There’s a Christian-based health care alternative that’s exempt from ObamaCare requirements, and it’s growing quickly in the United States.

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It’s a national network of health care-sharing ministries, linking networks of Christians who share the costs of each other’s medical bills.

Fox News’ Garrett Tenney reported that members pay monthly premiums and have an annual deductible.

Eileen Wade has been a Medi-Share member since 2011. When one of her sons knocked his front teeth out, she took him to the doctor. Wade paid $100 out of pocket for her deductible and sent Medi-Share the remaining $1,200 in medical bills – all of which was covered by other members.

“They work just like insurance as far as I’m concerned, but it’s just a Christian option,” Wade said. “It’s actually cheaper than anybody that I know that’s on a normal insurance plan.”

Members agree to live “biblical lifestyles,” consisting of regular church attendance, no drugs, no sex outside of marriage, and limited alcohol consumption.

Since ObamaCare launched on October 1st last year, over 29,000 people have joined Medi-Share.

Tenney reported that the group is clear that it’s not technically a health insurance provider and the costs of regular doctor visits are not covered.

Critics are quick to point out that the group is not legally required to pay any bills.

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said, “If you feel confident you’re not going to need health care and you’re not going to have a major problem, then maybe this could be alright. But I want insurance that truly insures, and this does not really guarantee that.”

Medi-Share says those concerns are exaggerated, Tenney reported. In the 21 years of sharing bills, it claims to have had only a handful of complaints. 

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