Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Defending Our Conscience

Defending Our Conscience

          Most Catholics find themselves in a very difficult position due to Mr. Obama’s HHS mandate requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs.  One Catholic company, Hercules Industries, has won a court injunction, but the administration is now appealing it.
          We are being persecuted by our President in an unprecedented way, and many of us refuse to sit back and take it.  Working at a Catholic school, the options I will face next year are either not being offered insurance, or the actual shut-down of the school, resulting in losing my job.  Either way, I will be at the mercy of the President’s individual mandate, which will require me to violate my conscience or face crippling fines.  Our greatest hope, of course, is Obama’s defeat this November.  However, Catholics are fighting back in another way as well, by providing an ethical alternative to those of us unwilling to cow to the President’s bullying.
          The past two years my health insurance premiums have gone through the roof.  Last year, tired of rising health costs causing me to go backwards every year financially, I decided to consider opting out of my employer’s health plan and searching for alternatives.  Obamacare’s individual mandate makes that particularly difficult, but I did find an option that I hoped would be a solution: a medical sharing plan.
          Medical sharing plans are not insurance, but they are a pool of people who pay into a shared pot, which is then disbursed to members with medical expenses, to pay for their costs.  Ultimately, such plans feel like insurance in that you pay a monthly premium and then submit a claim when you have an expense.
          There are many benefits to such plans.  Often, they are cheaper than actual insurance.  They are generally Christian companies and operate with Christian principles.  Many doctors are familiar with medical sharing plans and will accept patients who have them.  In fact, because it works like private pay, with lower overhead and hassle, sometimes care will be offered at a discount.  There is also usually an opportunity for families to provide extra funds specifically set aside for the needs of the poor.
          These plans do have their limitations as well.  It is imperative that a person planning on participating find out what is and is not covered.  There is more leg work involved because the member generally must submit his own claim.  And there are doctors who may be a little gun shy, especially with the new regulations associated with Obamacare.
          There were two reasons my family opted not to participate in a medical sharing plan last year.  The first was the needs of one of our sons which would not be covered, and out of pocket would cost us more than our regular insurance.  Second, most of these plans require members to sign a “statement of faith,” and all but one were specifically Protestant.
          However, the stakes have been raised by the HHS mandate, and a solution may be on the horizon. 
          Solidarity Health Share is a medical sharing plan based on Catholic principles.  There will be no Protestant statement of faith and it will not bow to the President’s demands.  The company is still being formed and hopes to begin operations early in 2013.  At the web site, you can sign up for updates on the progress and even donate to the financial needs of creating the company.
          The plan promises to cover pre-existing conditions, as well as maternity, and aims to be less expensive than traditional insurance.  Also, it is currently working out the legalities of ensuring that it does not fall under the requirements of the HHS mandate, but does fulfill Obamacare’s individual mandate.  Developments are certainly worth keeping a close eye on.
          In this time of persecution, this type of defiance and creativity is what we need.  We need to pour our talents and energy into developing opportunities for Catholics to live authentic lives of faith in an anti-Catholic culture.  Please carefully research and support Solidarity Health Share.  And let’s pray for a return to sanity in our government and in our culture.