What happens when you take Go Fund Me and put it into an ecosystem of likeminded folks who want to build a community to care for each other’s health care expenses? You get Crowd Health which draws upon some of the concepts of crowd funding for one time health care expenses within its community. By taking people from all over the country and putting them into a community where there are expectations of caring for others, Crowd Health offers a solution to paying for health care expenses without breaking the bank.
Is Crowd Health Insurance?
If you’ve been paying attention to the US health care space for the last, well, forever, then you know that it is expensive and keeps getting more so. People stay at jobs they don’t like just to keep their health care coverage which is often not very good anyway. However, for those who are self employed or with a very small business, it seems their only option is to go out onto the open ACA exchange and grab a lousy and expensive plan that hardly covers anything.
Crowd Health offers an alternative to paying for health insurance. Although it definitely isn’t insurance since you are asked to pay into your own bank account each month to be prepared to pay others’ health expenses. There is also no guarantee that your expenses will be paid as you often have with a traditional insurance policy. However, oftentimes even with traditional insurance you don’t get everything covered and have to cover up to the deductible and everything over until you hit your out of pocket maximum. And that’s before considering the inflated prices paid by insurance companies.
Is Crowd Health a Health Sharing Ministry?
The answer to this question is more complicated. In short, yes and no. We discussed sharing ministries in my previous ventures with Samaritans and an episode with Liberty Health Share. Basically, in a sharing ministry you send your monthly ‘premium’ to someone in the community. If you have a health expense, you submit a claim after you pay the bill and people will then mail you checks to cover the expense. The down side of this process is that the delay to getting paid can be fairly long (months) meaning you will have to have the funds to cover the bill that might be fairly large. And people don’t often have that much money sitting around in the bank.
How Does Crowd Health Work?
CEO Andy Schoonover describes the fairly simple mechanics of Crowd Health. You take a group of like minded people who want an alternative to the traditional way of paying for health care. Then you have them commit to contribute a small amount to run the overhead of the community which helps pay for the technology and people tasked with negotiating with local hospitals, etc. and assisting patients with their navigation through the health care space. Community members pay the first $500 of a health care event and then request the community fund the remaining amount. Each community member then has the option of helping out or not. Each member carries a social credit score determined by how often they ‘help’, ask for help, or shop around for less expensive health care options.