Medical insurance is expensive
We all know the challenges of having an accident or an illness, only to be left with medical bills after the insurance pays their portion. Andrew has worked for a corporation for 23+ years, which has provided us with medical insurance among other benefits. Each year it seems our coverage gets less and the price goes up. I have watched my parents shop for insurance on the independent market, realizing how outrageous the cost is for so little coverage.
This year we took the plunge and let go of our corporate medical coverage. The cost continued to increase, our deductible went up to $750 per person with only 60% coverage, and it seemed like every time we had a claim they would refuse to pay until we pushed them on the issue.
Andrew and I have been aware of Samaritan Ministries for a few years. We have talked about using them, should we ever be self-employed or not have medical coverage. We never really thought about dropping our corporate insurance for Samaritan Ministries. Late last year we really began to pray about whether God would have us continue with the insurance we had.
Birth Costs Add Up
In 2010, Eden Hope was born in a hospital in an uneventful birth. We used a midwife for most of the pregnancy and changed to a doctor at the end. Our two homebirths in Washington state were covered by insurance (due to hubby working at Microsoft, with a generous benefits package)When we moved to Georgia our homebirths were not covered and we paid the full price, which has gone up over the last few years, ourselves. With Eden’s birth, the insurance paid a portion of the hospital bill and a portion of the doctor’s bill, but we were still left with a large bill out of pocket. Our monthly insurance premium was not cheap, costing hundreds of dollars a month, for coverage that didn’t cover very much.
So in November, when filling out our corporate insurance papers for the coming year, we let go of our Aetna and began our journey with Samaritan Ministries. The guidelines for Samaritans Ministries are strict, which is how they are able to keep the cost down, while insuring that each claim that fits the process is covered, to the best of their ability. Samaritan Ministries is not an insurance company, but a Christian share program. There are more than 15,000 members in fifty states as well as several foreign countries. Many missionaries choose Samaritan Ministries because they can see doctors wherever they are located and still submit the charges to have the bills covered here in the US. Approximately $3.5 million health care needs are covered each month.
How does it work?
Once we filled out the application, we paid the first month’s share, as well as the yearly administrative fee, and our membership was in place. For a two parent family, we pay $320 a month, which is actually less than what we paid in insurance (which wasn’t covering much anyway). Each month we receive a newsletter in the mail. The newsletter has stories of Samaritan Ministry families with current needs. In the newsletter there is a list of babies born, families who lost babies, as well as other medical needs to pray for. On the front of our newsletter is the name and address of a Samaritan Ministries member/family and a short bit of information about their need. Our monthly share, $320, goes directly to the family in need. I have mailed checks to families to help with everything from severe ear infections to cancer and heart disease. Our family prays for the family and we try to include a small note to encourage them as well!
We will put in our first claim shortly, due to the birth of our little one in the beginning of 2012. When I became pregnant I contacted Samaritan Ministries to find out what I needed to do. They were very helpful and walked me through the easy process. First I told our doctor and the hospital we are using that we are self-pay. Our doctor’s office immediately knocked a large portion of the bill off…almost half! He has also offered to help us by using laboratories and ultrasound technicians that also discount for self-pay. The hospital has also given us a great deal for self-pay and was very happy to hear that we would be paying the birth, in full, before the baby was even born!
Samaritan Ministries mailed us a need package, which we filled out, are returning with copies of all our bills (this can all be done before the birth) and they will process our need. Once our Need Processing Form is complete they will add our name to several newsletters and our costs will be shared by fellow Samaritan Ministry members. To me, this is a picture of the body of Christ in action.
Out of Pocket
As members, we always pay for any need, out of pocket, that are under $300. With that said, in today’s economy it is rare to have a bill under $300! Last year, we attended the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas. While there Abigail dislocated her elbow. We took her to the emergency room, not knowing if it was broken. The bill was well over $1200, out of pocket, with medical insurance. The doctor didn’t do x-rays and really didn’t touch her as the elbow went back in on its own while they waited in the emergency room! The doctor did tell Andrew this was common and how to fix it should she have the problem again…but really thousands of dollars???
Why Samaritan Ministries
Our family’s choice to use Samaritan Ministries was not based solely on financial reasons. We believe that our membership is a way to bear one another’s burdens. What a blessing to be able to pray for our fellow believers and put our money to help them in their time of need. Insurance companies exist to make a profit. Samaritan Ministries exists to help fellow believers in a time of need.
I know that every dollar I sent is going to a Bible believing family with a physical need. When I paid into the big insurance companies my money was going to pay for procedures that I don’t agree with , like abortion and birth control.
You Can Join Us!