Sunday, March 4, 2018

(205) A Catholic Alternative to Obamacare and Commercial Health Insurance Plans.........Accepted by the Affordable Health Care Act and the IRS



       Faithful Catholics have opposed Obamacare because it forces them to have coverage that includes sterilization, contraceptives, and abortifacients……… all of which are opposed to Church teaching under the so called “HHS Mandate”.  The Little Sisters of the Poor, EWTN, Thomas Aquinas College, and other Catholic institutions as well as some Protestant ones took on President Obama and the Supreme Court.  Under the Trump administration, Obamacare has not been repealed, but conscience rights are now being regard to Catholic institutions.  The Little Sisters and the other institutions actually won their case in the Supreme Court.

       There is an alternative to Obamacare at a much lower cost that is very Christian in concept and exempt from the individual mandate of the Affordable Health Care (AHC) Act and thus not subject to penalties for non-compliance.  CMF CURO is a Catholic Living Health Care Ministry or apostolate with more than 1100 families, organized by the Catholic Christ Medicus Foundation (CMF).  It is endorsed by Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis, and other Church leaders.  EWTN interviewed their leaders on one of its programs and the Catholic Register published an article on it (
CMF CURO partners with the ecumenical Samaritan Ministries International (SMI), which is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charity (see, to obtain a larger and stronger financial base…...founded in 1991 and now with 59,000 households or 190,000 members from all 50 states and several foreign countries..  There are some 300,000 members in different health care sharing ministries that share $200 million in health care costs each year (see the Alliance for Health Care Sharing Ministries at  Health care sharing is not health insurance as such, but really medical expense sharing.  The IRS does not impose penalties on SMI members for not having medical insurance according to the Affordable Health Care Act.

  The Christ Medicus Foundation (CMF) (see was founded in 1997.  Its mission is to promote Christ-centered health care that is faithful to Catholic teaching, the Gospel of Life, the Theology of the Body, Humanae Vitae, and the ethical and religious principles of Catholic health care, through active engagement in education, public policy, and the marketplace.  It advances Christ centered health care in following in the footsteps of the great healer.

CMF CURO, was established by CMF in 2014 as a Catholic living health care ministry. It is a Christ centered alternative to secular medical insurance for committed Christians that is fully consistent with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the ideals of the Christian community, and the Gospel of Life.  CMF CURO employs the SMI health care sharing ministry as the basis for its program and, as a Catholic member-representative to SMI, adds additional services for its own members.  The members share each other’s medical  needs grounded in Christian charity and solidarity.  It’s a great example of subsidiarity espoused by papal teaching……solving problems at the grass roots instead of depending upon socialistic Big Government.   CMF CURO members are directly and actively responsible for the stewardship of their own health and health care.
       Each family, in addition to their monthly SMI share, pays $84 per month for the benefits of CMF CURO  membership and to cover the corresponding administrative costs;  this is automatically charged to the credit card of the head of the household or single person.  Then, each family (three or more) typically shares $579, two share $524, a widowed or divorced parent with children $389, and a single $304.  This share is sent directly to another family whose member is undergoing a major medical expense along with a note of encouragement and assurance of prayers.  Ultimately the members share in the excitement of seeing how God answers prayers.  Preventative care as medical exams are not covered; nor are routine illnesses or injuries, dental, vision, etc. with some exceptions.  A member is responsible for the first $300 of any medical expense, comparable to a deductible.  There are no legally binding contracts as such; it is all built on trust in God and in each other.
To request a share for a medical need, SMI examines the documentation and bills and confirms that the medical services received are consistent with Christian beliefs and comply with the SMI guidelines. Although one is not excluded for pre-existing conditions, there are a number of limitations and exclusions.  In that case, a member may still ask for prayer in the newsletter and other members besides family, friends, and local church may offer help.  Once approved, SMI assigns sharing members to send their monthly shares to the member in need. Each month all members receive a newsletter in the mail that instructs them as to whom they should send their monthly share along with prayers. The sharing member mails a check for his/her monthly share amount directly to the person in need, along with a letter or card of encouragement and assurance of prayers.
       The member in need chooses his/her doctor, treatments, and other medical services as a direct-pay patient and presents his/her CMF CURO card, which has a code that allows the medical service provider to send the medical services received to a Service Pricing Administrator (SPA) for pricing.  Once the SPA approves and assigns a price for the services, the bill is sent to SMI and to the member in need for review.  Once the member in need and SMI approve the bill, SMI assigns healthy members to share with the one in need through the  newsletter.  The checks are then forwarded to a bank to be deposited on the member’s CMF CURO card.  This verifies that the assigned members are indeed sharing as required.  The member in need can then use his/her CMF CURO card to seamlessly pay for eligible medical expenses up to $250,000 generally and even higher if in the “Save to Share” program.

The member in need receives a list from SMI detailing all sharing members who have been assigned to send a check. As the member in need receives the checks in the mail, he or she verifies that assigned sharing members have submitted their share and reports to SMI those who have not sent their shares. The member in need then pays for the medical services they’ve received, using the share money sent to them.  A member cannot receive benefits if not current on payments, but extenuating circumstances are considered.  Overall, the payment is voluntary and the patient is still ultimately responsible for the bill.  There is a certain leap of faith.

       Stated more simply, a member who has a medical need requests a Need Processing Form from the SMI office, then completes and returns it along with the bills for the need.  At SMI, a Member Services specialist will verify the information and prepare the need for publication in the newsletter.  When the need is published, a checklist of the members who have been assigned to share in the need is sent to the receiving household so that the SMI staff can keep track of the sharing.  If a provider seems unwilling to offer competitive rates or discounts for their services to cash-pay patients, Samaritan can assist members with patient advocacy in negotiating lower rates to decrease the burden on the members.  Each year an independent, outside auditing firm verifies the integrity of ministry finances and how it is spent.  

Maternity is covered; abortion, abortifacients, contraceptives, sterilization, STDs, etc. are not.
Only faithful practicing Catholics are eligible for CMF CURO as certified by their pastor.  The primary indicator is faithful attendance at Mass every Sunday, not only when it is convenient.  Members must agree to abstain from sinful practices such as drug abuse and sexual immorality.  Thus sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), abortion, sterilization, etc. are not covered.  Heavy drinkers and smokers are excluded from membership.  In other words, members agree to live a Biblical lifestyle and conditions resulting from violating this promise are not covered.  Following Church teaching decreases health risks and medical costs because families of faithful practicing Catholics tend to have healthier lifestyles. Thus the monthly financial obligation is much less than with a conventional health insurance premium.  Furthermore, direct sharing decreases administrative costs.  The members enrolled in CMF CURO are strongly encouraged to live healthy lifestyles that include regular exercise and proper nutrition.  An on-line health assessment is provided along with articles in their newsletters to improve and maintain health.
Some Feedback From Current Members.  “It is a privilege to send our shares each month to those who like me have a need and thank the Lord for His provision to do so.”  “There are no strangers in God’s family.”  “‘Bearing one another’s burdens’ brings much greater joy than paying overinflated premiums for insurance. We are so grateful.”  “Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and wisdom; each member of the Body is necessary. We need one another. All must have a deep concern for each other.”  “1 Corinthians 12:25-26 says: ‘That there may be no division in the Body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.’”  “People loving people whether across the street or across the nation.”  That’s what Christianity is all about!  To love and care about and for each other as Christ taught us to do.
Christian Community at Its Best.  The beauty of all this is that the members of CMF CURO and thus SMI directly share their health care costs with Christians nationwide in a manner that fosters Christian charity, builds our Catholic community, and fosters faith in God though assisting one another with medical expenses through voluntary giving, helping others with the needs they have right now (Acts 20:35), and ministering to each other while maintaining personal responsibility.  Christians “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians   6:2).  That is, Christians bear one another’s health care needs spiritually, emotionally, and financially.  At the same time, much of the exorbitant premiums, bureaucratic rules and overhead, huge executive salaries and bonuses, marketing expenses, stockholder dividends, etc. of a traditional for profit health insurance company is avoided.  There’s no binding legal contract; it’s Christians giving their word.  It’s all built on trust, trusting other Christians and more than anything else……trusting in God…….faith. 

For more detail and how to join can be obtained from the website  For personal testimonies, watch a personal CMF CURO testimony at, go to, or speak to Paul and Jaga.  Matt & Mary Ann Bokovitz are also members.  Mike Haas is a member of SMI alone.

         The Christ Medicus Foundation founded CMF-CURO as a Catholic alternative to Obamacare that is accepted under the Affordable Health Act with no penalty that is supposed to be paid as part of your federal income tax return.  The Christ Medicus Foundation partners with the ecumenical Samaritan Ministries International and works closely with them.  They both agree upon the following principles. 

Foundational Principles of Samaritan Ministries’ Health Care Sharing
SMI emphasizes certain Biblical principles that we believe are basic to the life of every believer and thus are foundational to the effective function of our health care sharing ministry. 

Jesus Christ is the only adequate Provider for every need we have.
He is the One Who created everything, and He is the only One Who has enough resources to meet every need. No human organization is large enough to do this— no company and no government. He gives some of His provision through human channels, but He is ultimately the only One we can trust.

A medical need (or any other need) involves more than money.
The physical world is not all there is. Human beings are more than a collection of cells. We are made in the image of God and have needs that go beyond our physi­cal bodies. When we have a medical need, there is more involved than money or mere physical healing. Samaritan members pray for one another for all aspects of members’ needs, and we hear daily from members with needs telling how God has answered these prayers.

Believers in Jesus Christ are responsible to first use the resources He has given us to meet the needs of ourselves and our families.
When a need occurs that exceeds what He has provided, other members of the Body of Christ should show His love by using the resources God has given them to help in the same way they would want to be helped.

The local church should be the next “line of defense” to provide for the needs of its own members.
SMI is intended to support and supplement this work of the local body, not replace it. We seek to avoid undermining what should be done locally. We also depend on the leaders of the local church to provide accountability for the SMI members under their care.

God created man as His image bearer and the crown of His creation.
Right worship of God requires respecting His image in all people for all of life, including health care. The Fifth Commandment, “You shall not murder,” requires the preservation of human life, and the subduing of all passions and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices which tend to the unjust taking of life. We must live according to Biblical ethics in all aspects of health care.