With the Obama-care penalty-tax in effect and massive private insurance rate hikes, many are looking for an alternative to health insurance: consider Samaritan Ministries. Thanks to the dedicated work of a handful of people and God’s goodness, health sharing ministries like Samaritan meet the requirements to avoid the penalty.
Getting to avoid the tax penalty is only one of many reasons why I’m glad we have Samaritan Ministries. I also love them because their staff genuinely cares about the members (and loves babies, because God does!), they offer a Biblical model of Christians sharing each others burdens, their prices are WAY cheaper than insurance, they offer excellent maternity care, and they incentivize healthy lifestyles.
Why I love Samaritan Ministries
Dedicated, caring staff
Nearly in tears from frustration, I picked up the phone to call Samaritan Ministries.
The problem? They require that you provide an itemized bill when you submit a medical need to get reimbursed. It seemed so simple. How hard can it be to get a bill with exactly what it is you’re being charged for?
Apparently, pretty difficult sometimes.
Despite an amazing OB and wonderful nurses, I could not get an itemized bill from the hospital I’d visited during my pregnancy with Meg. I called numerous times. Waited for weeks for an itemized bill to be mailed. It never showed up. I trekked to different offices with two little kids in tow trying to get someone to give me an actual real bill. Just a bill. All to no avail.
Then I called Samaritan Ministries.
As I explained the situation, frustration clearly evident in my voice, our team leader said, “Anna, don’t worry about this anymore. God loves babies. So do we. Stop worrying about getting an itemized bill and let us take care of it for you. You’ve tried but now it’s time to just focus on the baby that’s about to enter the world and let us take over.”
I got off the phone and did the only logical thing a pregnant mama would do. Cried. For joy. It’s not every day that you call to get a medical need covered and get such a clear reminder of God’s love for you and for new life!
Biblical model of care of Christians for Christians
Christians are supposed to care for the needy and hurt everywhere, but we have a special duty toward fellow Christians. The Bible is pretty clear on that. (Gal. 6:10)
SMI is set up on that foundation. Christians send money and encouragement to fellow Christians with medical needs. Small needs (under $300) that a family cannot afford, are assumed to be the responsibility of the local church. Needs larger than $300 get shared around the globe.
Isn’t that exciting? It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it because it seems like this is how it should be.
(SMI leaders are also heading up an exciting new ministry to provide free top-notch maternity care to women in the inner city called the Morning Center.)
Low monthly cost and good “coverage”
The cost of insurance is high and getting higher. According to Kaiser, the average cost of insurance for a family in 2012 was $15,745. Even if the employer paid the bulk of the cost, the out-of-pocket premium was still $4,316 on average.
That’s a lot of money. Especially for young healthy growing families.
When Joshua started his job as a Federal Judicial Clerk almost three years ago, we had a choice: regular insurance or stay with Samaritan. It didn’t take long to decide.
Our portion of the insurance premiums was still more than our monthly share at Samaritan… even though the tax-payers would have covered 75% of the premium. Plus, the plan only covered 80% of costs until a fairly high threshold was met.
On the other hand, Samaritan covers 100% of medical needs over $300, assuming needs aren’t prorated. (The company operates on a cash basis. If more needs come in than money from members, needs are pro-rated. As far as I know, every time that this has happened in the past, God has provided through lower needs being submitted the next month, negotiations with hospitals, or extra donations from members. It happened with our bill from Meg and it’s so FUN seeing God work!)
Not only did we want to save tax-payers money (you’re welcome), I’d way rather send our monthly check to pay for fellow Christians’ medical needs than pay into a system that covers things I don’t believe in and has incredibly high overhead costs.
Excellent maternity coverage
As I’ve already said, SMI adopts God’s attitude toward children: they love them. This is reflected in their excellent maternity coverage.
Plus, if you choose to use a midwife or have a VBAC, they waive the initial $300 you normally would be responsible for covering since your choice saves SMI members a considerable amount of money.
(There are, understandably, some restrictions if you become a member while pregnant. Read about them here-page 28.)
Incentive to pursue a healthy lifestyle (plus flexibility of treatment)
When you know your health decisions affects won’t just affect yourself, they’ll affect the pocketbooks of Christians around the globe, choosing a healthy lifestyle becomes even more worthwhile.
And, when you do need treatment, SMI offers way more flexibility than insurance companies. A friend from church was recently diagnosed with cancer. Rather undergo chemotherapy here in the States, he asked if SMI would pay for him to travel abroad for alternative treatment that has a good track record of efficacy. SMI agreed.
Tired of health insurance? Make the switch.
If you are sick of health insurance, consider switching to Samaritan Ministries. It has been a huge blessing to our family.
[If you decide to use Samaritan Ministries and would like to bless our family, you can put down “Feminine Adventures” as a referral and we will get a discount on upcoming “shares”. If you prefer not doing that, I totally understand! I share about them here because they have been a genuine blessing to me and my family and I hope to see the ministry continue to grow.]
If you use SMI, I’d love to hear what you think! Have you had as wonderful an experience as we have?