Health insurance is great for specific purposes, mainly to protect an individual or family from great financial loss due to a health issue. However, it has increasingly become more expensive in the U.S., which makes it difficult for every individual’s situation. Many freelancers, people in between jobs, and employed individuals all are looking for other options. In this article, we’ll look at the best alternatives to traditional health insurance.
One of the most revolutionary alternatives to health insurance is Mira. With a Mira membership, you can get access to same-day urgent care visits, virtual care, lab testing, and save up to 80% on your prescriptions. Sign up today and get the coverage you’ve been going without.
Best Alternatives to Health Insurance
What it is
|Care Memberships||Individuals pay a monthly fee for access to needed care. No deductibles but you will pay a copay.||Those wanting to pay an affordable amount per visit, instead of large monthly premiums.|
|Medical Cost Sharing||Programs, typically with a christian-based theme, where everyone pays a monthly amount into a pool that pays for the health care costs of its members.||Religious individuals that can afford regular health insurance but want better coverage for the monthly price.|
|Discount Cards||A program that gives you access to shared savings across large networks of providers.||Individuals that have no coverage and can’t afford any regular coverage.|
|Indemnity Insurance||An alternative insurance that pays out certain amounts of money based on the health care services received, regardless of the actual cost.||Individuals that don’t anticipate needing many health care services in the next year but who do need all preventative work.|
|Paying Out of Pocket||The individual just pays for all health care costs, as they are incurred.||This is a very risky option that isn’t recommended for anyone.|
The best alternative to traditional health insurance is going to depend a great deal on your personal situation. For example, a middle-aged individual who owns a home and has children will have much different needs than a 20-year-old single person who is renting an apartment. You need to assess all of the pros and cons and how they related to you in order to choose the right alternative.
1. Care Membership: Best Alternative to Health Insurance
A care membership is where an individual gets access to care for a monthly fee. These memberships come in a few different forms and are offered by a few large primary care providers with the membership being exclusive to their own facilities. Mira offers a revolutionary care membership program where you can get access to urgent care centers and lab testing all over the country, as well as up to 80% savings on prescriptions.
Who a Care Membership is Right For
Care memberships are right for the majority of people who are looking for an alternative to traditional health insurance. These memberships are more affordable and can provide the basic health care that is needed for many people across the country. This option is not a good fit for people who are worried about covering any potential emergency room visits or catastrophic events.
Care Membership Costs
The costs of care memberships can vary greatly by a primary care provider if you go directly. You can get access to a Mira membership for $45 per month and then pay an additional cost for many services, which would be more affordable than going direct. You can sign up for Mira and get access to an urgent care visit the same day.
2. Medical Cost Sharing Program: Best for Catastrophic Needs
A medical cost-sharing program is a group of individuals that pay into a fund that pays the medical costs of all members. Essentially, everyone is paying something that is similar to premiums on traditional health insurance and then they get reimbursed for health care costs from the fund. Anyone who needs health care is sharing the cost with all other members who pay into the fund and are a part of the program, hence how it gets its name. Many cost-sharing programs have a religious focus.
Who a Medical Cost Sharing Program is Right For
Medical cost-sharing programs are a good fit for those who don’t mind religious affiliations and are open to being reimbursed for expensive health care costs. Not all costs are shared under these programs so it’s important that you dive into the details and figure out what services are actually covered to see if it’s right for you.
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Medical Cost Sharing Program Costs
The costs vary by program, but you can pay as much as $1,000 per month for a family. Most members end up paying $300 - $700 per month, which is very similar to many traditional health insurance plan premiums. Additionally, there is an unshared portion that you’ll have to pay, which could be between $1,000 and $5,000 per family every year. This would make the costs of these programs to be similar to many catastrophic health insurance plans.
3. Discount Cards: Best for Supplemental Needs
Discount cards give you access to large discounts on medical treatment or access to discounts on prescriptions. Most of the services you can get access to with discount cards are not what you would consider to be primary care. Instead, you get discounts on chiropractic care, dentistry, and prescriptions. Depending on the card and the service, you could save up to 80% on the cost of care, but this is used best as a supplement to other coverage.
In fact, Mira offers a discount card, so to speak, to all members for prescriptions. This is absolutely free for members and is included in the membership fee that covers urgent care visits and lab testing. Our members save up to 80% on prescriptions every day. Sign up today and start saving.
Who Discount Cards are Right For
Discount cards are right for individuals that have a primary care option already and are looking to supplement their coverage with large discounts. For example, discount cards can help individuals with catastrophic insurance plans save and it can help those with indemnity insurance plans save on their out-of-pocket costs.
Discount Card Costs
Discount cards are pretty affordable, as they don’t typically give you access to primary care or lab testing. You can expect to pay between $10 and $20 per month for access to the shared savings across the card’s network of providers.
4. Indemnity Insurance: Best for Those Only Getting Preventative Care
Indemnity insurance is a supplemental insurance program that pays out specific amounts every time you get a specific health care service. For example, if your plan pays out $50 every time you go to your primary care doctor and you visit the doctor three times in the month, the plan will pay you $150 towards whatever the costs of those visits were. You will be on the hook to pay the costs of your visits directly with the facility you get services from and the insurance plan will then pay you to help contribute to those costs.
Who Indemnity Insurance Plans are Right For
Indemnity insurance is typically used as a supplement to another health coverage option and can be right for anyone who regularly gets preventative health treatment. If you have a regular insurance plan where your preventative care is included for your monthly premium then you’ll just get a check from your indemnity plan every time you get something checked. This can be beneficial to use for other care costs. Indemnity plans can carry an expensive monthly premium payment, so it’s important that you’re using it frequently to make it worth the price.
Virtual care for only $25 per visit
Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.
Indemnity Insurance Costs
A full-coverage indemnity insurance plan is going to be just as expensive as a traditional health insurance plan. You can get some plans that will only cover certain things, like payments for hospital stays related to an accident or a plan that pays out if you get cancer treatments. However, a regular indemnity plan can cost a family more than $1,000 per month.
5. Paying Out of Pocket: Best for the Wealthy & Low Risk
Paying out of pocket means that you’re taking the risk that not much will happen to you or your family. You’ll be on the hook to pay for every single medical expense that you incur, without a limit. This means that whether you’re going to the doctor for your child’s yearly checkup, which is preventative care, or you’re in the hospital from a bad accident - you’re paying the bill. The only benefit to this method is that if you pay it all upfront then your provider will typically give you a discount on the total cost of care.
Who Paying Out of Pocket is Right For
The only people this method is good for are the wealthy who don’t incur many typical health expenses. That makes the risk very low of them paying more in medical expenses than they would pay in monthly premiums for health coverage. At the very least, even people in this category should have either a catastrophic plan or a care membership so that their risk can be reduced.
Paying Out of Pocket Costs
The costs of paying out of pocket are all of the costs of care. The total costs will depend on how much health care you and your family receive, but it could be as high as tens of thousands of dollars per year if you have hospital stays. If you only end up visiting your primary care provider in a year then you actually could end up spending less than the monthly premiums of a gold standard plan.
Alternatives to traditional health insurance can be beneficial to many individuals, such as the unemployed, who either can only afford a catastrophic insurance plan or who would go without health care if their only option was traditional insurance. The costs to alternatives are typically much less than traditional insurance but you have to make sure that the option you choose matches up with your specific needs, and that it covers your potential risk.
A care membership through Mira is the best alternative option to traditional insurance. With a membership, you can get access to affordable office visits, lab testing, and you can save up to 80% on all of your prescriptions. Sign up for an account today and get started.
Before joining Mira, Jeff was the Vice President of Marketing at Clipboard Health, a healthcare staffing tech company, where he led marketing and acquisition. At Clipboard, Jeff was able to help the company achieve 12 straight months of top-of-funnel growth and 10 straight months of revenue growth. Prior to Clipboard Health, Jeff was General Manager at FitSmallBusiness.com, an online publication dedicated to helping small business owners. He has been featured in publications such as The Week, Forbes, USNews, CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, The Street, Investopedia, Cosmopolitan, and more.