Healthcare Is New Horizon for Sharing Economy

Medi-Share Reports Membership Surge as Sharing Is on the Rise in America

In recent years, Americans have opened their homes, cars and money to strangers, realizing that sharing is a better way for affordable vacations, transportation and fundraising. Recent research reports that 72 percent of Americans have used some type of shared or on-demand online service. This trend shows no signs of slowing down; in fact, healthcare-sharing program Medi-Share reports more than 44,000 new members in January 2017 alone.

"Medi-Share is a like-minded community that often saves people significant money on their healthcare costs," said Ted Squires, CEO. "While Medi-Share is not for everyone, our growth tells us that many people are interested in flexible options that empower them in their healthcare choices."

Healthcare-sharing program members directly share each other's medical bills, giving them more freedom in their healthcare options, often at a much more affordable cost than health insurance. Medi-Share facilitates the direct sharing of medical costs between members so they can support fellow members rather than a for-profit company.

Pew Research Center conducted research on sharing and crowdfunding, finding that "these services are often premised on removing the friction, hassle and inconvenience from users' everyday lives." Many Medi-Share members have found that to be their experience. Christians voluntarily and directly share financial resources to pay one another's medical expenses.

While Medi-Share is not health insurance—neither the program nor its members have a legal obligation to pay another member's medical expenses—members have shared more than $1 billion of one another's medical expenses since the program's inception in 1993. And, because of access to a large network of more than 700,000 healthcare providers, members have saved an additional $587 million in medical costs during that time.

Members of healthcare-sharing programs like Medi-Share do not have to pay the individual tax penalty for not having insurance. Rather, Medi-Share members have a special exemption listed in the Affordable Care Act.

Medi-Share currently has more than 266,000 members.