin conditions where I needed an M.D. to see it, and if deemed appropriate prescribe something for it (which can then be obtained at a local pharmacy) – or provide further professional advice. This is a POWERFUL service for ALL travelers.
If you’re considering joining Medishare…
I’m writing this review of Medishare at this time because I can now clearly recommend them to you after seeing “proof in performance” as they helped me work through the bills from my medical “events.”
I ask you use my referral link HERE and if you elect to call them instead of proceeding online, please do use my name (Alan Sills) and tell them I referred you.
I’d also like to dial you into a VERY powerful book that empowered me to further negotiate my bills with medical service providers AFTER Medishare did all their work – reducing my bills and then paying them (after I met my deductible with them.) This book is called “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care–and How to Fix It” – if you click HERE, you’ll find the best price for it.
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