After paying out of pocket for his child’s 15-minute ear tube surgery, Andy Schoonover knew his monthly $1,200 health insurance bill was not actually protecting his family of four—and he wondered how these types of plans were truly helping anyone.

“They wrote me a nice note that said it was medically unnecessary and they weren’t going to pay for it,” Schoonover said. “I had to write an $8,000 check to the local hospital, and I said, ‘If the health insurance isn’t going to pick up something as necessary as tubes in my 1-year-old’s ears, who knows what they’re not going to pay for?’”

This epiphany sparked the creation of CrowdHealth, a revolutionary, community-powered alternative to health insurance that is based on transparency and affordability. Schoonover, the CEO and founder, said in simplest terms, CrowdHealth is a set of tools that allow people to pay for their health care expenses outside of traditional health insurance.

CrowdHealth’s toolbox includes negotiation services, free and unlimited access to virtual health care, access to quality data on doctors, a personal CrowdHealth care advocate, and a community of people who are willing to crowdfund astronomical hospital bills. Members between the ages of 6 and 55 contribute $175 per month into a personal account, then CrowdHealth asks members to contribute funds to one another’s medical bills in times of need.

“For thousands and thousands of years, the community was there for you when you had a big health care event, whether it be financially, a get-well card or food, and that generosity has gotten stolen from these communities by having a health insurance plan in the middle of that transaction,” Schoonover said.

Not only is CrowdHealth significantly less expensive than traditional plans, it is also simple to use, available nationwide and radically transparent, and it recenters the focus on humans rather than the middle-man insurance companies.

“We’re trying to bring community back into health care,” Schoonover said. “One piece of that is that you get a monthly account statement that shows exactly where your money has gone. So it’ll say, ‘Here's your balance in your account; you paid $100 to the community this month, and it went to one wellness visit, one OB-GYN visit, and one broken arm.’”

Since its inception in April, 100% of members’ health care fees have been paid in full with individuals and families nationwide ditching their health insurance plans for financial freedom in CrowdHealth.

“I think people are actually better off being uninsured than they are being insured,” Schoonover said.

He said what drives his mission is how many people in the U.S. are silently suffering from job lock who can find relief through CrowdHealth.

“We’ve got millions of Americans who are limited in what they can do professionally as a result of health insurance,” Schoonover said. “It’s called job lock. They’re locked to their jobs because health care insurance is so expensive that they can’t pay for it because health insurance is so expensive ... what we are really trying to do is unleash the potential of those people.”

CrowdHealth is offering an exclusive deal to Community Impact Newspaper readers. Use code "COMMUNITY" to join CrowdHealth at for $99/month for 6 months.

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