How I Saved $30,000+ on Healthcare Over a 3 Year Period

I joined US HealthShare when I decided to quit my secure 9-5 career with full benefits and pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Being a single mom of 3, my kids are my first priority so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t making any rash decisions, but also being true to my heart and dreams of my future. I had to make some big decisions about our life, finances and healthcare. I always had an employer-sponsored health insurance plan but that was soon coming to an end.

I started shopping around for insurance on the exchanges and prices for traditional insurance plans for my family of four started at around $1,000 per month with a $12,000 annual deductible. My mouth dropped. This was just for a Bronze plan. Getting a Silver, Gold, or Platinum plan meant prices would just go up from there, and was basically impossible with my budget. How was I going to make sure we were all covered if something catastrophic happened? 

I kept researching my options and came across health sharing ministries, like US HealthShare. Health sharing ministries aren’t insurance – they’re groups of like-minded people who come together to share healthcare expenses. You pay a monthly fee, similar to a healthcare premium with the promise that your healthcare expenses will be covered once you meet an “unshared amount” similar to a health insurance deductible. 

After much research, we decided to go with US HealthShare. We felt like their values and morals aligned with our faith more than any of the other ministries. The benefits of US HealthShare as we saw them included:

  • A low monthly sharing amount, similar to a premium (was $531 for our family when we joined)
  • Low annual unshared amount, or out-of-pocket contribution, similar to a deductible ($1500 for my family)
  • Eligible medical bills up to $1,000,000 per incident can be shared

Joining US HealthShare saved my family roughly $470 per month and a considerably lower ($10,500+!)  annual unshared amount. So, after some planning and careful consideration, that’s what we went with.

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It’s been about 3 years since we joined US HealthShare and I am mostly pleased with how things have gone so far. The claims process is grueling and prices have gone up slightly over the last three years we’ve been in the program, but that’s typical for the healthcare industry so that wasn’t too much of a surprise.

On the upside, we have easily saved over $30,000 on healthcare expenses over the five years we have belonged to US HealthShare. I say that because we have saved a minimum of $470 per month, which works out to $5,600 per year or $16,920 over three years. We also saved a minimum of $15,000, when we had 2 major claims (raising 3 young boys, things are bound to happen!) since our ACA deductible would have been at least $10,500 more than our out-of-pocket maximum with US HealthShare.

While using a health sharing ministry isn’t entirely ideal, I definitely believe the $30,000+ in savings we’ve accrued so far has been well worth it. I highly recommend looking into a healthcare sharing option if you find yourself out of the typical 9-5 with benefits. You could save tens of thousands!

Is an AARP Membership Worth It?

So you just turned 50, and all of a sudden you start seeing online ads for AARP, seeing the magazines everywhere you go, and getting the pamphlets in the mail. I know, you’re just trying to come to terms with the fact that you are now 50 years old, all you need is another reminder that your mid life crisis is sure to start any minute now. Well I’m here to tell you it’s time to embrace your new age with a new attitude. You now get to take advantage of senior citizen discounts all over town, so why not also take a peek at those AARP benefits? Is it worth it? I’ll lay everything out for you now.

How Much Does it Cost? 

An AARP membership costs $16 a year. But the more years you pay for in advance, the cheaper it is. See below for the discounted breakdown.

$63 for 5 years — $12.60 per year, with a 21 percent discount
$43 for 3 years — $14.34 per year, with a 10 percent discount
$12 for the first year if you choose to auto-renew — 25 percent discount

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What Discounts are Included?

Members get a variety of discounts at the following popular stores and restaurants.

Retail: Tanger Outlets, 1-800-Flowers.com, Harry & David
Restaurants: McCormick & Schmick’s, Saltgrass, Outback, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Denny’s and Rainforest Cafe
Entertainment: Ticketmaster, Regal Cinemas, Cirque du Soleil
Home & Technology: AT&T, UPS Store, Consumer Cellular

What are the Travel Deals? 

Rental cars: Members get a discount with several popular rental car companies, as well as a 30 percent discount on Zipcar memberships.
Hotels: Members get up to 20 percent off at several hotel chains, such as Days Inn and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, as well as up to 35 percent off from Endless Vacation Rentals.
Flights: You’ll get access to the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia, which has members-only flight deals, plus you’re entitled to a discount at Park Ride Fly USA for off-airport parking.
Cruises: Members can get discounts on select cruises by Norwegian Cruise Line, Windstar and Grand European Travel.

What are the Health & Wellness Deals? 

Exams: Members get a free hearing test once a year, as well as special rates on eye exams and eyeglasses at participating eye doctors.
Insurance: Members get access to exclusive insurance plans through the AARP® Auto & Home Insurance Program from The Hartford.
Medication: Members have access to the AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by OptumRx program and save an average of 61 percent on all FDA-approved medications
Family: Add a spouse or partner to your plan for free so you can both enjoy the benefits
Dating: Members can sign up for the AARP dating site and meet other 50+ singles who are ready to mingle.

This is only a small portion of the discounts and benefits you can get from an AARP membership. You can read the full list of discounts by checking out the AARP Member Benefits Guide.

As you’re nearing retirement, I understand you want to be intentional with how you spend your money. I’ll let you do the math, but if dine out frequently, travel, and want access to health and financial resources to assist in your retirement transition, it might be worth trying AARP for one year to see if you like it. That $16 you spent on the membership will be saved in no time.