Samaritan Ministries: Biblically Sharing Medical Burdens

I’ve talked about Samaritan Ministries before, a “medical sharing program” of which we have been members for about four years now.

With the “mind-blowing disaster for America” in Obamacare, I would urge Christians, now more than ever, to consider joining Samaritan’s Ministries. (We do get a referral bonus if a member mentions us, but that isn’t why I’m talking about it ;-) )

(Members of Samaritan are excluded from penalties associated with the Obamacare insurance laws.)

We have had quite a few claims and can testify that the program works. My parents have also had some whopping claims (my Dad had heart surgery) and their medical charges were covered 100%.

If you’re new to how Samaritan works, you can read here to discover how thousands of Christians basically share each other’s medical expenses. It is so freeing to give our money directly to another family for their needs.

We had a doctor tell us that this program is so much more beneficial to medical providers as they do not have to deal with and pay for the burdensome bureaucracy involved with insurance companies. That fact also allows them to give cash-pay patients substantial discounts (the insurance companies deny a large percentage of what is charged, thus the hike in initial charges). We have experienced only positive reactions from the medical profession with the program.

Additionally, board members are being elected soon, and we have a dear friend who has applied. If you are a Samaritan’s member, I highly recommend Chris King, friend, brother-in-Christ, and brilliant business man as a nominee for Samaritan’s board. He has an excellent resume and would no doubt be a very beneficial asset to Samaritan’s Ministries.

22 Responses to “Samaritan Ministries: Biblically Sharing Medical Burdens”

  1. Rebecka says:

    We’d LOVE to join…except they won’t cover our pre-existing, chronic conditions. :( Thankfully, the coverage offered by my husband’s employer does cover us, even though we know we our premiums also go towards things we’d rather they didn’t. If Samaritan ever relaxed the pre-existing condition clause to cover chronic conditions, we’d join in a heartbeat…so I do encourage those who can to join and maybe someday we can, too. :)

  2. Jennifer in PA says:

    Been members for 14.5 years. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Samaritan Ministries.

  3. Sue M. says:

    My sister suggested that I look into Samaritan Ministries because we will lose our health insurance next June 30 unless I find a job that will provide health insurance that will cover my husband and me. Our income has also decreased considerably and I also need employment for that reason. (My husband is on long-term disability insurance provided by his employer and we have very reasonably priced very good health and dental coverage until 6/30/13. Unfortunately, Samaritan Ministries not only doesn’t cover our pre-existing conditions, even it if it did cover pre-existing conditions it wouldn’t cover all but one of our pre-existing health issues.

    I’m sure Samaritan Ministries is a good fit for many people, but it’s just not for us.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Sue–that’s really too bad. I’m wondering though, will any insurance company cover your pre-existing conditions?

      • Laura says:

        In 2010, Obamacare made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to children under the age of 19 based on a pre-existing condition. In 2014, insurance companies cannot refuse to sell coverage or renew policies to anyone based on a pre-existing condition.

        :)

        I proudly support Obamacare. What else is someone like Sue M suppose to do?

        • Sue M. says:

          Laura,

          Thanks for being a supporter of “Obamacare”. There are some parts of this law that I think should be changed, but I agree with the bulk of it. IMHO, we must do something about the millions of Americans who lack health insurance or are greatly underinsured; close to 20% lack any health insurance in some states. Many of them are employed. I’d say this even if my husband and I would be still eligible for the health insurance we now have, I’m able to obtain good coverage from my future employer, or we were independently wealthy.

          I would definitely change is the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring that faith-based employers provide contraceptive coverage that violates their principles. For heaven’s sake, both my husband and I have only worked for secular employers; some provided this coverage and some didn’t.

          • Jennifer says:

            Kelly, I’d love to hear alternative suggestions to anything by Obama.

            • Sue M. says:

              Hi Jennifer,

              Because of my the situation in my household, I know about a couple of alternatives.

              (1) Medishare – Christian Health Care. (http://mychristiancare.org), It seems similar to Samaritan Ministries, but operates a little differently. Their coverage is similar to Samaritan Ministries, but they want you to use a PPO network called PCHS instead of choosing your own health care provider like Samaritan Ministries allows you to do, but the network is seems pretty comprehensive. (This is NOT considered health insurance under “Obamacare” and is legal as far as I know.)

              (2) More hit and miss and usually limited to people of a specific city or town. I’ve read about family practice doctors who agree to take on patients for a cash/check monthly retainer. This covers any medical care that the doctor(s) can provide in their clinics. These docs may be able to arrange to negotiate discounts with referrals to specialists for their patients. No idea about they handle prescription drugs, dental, hospitals, etc. I’m not sure how you’d find information about these doctors – maybe by local ads, the Internet, or referrals from satisfied patients.

              (3) This might work for a small business. I know of a small drama/comedy/musical theater group in our city. Nearly everyone who works there is young and has no health insurance. They have found a general/family practice doctor who cuts his fees considerably for these aspiring actors who need basic health care.

              I have no idea about #2 and #3 WRT to “Obamacare” but maybe they wouldn’t be considered insurance either. I leave that for a an attorney specializing in health care law to clarify.

              HTH,

              Sue

      • Sue M. says:

        Kelly,

        Well they have to if I find a job that provides health insurance. I’m sure that’s been state law in Ohio, where we live, if not federal law, for quite a while. Otherwise, we are fortunate enough to have an out, but an expensive one, until the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) kicks in. I’ve found out that if we can obtain individual health insurance within 63 days of losing our current coverage, they have to cover our pre-existing conditions instead of not covering them for a year. I don’t know whether this is Ohio or federal law.

        We are in late middle age and are AARP members. I’ve checked their website and found coverage through a couple of reputable companies (United Health Care and Anthem, I think) for ~$625 month for both of us. This has a $1250 deductible for each of us, 20% for each of us up to about either $7500 or $10,000 and $250 deductible for generic prescription drugs. (This is with a discount for AARP members.) So if I can’t find a job with health insurance a good chunk of my paycheck will go toward the insurance. Still a lot better than nothing, though. Ohio might also have a high-risk insurance pool.

        I really pray for a job in a large corporation, a hospital, or state, county, or city government (sorry if that offends anyone) because they usually provide decent benefits. I hope I can find decent part-time employment because my husband is very likely to die from his illness (average time from diagnosis to death is between 8 and 10 years) and I’d like to spend as much time with him as possible.

  4. Carolina says:

    Does it work like a co-op, where nobody makes a profit? do you know if it also works for NYS?

  5. Jennifer says:

    Could anyone take half my hormones and emotional crud? That’d be a big help to a true medicational-nightmare burden.

  6. Matt says:

    No single solution is going to fully address everyone’s needs – not Samaritan Ministries, not United Healthcare, not the federal government.
    BUT – doing some simple math will open your eyes to the possibilities before you. Employer sponsored health insurance is not the only answer. Neither is government administered health care.
    Sue, your options outlined above roughly equal $10,000 per year in premiums and deductible. That is money you will pay before the insurance company does anything to help you.
    A family pays about $350 per month for Samaritan Ministries. That is about $4000 per year. That will cover any future medical care outside of any pre-existing conditions. That leaves you $6000 per year to pay for your pre-existing medical care yourself. Do you really think your care would cost more than $500 per month? How often do you have to go to the doctor? How many prescriptions do you have to take?
    Most people have bought into the illusion that health insurance is absolutely required or you will die on the street without care. That is simply not true.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Thank you, Dr. Davis, for the math! It really is an illusion.

    • Sue M. says:

      Matt,

      Tes, we would have a large amount of out-of-pocket expenses for our pre-existing conditions, our routine preventive exams, blood tests, and prescription drugs. My husband and and I both need to see our primary care doctors 2x a year for exams and blood tests. He needs to see a world-class specialist for his rare illness 3x/year, with one time including neuropsychiatric testing, I must see a specialist 4x per year (up till this another one 2x/year), and our coverage for prescription drugs would be out of this world without insurance. My husband’s neurologist just started him on a generic version of a drug. (We’ll get it by mail-order if it works out for him.) It cost ~$12 with insurance; without insurance it would be ~$200…for 30 days. We would probably pay at least $600/month for prescriptions, maybe more. Doctor visits and blood tests could easily add at least another $2000 per year, and that’s not even if we don’t get sick for illnesses that Samaritan Ministries doesn’t cover. At least the policy I looked at covers generic prescription drugs after a $250 annual deductible. I think it also may cover one wellness (annual physical) visit, too.

      Between the two of us, I’ve already been checking and we can find a few of our prescription drugs (we have a lot of them, especially me) reasonably priced through the discount programs for generics that Walmart, Giant Eagle, Kroger, and Sam’s Club offer, and that would help a bit. Our only other alternative for prescriptions would be one of those discount drug cards (I’ve heard mixed success with these), or to buy drugs from Canada.

      I appreciate your comment, Matt, but even $6,000/year for out-of-pocket expenses/year wouldn’t cut it, especially if we had the prescription drug coverage that this policy appears to offer.

      I am curious about one thing, however. Many people decry the NHS in Britain and Canada’s single-payer model, but what about the health insurance in other western democracies such as Germany or Japan? Do they have anything we can learn from them?

      P.S. Sorry to ramble on, but this is a very sore subject for me. I’m not a health economist, but Samaritan Ministries seems to be a great program for basically healthy people who occasionally have serious medical bills, although they seem to have great maternity coverage. They also require its members to be able to self-insure themselves to a pretty large degree.

      • Sue M. says:

        To anyone who read my last loooong post,

        I apologize if I came across as angry, hostile, or whiny. I wrote this post midway through working on a Social Security Disability form called the “Adult Disability Report”. It was frustrating because I had to repeat a lot of the information from my husband’s long-term disability application from his former employer. It was also sad because we filled out a lot of that form together back at the end of May, along with most of his Social Security Disability application in June. I doubt he’d be able to fill out the Adult Disability Report on his own now.

  7. Katy says:

    My family looked at Samaritan’s Purse. I think it’s a good idea, if you are seemingly healthy, have traditional medical needs with emergencies occasionally, or even your bad things are the typical bad things. But, for those of us with ongoing medical issues in our family (our children to be exact), SP won’t work. We looked at it before we had knowledge of our children’s medical issues, so pre-existing wouldn’t have been the issue. They just don’t cover certain medical problems or the care of them. These aren’t things that you could justify via a moral issue (birth control, abortion, etc). I could, and fully do, support those ideals. These are legitimate medical issues that arise.

    My point in this is, just make sure you read the policy very carefully. Make sure you know all the things they will and won’t cover before you sign up. And, when it’s time to think about insurance each year, make sure you read again what they cover and don’t so you can keep on top of any changes they make in exemptions.

    • Katy says:

      Sorry, I don’t know why it sent that before I was done. I have one more part to add. Slippery fingers on my end, I guess.

      I saw what Matt wrote. And he’s right for the typical family. But $6000/year wouldn’t touch our son’s medical issues. We pay over $1000/month just for therapies for them. That is just our copays. If we had to pay cash for those we would have to stop all therapy for them as we couldn’t afford that. This isn’t even taking into account their various doctors they need, medicines, medical equipment, and the list goes on.

      We are not supporters of the new health care mandate. We feel the government has put their collective nose where it doesn’t belong. We feel this is a huge error and is going to do nothing but hurt our nation and it’s citizens. We can’t afford this and we are driving our nation into the ground. But, my point is, just make sure you know what you are buying. For us, traditional insurance is necessary (and that’s before “Obamacare” came into play. “Obamacare” actually is going to hurt us with medical care for our family. I hate to see it stand.). SP isn’t a good fit. If I hadn’t done a lot of research I wouldn’t have known that, expecting them to pay for our medical bills, and we would have been out a lot of money.

  8. Katy says:

    I can’t correct my posts, sorry for the name confusion. I meant Samaritan’s Ministry, not purse.

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