RUSH: Mike in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Open Line Friday, your turn.
CALLER: Hi, Rush.
CALLER: I wanted to talk to you about health care sharing organizations. Not sure if you heard of them before.
RUSH: Health care sharing organizations. I'll bet I have. I just never heard that name. Tell me what they do.
CALLER: Okay. Basically, as a member, if I'm an insurance plan, per se, as a member you pay a premium to your organization, and you become a self-payer with your doctor, and when you get a bill from the hospital for a CAT scan or something like that, or an ambulance trip or an ER visit, whatever it may be, you submit that to the organization, and it then gets paid to you, you basically get reimbursed for paying out of pocket is how it works essentially. And there's a premium every month. I was looking to a particular one that was about $280 a month for a family, no matter what size, and I think $90 for an individual, and anything over $300 for this particular one was considered a submitable expense. And one thing that I found out because I signed up for a newsletter from them, to get more information about it because I was interested in it for my family, they were saying that they were, after the health care bill had passed, they were saying that they were exempt from all of the restrictions and legislation that was imposed on insurance companies, they were exempt from all of that, and it just kind of piqued my interest. I don't know too much about them other than one particular organization I was looking into, and a couple of other people that I respect in different organizations have talked about these health care sharing things, and it just piqued my interest, and it would seem to be mostly major medical, things over $300, because doctor's visits aren't even that much. But I was wondering if you had heard of them or wanted to look into them. It just really piqued my interest considering they weren't under any of the restrictions imposed by the new legislation.
RUSH: I haven't heard that. This is the first I've heard of this, and I still don't understand how it works after you described it. Are the members of the health sharing organization doctors or patients?
CALLER: No, no, it's just regular people. I mean just patient, the person.
RUSH: Regular people.
CALLER: Right. Made up of a group of people in this organization --
RUSH: Are you in one, did you say, or you're thinking about it?
CALLER: No, no. I was looking into one for my family.
RUSH: The one you're looking into, how many members are in it? I'm trying to understand the math of how you only pay 90 bucks or 300 bucks, how this all works out. From what pile of money do you get reimbursed?
CALLER: From the pile of all the premiums that are being paid into the organization by all of the members. They have additional plans you can sign up for, there's a basic one you can sign up for that's like basic major medical for anything over $300 up to a certain dollar amount and then you can sign up for another plan that covers things over $50,000 which would be, you know, for heart transplants or major surgeries like that. And it's for people who don't want to buy insurance but want health coverage --
RUSH: Well, you're using the word premium. Somebody's buying insurance.
CALLER: No, no. You're paying like a membership dues. I guess I shouldn't use the word premium.
CALLER: You're paying a membership dues, I guess you could call it, to the organization --
RUSH: You know what this --
CALLER: What they do is each month they tell you where to send your payment to. They don't actually touch the money, they don't distribute the money. You send your payment to a person whose filing a claim.
RUSH: So you're sending your money to a fellow member of the club?
CALLER: Well, I guess so. I mean I don't want to misrepresent them because I'm going off of what I read in a 30 page PDF from their website.
CALLER: But that's why I'm just saying it really piqued my interest as far as taking a load off of me because my health insurance is about $350 a month from my employer plus, you know, all the deductibles and copays and whatever else I have to pay.
RUSH: Well, I can see why it piques your interest.
CALLER: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And, you know, like I said, it's not insurance, you become a self-payer, there's no deductible per se when you have a medical expense.
RUSH: Well, you say you become a self-payer and you get fully reimbursed?
CALLER: Well, from the doctor's perspective, from the doctor's --
RUSH: Yeah, you go to the doctor, you get a CAT scan, the CAT scan costs whatever, 150 bucks, you pay the doctor the 150 bucks, and then somebody in the club sends you 150 bucks?
CALLER: Well, what you do is you then take the bill from the doctor -- I'm not sure if you pay it first -- I don't know how all that works but I know you take the bill from your doctor, you submit it to your organization and then you receive whatever the amount was of the bill in the mail.
RUSH: Well, this is magic. You know what this reminds me of? This reminds me of these -- and I've always thought they were scams. I'm not saying this is.
CALLER: Well, this is a Christian organization, so I don't think it is.
RUSH: Well, I --
CALLER: It's being promoted by a very trustworthy Christian organization.
RUSH: Look, I once got ripped off a thousand dollars by an auto mechanic that had a plastic Jesus on the cash register.
CALLER: Well, this is a little bit different, Rush.
RUSH: Well, I understand but what this reminds me of is -- that's a true story, Snerdley. Guy told me the car needed a part, he invented a word, disgronificator, 800 bucks, car wouldn't drive without it he said, plastic Jesus on the cash register. There's all these buying clubs, you know, you pay a membership fee, and you and you alone, all the other members have access to the store where supposedly you are getting wholesale prices. But you still gotta pay the membership fee. You'd get an invitation in the mail, and if you had a wife you were dead certain to go. So you went and they wouldn't let you outta there 'til you signed on the dotted line. I barely got out of there with my checkbook intact. This is when I lived in Kansas City. I don't know that that's what this is, I am not trying to say that, I don't have enough information even after hearing you describe it to be critical of this. But don't worry, because our research team, I, (laughing) I'm going to find out about these now, and I want you to know how lucky you are here because most hosts would have been totally afraid to tell you they never heard of it and didn't know anything about it, and they woulda lied and made it sound like they knew everything about it, and you'd run outta there more confused than ever. I, El Rushbo, am confident enough in who I am to tell you, if I don't know it, I don't know it, because it doesn't happen much.