By: Shimmy Blum
When hundreds of thousands of yidden worldwide will iy”H unite in a few weeks to celebrate The Siyum Hashas of The Agudah, they will be perusing – and bringing home – a single publication. Over 200,000 copies of HaSiyum Magazine and its N’Shei HaSiyum women’s supplement will be distributed and are sure to remain cherished mementos for many years to come.
When Moishe Katz, Director of United Refuah HealthShare, became aware of this project, it was obvious that his organization partner in it. United Refuah, the first and only Jewish HealthSharing organization, is now an official corporate sponsor of HaSiyum.
“What Daf Yomi did for Shas, United Refuah HealthShare has done for healthcare in Klal Yisroel,” he simply states. “They have transformed Klal Yisroel’s healthcare nationwide from an individual responsibility, to an infrastructure where healthcare costs are shouldered by all of us together.”
Nearly a century has passed since the concept of Daf Yomi was introduced by HaRav Meir Shapiro zt”l at the Knessiah Gedolah of The Agudah in Vienna. What was a profound breakthrough at the time is now a staple of Jewish life: No longer are we simply disparate individuals learning Torah. Yidden learning The Daf feel a distinct kinship and unity with their brethren in communities around the world who are learning the same Daf that day – looking at the same lines, asking the same questions, and hearing the same thoughts.
When Klal Yisroel celebrates The Siyum of The Agudah, – Torah Jewry’s largest event in contemporary history – it is a celebration for all, brought about by the toil and collaboration of the masses. Similarly, HaSiyum will be by far the most widely distributed print literature in our community in contemporary history – and, by extension, the most unifying one.
Enter United Refuah HealthShare.
It is no secret that the cost of healthcare in the United States is exorbitant. For the countless American Jews who are ineligible for Medicaid, yet cannot easily afford Cadillac private insurance, the situation has become devastating. Prior to United Refuah, members of our community were forced to either allocate a huge percentage of their incomes for insurance, or remain uninsured or underinsured – thereby risking lackluster care and/or crushing debt in the event of injury or illness.
Feeling the pain, and seeing how much high healthcare costs affected our community’s spending ability on other important expenses such as tuition and housing, a group of Cleveland based philanthropists decided to make a difference. After nearly two years of research and planning together with industry professionals, United Refuah was officially recognized as a non-profit 501(c)3 Health Care Sharing Ministry. Enrollment for membership began in April 2018, introducing United Refuah as America’s first and only Jewish Healthsharing organization (US law mandates that Healthsharing organizations be identified by members ascribing to a common set of religious beliefs). This completely transformed the landscape of healthcare for American Jewry.
No longer must any American Jew be alone in their responsibility to care for their physical wellbeing and that of their family. They are now united within a single community, where United Refuah leadership and fellow members do everything they can to help shoulder the burden. United Refuah already has thousands of members across 34 states, substantial enrollment for a Healthshare its age. One particular demographic that has especially benefited from United Refuah are those making the transition from Kollel to the workplace. The high cost of healthcare (as much as $3000 per month for a family) would immediately become a burden that someone early on in their career could not even consider. Now, there is an option that is affordable and makes the transition that much easier.
Through modest monthly contributions – as low as $519 per month for a family of 6 – members share the costs of physician visits, hospitalizations, labs, maternity care, surgeries, and other eligible medical care with their brothers and sisters in accordance with United Refuah’s Sharing Guidelines. Moreover, United Refuah helps its members take advantage of many benefits at no additional cost. For example, members have 24 hour telephone access to Board Certified Doctors through their TeleRefuah service, which saves members many visits to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room especially during the evening and weekends. Some families have reported savings of as much as $20,000 per year on their healthcare expenses after joining United Refuah. As United Refuah is a non-profit organization, overhead costs are kept at a minimum, further increasing the sharing power of our community.
The United Refuah team is uniquely familiar with the ins and outs of the healthcare system – including government resources and high quality healthcare providers nationwide that provide reduced cost care for healthshare members as self-pay individuals. United Refuah does more than just help share your medical bills. They are the patient’s advocate, guide, and partner in care, with dedicated case managers just a phone call away.
As a result, United Refuah has been able to successfully provide high quality, affordable healthcare to its members, despite the Jewish community’s uniquely high birth rate. In fact, United Refuah has managed to do this while actually lowering its already low fee structure since its inception.
“We are honored to count United Refuah as an integral partner in HaSiyum,” says Naftoli Miller – Siyum Director. “This organization so aptly represents the achdus and arvus of Klal Yisroel, which are the hallmarks of The Daf and The Siyum.”
In celebration of the Siyum, new United Refuah members that enroll by January 15th and mention the Siyum partnership, will receive a 20 Volume Vilna Travel Shas.
For more information about United Refuah HealthShare, please call 440-772-0700 or visit www.unitedrefuahhs.org