Health Insurance Expense Doubled Over Six Years; Americans of Faith Have Found a Different Way, Says Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries
November 1, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Millions of Americans—nearly one in five—are unable to pay for often necessary medical care, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. In fact, medical debt is the largest single cause of bankruptcy in America, the National Consumer Law Center reports.
Over a recent six-year period, medical costs have doubled. Striving to find a better way to handle rising medical costs and obtain price transparency for medical services, more than a million Americans have turned to Health Care Sharing Ministries, according to the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. Since 2019, $1.3 billion of medical expenses have been shared by the members of Health Care Sharing Ministries for care in all 50 states.
American patients are being aided by a new federal requirement for hospitals to disclose costs for services that took effect January 1.
“Price information is usually hidden in health care, and prices can vary – for the same service at the same facility – by orders of magnitude for no discernible reason except for their secrecy,” says Katy Talento, executive director of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. “Uninsured patients, insured patients with high deductibles, and members of Health Care Sharing Ministries have every reason to demand an end to this broken system as they seek medical care.
“As the new regulation requiring hospitals to disclose their once-hidden prices has taken effect, hospital compliance with the new rule is still unacceptably low,” Talento adds. “We call on all hospitals to stop the cover-up and honor their patients’ rights to meaningful price transparency in advance of care.”
Since January 1, 2021, every hospital in the United States has been required to provide clear, accessible pricing information online about items and services they provide in two ways:
- As a comprehensive, machine-readable file with all items and services.
- In a display of shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format.
A recent independent report found that only 1 in 20 hospitals are actually fully compliant with these requirements.
“This information will make it easier for consumers to shop and compare prices across hospitals and estimate the cost of care before going to the hospital,” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is also auditing a sample of hospitals for compliance.
“This kind of commonsense market reform is long overdue,” Talento said. “For far too long, medical costs have been shrouded in secrecy as insurance costs have skyrocketed. It’s one of the reasons why many Americans of faith have turned to Health Care Sharing Ministries, which facilitate sharing costs among their members and help their members negotiate lower bills.”
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries was established as a 501(c)(6) trade organization to represent the common interests of Health Care Sharing Ministry organizations which are facilitating the sharing of health care needs (financial, emotional, and spiritual) by individuals and families, and their participants. The Alliance engages with federal and state regulators and policy makers, members of the media, and the Christian community to provide accurate and timely information on Health Care Sharing Ministries.
To interview a representative from The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.