How Does Faith-Based Healthcare Work?

 Unlike traditional health insurance coverage, faith-based healthcare isn't individually billed. Instead, a large group of people each pay a monthly premium and each person agrees to pay a certain amount of each other’s medical bills instead of going through a government observed health insurance company.

According to an article published in The New York Times, these faith-based healthcare plans offer lower rates because they are not considered “insurance” due to religious exceptions. These plans can be ideal for healthy individuals (any person without underlying health conditions) who isn’t illegible or cannot afford the premiums under the Affordable Care Act. For patients who don’t require a lot of medical care, but still desire peace of mind, this could be an ideal option.

However, the Times notes that not only are you not guaranteed coverage for specific bills under these plans, but many require that you adhere to a “Christian lifestyle.” This could possibly mean that people needing coverage for things the church does not agree with could be denied coverage on “religious grounds.” Considering the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to give a religious exception for birth control coverage earlier this year, this doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility.

Also, these types of plans generally decline people with “pre-existing illnesses” and can still leave people with little coverage in the event of a “catastrophic illness” or injury. In fact, because of the tactics a lot of these faith-based healthcare plans take to reduce costs, hospitals and doctors alike have begun to refuse to accept this type of healthcare.

As a doctor, the decision to accept or reject certain types of coverage while trying to prioritize what’s best for your patients is challenging. That decision is yours to make, but the following tips can assist you while you ponder it.

Get medical malpractice insurance

Let's get real — uninsured doctors are playing a very risky game. For malpractice insurance Florida you must consider the best option. According to MedPli, it is generally recommended that doctors get malpractice insurance coverage from an A-rated medical malpractice insurance company that covers $1 million per claim or $3 million in aggregate. This allows for the optimal amount of protection and should give you staff privileges (such as admitting privileges) under Florida law.

One example of a reason to carry medical malpractice insurance is the COVID-19 pandemic. The overwhelming effects of COVID-19 and the fact that this virus is still so new means that the long-term effects and complications are still being discovered. Every doctor would be wise to consider the best malpractice insurance when considering the risks involved in treating people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since telemedicine in Florida is expected to continue well after the pandemic, it is recommended that all Florida doctors carry malpractice insurance that specifically covers telemedicine.

The most malpractice insurance policies cover you once the medical malpractice claim is made, not for when the incident occurred. This means that if you’re switching jobs, you must make sure you’re covered if an old patient decides to file a claim against you. If your plan lacks a Prior Acts insurance policy, you may need to consider tail insurance.

Dress the part of the clergy

If you’re a member of the clergy and a doctor, coming across as a medical practitioner rather than a person of faith can be off-putting. Instead of a traditional doctor lab coat, consider investing in a priest shirt for delivering sermons or leading prayers.

At Cokesbury, you’ll find the best clergy shirts and accessories perfect for any level of formality. You’ll find long sleeve and short sleeve options so you can dress for any climate. You’ll also find a wide selection of options for collars (gold plated and chrome collar buttons), tab collars, collarettes, roman collars, white collars, black clergy shirts, vestments, and more.

Streamline prescriptions

Having every person visit physically at the doctor’s office to get their prescription medication filled is often a costly and time-consuming hassle that generally does nothing but potentially expose them to viruses. So, it’s better to figure out how to get a prescription without going to a doctor's office. The answer? Telemedicine. Telemedicine services are great for patients needing prescription refills, birth control refills, or antibiotics (for those with frequent urinary tract infections).

When working with a telemedicine platform, patients receive a link to where they can create an account to log in for the appointment. On the day of the appointment, your patient will be waiting in a virtual waiting room. You’re expected to “call” them when you’re ready. The patient answering the "call" starts a video chat for the appointment to take place.

During the virtual appointment, you will go through the same routine as if it were an in-person visit (except for the physical exam). You will ask questions about their physical condition and symptoms. If medication is required, you will send the prescription to the patient’s pharmacy and go over any possible side effects with them.

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