Sharing health-care costs, carrying each other’s burdens

Here’s an interesting way to go about health-care coverage:

Rebecca Gertner believes her faith will help pay the medical bills. That’s why every phone call with her health care representative ends the same.

“We pray to remember that God is in control and not to worry about the bills,” Gertner said.

Gertner signed up with Medi-Share, part of Christian Care Ministry in Florida, and one of several faith-based health care sharing ministries across the country. Bill sharing, they believe, is rooted in scripture such as Galatians 6:2. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the laws of Christ.”

Gertner lives in Sacramento, Calif., with her husband, Luke, a pastor at Hillsdale Boulevard Baptist Church, and she home schools their three children. Their small evangelical congregation does not offer employees health insurance.

So she asked friends and family about their coverage. Her mother-in-law told her about a plan where members share medical costs and religious beliefs.

An estimated 100,000 people across the country belong to these ministries, according to industry experts. While small, it’s a growing alternative to traditional health care insurance.

Promoted at churches and on TV, health care sharing programs have been around for decades and are more common in the South.

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