The astronomical increase in health insurance costs is effecting the global economy. Every business and every citizen is impacted in some way. Here in the United States, it is a hotly contested topic from the water cooler to the office of the President.
For Christian mission organizations that send out missionaries on short-term missions trips and long-term career missions, the rise in health insurance costs will have a dramatic effect. It already has. Every year, agencies have to wrestle with keeping costs down and if they are fortunate, they can keep the rise in premiums below the national average. Some have even gone to drastic measures and have asked that all their missionaries have major medical treatments done in an overseas country such as India! Outsourcing medial procedures to India – and we thought it was only call centers!
How will this alarming trend effect mission organizations? First, as premiums rise beyond affordability, there will be the need to be a part of a group of at least 300 people. Most mission organizations have less than 300 full-time missionaries working overseas and in their home office. Second, missionaries who can’t afford the rapidly rising premiums will be forced to look for larger organizations that they can join. This will lead to a migration of missionaries from small agencies to larger ones. Small mission agencies will have to close their doors. Third, mission organizations will have to merge. This has already begun to happen. Pioneers and Arab World Ministries merged and formed a larger organization. As it relates to health insurance, they now have more negotiating power.
What are the other possible options or solutions for mission organizations? What has been your experience and observation? How have you been effected as a missionary by raising health care costs? Leave a comment and share your insight so it might be a help to others. The name of Jesus will be proclaimed throughout the world regardless of health insurance costs, but this is an important issue to address as we seek to send out workers unto the harvest field.