This is a great concept. There may be some technical issues as to why they say it’s not “insurance”, but it’s the very concept of what insurance is, a shared risk pool where members each pay in a set amount, and those with claims are reimbursed from that pool.
I am not an insurance professional but I’ve been involved with shopping for and managing commercial insurance policies, as well as serving as the employee benefits manager in a previous job. For two and a half years 2000 - 2003 I sat on the insurance committee for the Diocese of Spokane, WA.
Many do not know that the U.S. Catholic Bishops own and operate their own property insurance company called Catholic Mutual (founded in 1889), headquartered in Omaha, NE. The bishops had (back when I was on the diocesan committee) asked the insurance professionals employed by Catholic Mutual to explore adding health coverage to the portfolio of products. One thing to remember is that until the federal Affordable Care Act, ALL insurance issues and regulations were exclusively handled by each individual state. The report back from Catholic Mutual was that while property / casualty insurance regulations were fairly uniform across the states, and it was possible, with a small amount of tweaking, to offer a product in all states, health insurance was another issue altogether. I’ve wondered if some of the provisions of the ACA providing more uniformity in health plans, and the regional exchanges, might not make offering a nation wide Catholic Plan more feasible.
Back to the “healthshare”: Yes, I can understand the difference between a non-profit group that “administers” a voluntary escrow account and traditional health insurance, but in the broad sense, applying the “duck test”, it’s close to the same concept.
I wonder how long they'll last before big gov shuts them down. A doctor in NJ or NY set something up a little similar. NY shut him down because he wasn't charging enough. It was in the news.
One assumes that these people have done their homework (and this is probable why they don’t call it “insurance”, to get around some regs). As for James02’s example, while no details are provided, one can speculate as to some. Typically a state’s insurance commission or the consumer protection division of a state’s attorney general’s office work to ensure that insurance or other kinds of plans are adequately capitalized: i.e. if one has been paying in their share over the years will there be adequate funds to cover them when they have a claim. That may have been the case here.
In reply to johnbhorton’s comments, I don’t know if there are differences in other states but in WA medical and dental coverage has always been totally separate. While I have dental coverage at the moment (the plan pays totally for two annual exams and teeth cleaning, about 80% for a standard filling, and about 50% for everything else ~I had a four tooth bridge put in last winter and my out of pocket was $1,900. I have not had dental insurance coverage for most of life (I’ve always carried medical insurance, for many years at my own expense though I have employer provided coverage now). My experience has been that if you have a good Catholic dentist who is a fellow parishioner, they may moderate the cost according to your income, and will let you make payments. Tim once shared a similar experience regarding a medical doctor, but I’m thinking it is a more common arrangement with dentists.
I like the general concept but it will be interesting to see how they handle some of the “details”. Like, what if a family signs up and a member has a history of cancer, or they have a Downs Syndrome or spina bifida child. Will they be able to adequately capitalize to cover these costs while keeping contributions affordable, or will they have to start “rationing” care?