The health sharing plan is not insurance. It cannot be used for Medicare. However it legally fulfills required medical coverage still mandated in some states. So you won't be fined for having it instead of health insurance. Ours is a Christian based one. Different plans have different requirements. Ours doesn't cover certain procedures, or vision or dental, or preexisting conditions. There is a $300 deductible per incident. The way it works is the administrators assign you a need to meet, and you send your "share" directly to another individual to help cover their medical costs. We also are given a list of individuals to pray for throughout the month. The January share is used to cover administrative costs. The individual recipient informs the administrators about the status of your payment. Of course it's all checked out as well. If you don't pay your share, it indicates you're not interested in continuing and are dropped from the plan. If you have a medical need you bring it to the administrators attention, fill out forms, submit receipts and they handle the payment end of it. They also give suggestions on how to negotiate prices (insurance companies do this all the time), plus give support, dealing directly with the medical folk. //To answer your second question. I don't know what an individual plan would cost and am not sure if costs vary from state to state. I don't know what organizations are currently available except the one we use, so you'd want to do a search on the Internet and see what's out there.