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Three Plans You Can Have Faith In

At a time when the economy is unstable and many businesses and even banks are struggling to stay afloat, families face equal uncertainty ensuring their health care needs are met and paid for.

It's not enough to expect employer-provider insurance to come through in a pinch, and often the price of premiums is just too high.

Many people choose instead to count on the church. Some faith-based organizations, primarily Christian groups, are finding ways to help people pay for medical services.

Split Your Costs with Your Community

Some programs, called medical bill-sharing programs, allow members of a church to collectively fund their health care. Medical bills of all participants are submitted, tallied and divided between all members. Successful plans have tens of thousands of participants and cover millions of dollars in bills each year. Households often pay a fraction of what they might otherwise.

Church-supported Insurance Policies

Some churches, including the Catholic Church, are taking a more traditional route to making sure parishioners have coverage. Many have their own insurance plans with premiums and deductibles. The difference is that coverage is not provided for medical services not approved by the church. Members can be certain they're not paying for abortions or other procedures that aren't in line with religious teachings. Some programs are so successful they've been extended to the private sector, even covering federal employees.

Ministry Health Savings Accounts

Many faith-based organizations also have set up programs to help members simply set aside money to pay for skyrocketing health costs. Churches cover administrative costs of the savings plans, help with financing and tax issues and offer investment advice that again helps participants make choices based on moral and ethical standards.

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