At Health Choice One, we want you to know that you have more options than you probably realize when it comes to protecting your family’s heath. One alternative to traditional health insurance that you may not know about: Christian health plans. These plans are not traditional health insurance coverage. They are health plans offered by organizations called Christian healthcare ministries. These nonprofit organizations facilitate the sharing of medical expenses among groups of individuals and families who have united to share each other’s medical bills. There are several varieties of these health plans available, depending on your budget and how much coverage you want.

Membership in Christian health plans has grown in recent years due to two important factors. First, health insurance costs are on the rise. People are looking for more affordable alternatives to health insurance and the monthly cost of membership in a healthcare sharing ministry is generally lower than the cost of traditional health insurance. Second, members of Christian healthcare ministries are exempt from the individual insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to have a basic level of health insurance coverage.

While Christian health plans aren’t health insurance, they do have networks of participating doctors and have pre-set benefits and coverage limits, similar to health insurance. An important feature of Christian health plans is that they are not a one-size-fits-all option. These plans are designed in a way to provide members with the right balance of benefits and cost. Which plan is right for you? That depends on how much protection you need. The three levels of coverage to are Basic, Standard and Comprehensive. Here’s how they compare:

Basic. You’re young and healthy but could be financially devastated in the event of a major health problem or accident. The Basic level is essentially catastrophic health coverage. It’s designed to provide peace of mind given the high costs of treating a serious illness or injury. It’s a low-cost way to protect yourself from worst-case medical scenarios. Basic Christian health plans, however, provide no coverage for routine care.

Standard. If you need more than catastrophic coverage but are trying to keep your monthly premiums low, the Standard level of coverage could be a good choice for you. The Standard level includes medical coverage for primary care physician visits, prescriptions, vision and hearing screenings, in- and out-patient procedures, extended hospitalizations, urgent care and emergency room visits, laboratory services, and diagnostic procedures. Even people with pre-existing conditions can get coverage, reaching a doctor through in-person visits or telemedicine. Telemedicine, seeing a doctor remotely via your computer or electronic device, is an important feature offered by Christian health plans.

Comprehensive. The Comprehensive level offers a higher level of benefits than the Standard level. With Comprehensive, members can have benefits such as unlimited doctor’s office and specialist visits, greater pharmacy benefits and better coverage for pre-existing conditions. It’s the highest level of coverage available.

Christian healthcare ministries have been in existence for decades, welcoming new members who can honor a statement of beliefs by which the program operates. If you are looking for a more affordable option to health insurance that is permitted under the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to learn more about Christian health plans. Here are two more reasons why this type of plan could be a good fit for you:

Christian health plans are portable. With nationwide networks of physicians, it’s easy to take your plan with you when you switch jobs or move.

You can enroll anytime during the year. Unlike health insurance, you don’t have to wait until open enrollment to apply.

With affordable coverage levels designed to fit your individual needs and give you the freedom to choose your own doctor, Christian health plans continue to be popular alternatives to traditional health insurance, especially if you’re between open enrollment periods.