Involvement in your own health care is good for everyone, says Katy Talento of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries
August 8, 2022
WASHINGTON D.C. — Many American families are finding satisfaction in becoming proactive about their health care as more are choosing a Health Care Sharing Ministry and doctors, surgery centers, health and nutrition coaches, and other health care providers who accept cash payments and commit to achieving certain clinical or wellness outcomes.
Research shows that 75% of health care spending in America is still reactive, but that is changing as more individuals seek empowerment in their health care decisions. The trends clearly favor the growth of proactive health care, as people move to Health Care Sharing Ministries for greater oversight and control of their health care.
“There seems to be a pervasive feeling, and for good reason, that many aspects of our lives are not only out of our control, but in control of someone who doesn’t have our best interests in mind. But we can claw back our own power, and one way is by being proactive about your family’s health care,” said Katy Talento, executive director of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries (The Alliance, ahcsm.org). “There is no better way to take charge of your health care than by joining a Health Care Sharing Ministry and participating in sharing one another’s burdens.”
Since after World War II, American patients have endured a passive, “one size fits all” approach to health care, or the “sick care” model. Today, failures of the sick care approach have become obvious, and a number of people are choosing to be proactive, particularly demographic groups like millennials who have insisted on more control and participation in their health care choices. More people are looking to patient-directed care instead of institution-directed care and are motivated to proactively keep themselves and their families as healthy as possible. The institution-directed approach to care is a passive approach, in which patients come to the “experts” only when they are in a crisis and in a position of vulnerability, and the experts issue orders from a position of greater power and control. Contrast this approach with a proactive, patient-directed approach, whereby patients hire caregivers to deliver what they actually want — which is to stay healthy, energetic and pain-free in the first place.
“We have become all too used to the health care system dictating our health care choices in the direction of its priorities — including the system’s business priorities, not our own health and financial priorities,” said Talento. “That passive mindset still seems to be the majority view. Most of us still don’t ask enough questions about directives from health care providers — how do they know that the advice they’re giving is the best? What does the latest literature suggest? Who paid for those studies? Were those studies on patients in my situation? What are the real risks associated with a recommended treatment and how are those risks effectively studied and weighed over the proposed benefit? How much does the treatment cost compared to other options? Compared to watchful waiting? Compared to nutritional and other behavioral changes?
The past three years have changed how many Americans — especially Christians — view the health care system, and many long-standing assumptions about the supposed benevolence of the system have gone by the wayside. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that the corporate interests in health care are very often in conflict with our faith and, frankly, common sense. One of the best ways to take back our power is to choose a Health Care Sharing Ministry, where members work together to steward the community’s precious health care dollars and commit to living their lives according to biblical principles — including in how we engage with a health care system that is too often organized around unbiblical corporate principles.”
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries is a 501(c)(6) trade organization representing 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, members of the media, and the Christian community to provide accurate and timely information on medical cost sharing.