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  • Writer's pictureLisa Paul IBCLC

Insurance vs. Health Care Share Ministries

I often get asked if I accept insurance. The easy answer is no, and the more complicated answer is, well, no. Do I bill insurance for my clients? At this point, I do not. I provide a superbill for my services with proper ICD-10 coding in hopes that my client will submit it to her insurance company and get reimbursed. I do not “accept” this as an efficient, friendly way for women to get the support and help they need to breastfeed their baby. It is not fair to them that insurance is so dang complicated and meant to be difficult. I do not “accept” insurance.

For both professional and personal reasons I have considered another model called Health Care Share Ministries. In essence, a monthly fee is paid into the “pot”, and persons that meet the criteria for reimbursement get to apply for some of that pot. There is a biblical basis to this method of health care and usually a statement of faith to belong. Rules for membership may include no smoking, no drinking in excess, and involvement in a church community. While it is not perfect, it does count as “insurance” under the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The following is a list of communities (in no particular order) that provide this type of service. This is not a complete list, however, many of these communities have been around for some time.

While researching the different programs, I did not find lactation as a listed “covered” expense. Some spelled out very specifically what maternity services were part of their model, which in some cases included doulas. While disturbing to me professionally that lactation help was not specifically listed, I am not surprised. Many people don’t even know that IBCLC’s exist and why would anyone need help doing something that is “natural”. As part of this research, I am contacting those who have provider lists and asking for them to include lactation consultants.

If you are already using a health care sharing ministry as "insurance", I am more than willing and able to work with you in this arena. Our current model of insurance coverage is broken, as it doesn't properly support preventative care. I want to be part of a model that focuses on keeping moms and babies well, which it seems is the intention of health care share ministries. Let me support you as you bloom into parenting.

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