Samaritan Ministries: An Answer to Rising Insurance Costs


With insurance costs increasing by 25% or more in the coming year, what’s a family to do? Samaritan Ministries was an answer to our family's prayers. Perhaps it’s time you reconsider the health-insurance rat race!

Quitting Insurance

Three years ago, we chose to opt out of employer health insurance. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Even though my husband’s employer helped us get a group discount for insurance, before we were covered for any services (in-network only) each year, the employer and our family together had to pay about $24,000 (premiums and deductibles) before insurance coverage began! This does not seem like good stewardship to us, as we had rarely met our deductible, even when we had surgeries in our family.
  2. We did not want to pay for “services” that go against our conscience: beginning of life, end of life, and everywhere in-between. I wish we could cherry-pick and say that our portion of insurance money would only go toward moral practices, but it doesn’t work that way.
  3. Much of our family’s personal health and wellness care was not covered by insurance anyway, so we already paid out of pocket for our osteopath, naturopath, and chiropractor.
  4. We looked into the salaries of the higher-ups for our health insurance company and they were compensated outrageously.
  5. We lean toward agreeing with many of the reasons that insurance was historically denounced by the Lutheran Church.

Is That Even Legal?

Sure it is! Samaritan Ministries is totally is legit, even though it is technically not insurance. It qualifies as one of the several legal exceptions to the general rule that everyone must have “insurance.”

Why Samaritan?

Although we can’t speak to all of the cost-sharing ministries, here are some of the reasons we have chosen Samaritan:

  1. Cost-sharing is a Biblical paradigm. Other members are Christians who will be with us in Heaven, and although we do not worship with them, we feel fine about participating in this Christian “service” opportunity.
  2. Samaritan encourages healthy life practices, Biblical marriage, and child-bearing.
  3. The monthly newsletter includes scientific research about cutting edge ideas in medicine, sharing this information with members in order that they can make informed healthcare decisions. Recently, we learned about the importance of Magnesium.
  4. The foundational principles are specifically Christian, but sufficiently vague to include denominations that may disagree about other (important!) issues but still can share a consensus on generously sharing each other’s medical burdens. Every business has a philosophy, even if they don’t call it a “Statement of Faith.” And Samaritan’s business model and sharing sure fits our worldview a lot better than our insurance company’s did.
  5. Opting out of insurance does not limit God in any way. In fact, our insurance had a lifetime cap, and Samaritan’s add-on Save to Share program does not. Even if we find ourselves in the midst of a situation in which Samaritan’s network cannot meet all of our needs, we still believe that God can work outside of it.
  6. Going without insurance helps us strive to live healthy lives as best we can, making wise financial decisions rather than assuming insurance “cover” all our needs. When we cannot finance our own medical burdens, we pray and turn to brothers and sisters in Christ.

We’ve been happy over the past three years with the following needs shared:

Testing for Tingling

Ryan had tingling in his hands, fatigue, and weakness that needed a few appointments and testing. We received checks in the mail from other Christians to cover the total amount, minus the first $300 or so that each member contributes for his or her own need. Thankfully, it was nothing that a few supplements and vitamins couldn’t address.

Leaky Gut Issues

Marie had testing done due to fatigue and digestive issues, which was later diagnosed as Leaky Gut Syndrome and treated by a nutritionist. We’ve received over $3,000 in gifts from Samaritan Members which has covered most of the expenses, including three months of supplements. Supplements are not longer “shared” after that period of time; however, we still occasionally receive a check in the mail from a generous Christian friend who read about our struggles and just “wanted to help.”

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Our youngest daughter’s homebirth was shared completely (unlike our previous health insurance that was somewhat suspicious of homebirth and wouldn’t cover it). Because Marie’s tailbone was injured during the delivery, Samaritan also included cost the chiropractic adjustments needed for healing.

Who’s Not a Good Fit?

If you have one or more expensive pre-existing conditions, Samaritan might not be a good fit for you. If you smoke or drink to excess, or practice sex outside of marriage, Samaritan Ministries will not include you in membership. Well-visits, preventative care, and eye exams are not shared among Samaritan Members. While you are certainly free to pursue these kinds of visits, you will need to budget for them for your family rather than expect that other families will chip in for you. Since this blog, of course, is not exhaustive in its review of Samaritan’s coverage, please refer to the website for further membership clarification.

How Much Does It Cost?

Even at Samaritan, we recently had an increase share amount. However, each member family was given a vote in the decision, and the rates only increased by 10%. You can find the current share rates for your familial situation here. You can also receive a credit to your account by referring others (part of the purpose of this blogpost) or by negotiating with your healthcare providers for discounts for cash payments or payments in full.

Summary

As you consider how your family’s budget be impacted by the rising costs of insurance, we hope you will consider joining our family in Samaritan Ministries, praising God for the “daily bread” of good health, and asking for support from one another when expenses from poor health are great. (Please mention Ryan and Marie MacPherson if you choose to join.)

Learn More

 

Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).

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TAGS: Healthcare, GAPS, Christianity, Affordable Care Act

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