Looking for a health insurance plan that reimburses for the cost of Christian Science nursing care and practitioner treatment?
One of the best resources with the most current information on health insurance and specific plans with Christian Science benefits is found at the Christian Science Committee on Publication: Federal website.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that was created in 1965 to help Americans who are 65 years or older, and certain persons categorized by the government as disabled, pay for health care.
In 1997, legislation renamed a Christian Science “sanatorium” as a Religious Non-medical Health Care Institution (RNHCI). Chestnut Hill Benevolent Association is a RNHCI and participates as such in the Medicare program.
One of the best sources for general information about Medicare is the website, www.medicare.gov. Most basic questions about Medicare are covered in the government booklet, Medicare & You 2023, which can be read online or downloaded from the website. This booklet defines Medicare Parts A & B.
Part A (Hospital Insurance) a Social Security benefit and that covers your Christian Science nursing care, room, meals, and some supplies in a RNHCI.
Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services and outpatient care. Medicare Part B does not directly cover any of the services at a RNHCI such as the BA.
Part C (privatized Medicare Health Plans) a Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits; this includes Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare.
Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) Optional benefits for prescription drugs available to all people with Medicare for an additional charge. This coverage is offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare
To apply for Medicare Part A and/or Parts B and D benefits, you should call the Social Security Administration at 1(800) 772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office three to six months before your 65th birthday. Enrolling in Part A is included in your Social Security Benefit package at no additional cost to you. Enrolling in Part B and Part D is your choice.
Medicare provides basic coverage, but it does not cover all health care costs. It was designed this way to help prevent major medical expenses from causing financial ruin.
It was not designed to pay 100% of your health care bills.
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) is a Social Security benefit and pays for care in RNHCIs, Religious Non-medical Health Care Institutions, that are Medicare providers.
Part A is paid for by a portion of Social Security tax. In a Christian Science facility it helps pay for inpatient care.
A Christian Scientist is eligible for Medicare benefits at a Religious Nonmedical Health Care Institution (RNHCI), such as the BA, if skilled Christian Science nursing is required. Medicare Part A covers room and board, Christian Science nursing care, and some supplies.
Christian Science nursing
Meals and nourishment
Christian Science practitioner fees
Rest and Study visits
Light Christian Science nursing care
Personal care items
|Services||Benefit Length||Medicare Pay||Patient Pay|
|Hospital Care (deductible portion)||1st-60th day||100% of bill (after deduction of the first $1,600)||Up to the first $1,600|
|Hospital Care (co-insurance portion)||61st-90th day||Charges in excess of $400/day||All costs up to $400/day|
|Hospital Care (Lifetime Reserve portion)||91st-150th day||Charges in excess of $800/day||All costs up to $800/day|
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services and outpatient care and is not a Social Security benefit. Medicare Part B does not directly cover any of the services at a RNHCI such as the BA.
We are often asked why Christian Scientists might enroll in Part B
Medigap Insurance (a type of private health insurance) usually requires Part B
Spouses and family members often request that their CS family member be covered by Part B
If a Christian Scientist elected to have a bone set by a physician – that would be a Part B coverage
If a Christian Scientist were taken against their will to a hospital (911 called by a neighbor or good Samaritan), Part B coverage could pay
The standard premium in 2023 is $164.90 each month – deducted from your social security payment.
If income is above a certain amount, you pay more. They look at your modified adjusted gross income from your IRS tax return from 2 years ago (the most recent tax return information provided to SS by the IRS). Increases from $164.90 each month if you are above $91,000 as an individual or above $182,000 filing jointly, see cost of Part B on the Medicare Site.
You can enroll later. But depending on how much later, and the circumstances delaying enrollment, there may be a penalty.
The handbook, Medicare & You, covers this in detail.
Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private companies approved by Medicare. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare. You’ll get your Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage from the Medicare Advantage Plan and not Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage Plans include :
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)
Private Fee-for-Service Plans
Special Needs Plans
Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans
As a general rule, Part C Advantage Plans do not cover RNHCIs.
These plans do not usually or consistently reimburse for stays at RNHCIs because the BA is not a contracted provider for Medicare HMOs, and there are no billing codes established for HMOs at this time.
Each year, plans establish the amounts they charge for premiums, deductibles, and services. The plan (rather than Medicare) decides how much you pay for the covered services you get. What you pay the plan may change only once a year, on January 1.
Learn more about Part C on medicare.gov.
Read your plan carefully to ensure coverage of RNHCIs and Christian Science benefits-should have something in writing. (Our experience for 25 years is an advantage plan seldom covers Christian Science nursing & RNHCIs).
Requires a pre-authorization for admittance (except emergencies)
Ask if your local Christian Science facility is in network. Can they be?
Contact us if you have specific questions.
Medicare Part D is an optional program that provides insurance to help you pay for prescription drugs. If you select to have the coverage, you pay a monthly premium.
Medicare Part D is not used at the BA and other RNHCIs.
For more information, please visit www.medicare.gov.
A Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Since Medigap policies fill the gaps in Original Medicare Plan coverage including when Medicare is exhausted, it is necessary that the patient continue to require skilled nursing just as he or she did when they were under Medicare coverage.
Choosing the Medigap for You
We highly recommend reading Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare and exploring Medigap policies at medicare.gov.
Requirements & Coverage
When you buy a Medigap policy, in most all cases, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medigap policies, most often, do not cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.
Premiums vary depending on the plan you choose. You will have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
Medigap policies do not require specific language regarding use at a religious non-medical health care institution (RNHCIs).
Advance directives are documents giving direction to health care providers, including Christian Science nursing facilities, about treatment choices in certain circumstances. An advance directive allows you to clearly state your feelings in writing so there will not be any confusion or misunderstanding.
A Health Care Proxy, also known as a “durable power of attorney” in some states, allows you to name a healthcare surrogate/patient advocate to act for you and carry out your wishes should you be unable at a time of need to do so.
A living will allows you to state your wishes in writing, with regard to consenting to or refusing medical treatments that are designed to artificially prolong life, but does not name a healthcare surrogate/patient advocate.
Everyone should have a health care proxy. A health care proxy can be used to accept or refuse any treatment. A health care proxy goes into effect only when you are not able to make decisions for yourself.
If you don’t have a health care proxy you should not assume that family and friends would be able to speak for you in the case of an emergency. In Massachusetts, for instance, only the health care proxy agent or the state can speak for an individual unable to speak for himself.
You can pick a family member, friend or any other person you trust, but be sure the person you choose is willing to serve.
Click here for a few tips to make it easier to get a health care proxy.
If you want your healthcare surrogate/patient advocate to be able to refuse any treatment, you must say so specifically in the health care proxy document — you will also need to add language should you desire care in a Christian Science nursing facility, or care by a Christian Science nurse in your home.
We’re happy to share our sample form with anyone interested in language which might be used by Christian Scientists in health care advance directives regardless of where they live:
If you live in Massachusetts, as mentioned above, the BA maintains a Massachusetts health care proxy form for individuals who wish to use it: Health Care Proxy – Massachusetts Sample. You may choose to use an attorney as you consider its language and provisions. This health care proxy is current with Massachusetts state law. It includes language and options often specified by Christian Scientists.
If you live outside of Massachusetts, there are several options. If an attorney is helping you, they may find our sample document a helpful resource because of the specific language it contains.
These are legal documents and can best be prepared by an attorney. Basic advance directive forms can also be found online and should be customized to fit your wishes. In all cases, be sure to read every word to make certain you agree with it. Remember that these forms are written from the standpoint of medical care.
Once you have executed (reviewed and signed) your health care advance directive you should make at least four photocopies. Keep the original for yourself where it can be found easily (not a safe-deposit box). Give copies to care providers, your agent (also called your advocate), and alternate agent. You can also give additional copies to family members, Christian Science practitioners, lawyers, and others who may be involved in your health care decisions.
We have compiled the most frequently asked questions about Health Care below. If we have not answered your questions, please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com, or call us at 617-734-5600.
There are several places to find Christian Science nursing facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid. The AOCSN (Association of Organizations for Christian Science Nursing) has an interactive map that allows you to find the nearest facility and its services. The national accrediting body for Christian Science nursing facilities and organizations, The Commission, has a list of accredited facilities that are Medicare and Medicaid facilities.
As a general rule, all Medigap policies, unless specifically or implicitly excluding the possibility of care at a Christian Science nursing facility, will cover this type of care. The Medicare.gov website is a great resource. Click here to find a list of Medigap policies available to you in your area.
This is a very important question, especially for Christian Scientists. Please click on this link for a comprehensive answer: Do you have a health care proxy?
Please visit Insurance and Christian Science at christianscience.com.
Association of Organizations for Christian Science Nursing: accredited facilities with Medicare providers
Health Care Proxy a Massachusetts sample
Christian Science Committee on Publication Federal Office Health Care Reform
Medicare & You 2023 handbook summary of Medicare benefits, coverage options, rights and protections, and answers to the most frequently asked questions about Medicare from the Medicare.gov website
MyMedicare.gov a free, secure online service for accessing personalized information regarding your Medicare benefits and services
Social Security: Online Medicare Application