In my younger days, I worked at a summer camp. Those summers were some of the best times of my life! The comradery between the staffs and the chance to serve as a role model for the kids made every day a great one.  However, one of the challenges of being a role model came at lunchtime when they served greens or cabbage. Over the years I have eaten both and while some have tasted better than others at camp they were consistently bad. Of course to set a good example the staff was encouraged to always eat whatever was served at each meal. If you did not your kids would quickly realize what was going on and before you could stop them the whole mess hall would be standing and chanting, “ Eat your greens, Steve, eat your greens.”  This would continue until they brought out a huge bowl of greens and you would shove your face in them, take a big bite and come out with a smile. You would then choke down the mouthful, raise your arms in victory and take your seat. While this may seem gross it was intended to show the importance of eating a balanced diet with a positive attitude.  But what I learned was to check the menu each day, conveniently missing the meal that included the offensive greens and usually ended up enjoying lunch at my favorite local restaurant.

By this time you are probably wondering how this story can be related to financial planning or healthcare? Actually, it has a lot to do with both. Today healthcare costs are consuming a large portion of most families budgets. People feel the pressure to choose a plan from an insurance company even though the choices do not seem all that appealing. You know you need the coverage but as you look at the options they all appear unappetizing. But a choice must be made in order to cover medical costs and avoid paying the government mandated penalty. So would you avoid this “meal” if you could?  Absolutely you would, just like I found ways to be off camp’s grounds during the meals with greens!

With healthcare, you have an alternative known as faith-based health sharing ministries. These ministries provide different levels of healthcare; allowing you to choose what works best for your budget and your needs. You are not forced to buy a plan that you don’t want or need; one that “tastes bad” and has a negative impact on your budget. And because these plans are exempt from the rules of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) you do not have to pay penalties and can customize your plan to meet your needs. The bottom line is you do not have to be pressured to buy an ACA plan. You can choose to go off camp and eat at Chick Fil A instead. Heck, you can afford to take your whole family out to a really nice restaurant with the money you save!