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Healthcare Sharing

In 2013, it was time for a change.  Originally from Central Illinois, we had spent the last 7 years living in Chicago.  The city was exciting, the diversity was lovely, but the pace of life and cost of living were taking their toll on us especially as my husband and I both work in areas of ministry and social work – fulfilling, yes, but not high paying!  We needed to get out of the city!  We had maintained a rental property in Central Illinois during our stay in Chicago so our plan was to move back in to that house and live on our savings for a short time until finding new employment.  My employer had always provided us with a good, affordable health insurance plan, but with this move we would suddenly be un-insured, under the ACA tax penalty, and living with some amount of healthcare related risk.  We are generally healthy people with no kids at the time, so it was a risk we were willing to take temporarily… until one day we heard an advertisement on the radio for Biblical Healthcare Sharing.  What is that??  We dug in to find out. 

Christian Care Medi-share was the ministry we heard about on the radio.  It sounded like they might meet our need, so we gave them a call.  We had some skepticism since one of the first things we learned is that it’s not Health Insurance. 

Sharing is different because in the end sharing involves a commitment by members, not a legal contract like insurance.  This was a little unnerving, but we reasoned was also a chance to trust God (rather than an insurance company) to sustain us and the Sharing ministry’s efforts to honor Him.  At that time in our lives, one thing that appealed to us was that Medi-share functions similarly to insurance even though it’s not.  Because it was affordable and felt familiar, we signed up and began sharing. 

Our Story

Healthcare Sharing
Healthcare Sharing

 One of the first things I noticed when we joined was an immediate sense of relief that our healthcare was no longer tied to my employer!  I was completely surprised by how amazing it felt to have portable healthcare and the freedom to work anywhere we wanted without changing that.  Of course we also loved that we were now following a Biblical model of caring for our brothers and sisters across the nation. 

We stayed with Medi-share for about 3 years.  We had one large need during that time and they helped us navigate it.  They processed all of the bills without much work on my part and all were paid to the providers.  One drawback from the process was the Annual Household Portion (similar to annual deductible) which we are still paying to the providers in monthly payment plans.  Also related to that need, we worked to save the ministry over $1,000 in costs for wheel chair and crutches rentals and walking boot purchase but we received no reduction to our Annual Household Portion as a result of our efforts.

During our time with Medi-share, there was one person in our household who was required to be part of the Health Partner Program because of weight and high cholesterol.  This program costs an extra $80 a month for each member in the household enrolled and is supposed to provide coaching to help the member get in the healthy range so that they can ‘graduate’ and no longer pay the fee.  In our experience the execution of this program was not effective at all but we were stuck with the extra $80 per month.    

  In 2015 we learned about Samaritan Ministries.  Over and over, God brought Samaritan members into our lives who would ask how Medi-share works and share the differences of Samaritan with us.  Comfortable with the insurance-like feel we had kept in our lives, we never seriously considered Samaritan at first.  But, once we did, the differences actually sounded too good to be true.  Some simple math showed that with Samaritan the cost to us annually was about the same until we actually had a Need to Share.  That’s when Samaritan Ministries really shines by significantly reducing, often to $0, the members’ out of pocket costs!  When starting out, Samaritan did seem more complicated simply because it doesn’t operate like a typical insurance plan, but WOW, once we understood and started using it, it was amazing!  After having worked professionally and as volunteers with a few different Christian ministries and churches, we have concluded that Samaritan Ministries is one of the most generous and amazing so far. 

We have dedicated one entire section of this website to explaining how Samaritan works so you can check out those areas for more detail, but I want to share some of the highlights of Samaritan for us personally.

When I picked up my copy of the Guidelines, the Foundational Biblical Principles of Samaritan were the very first thing mentioned.  “Jesus Christ is the only adequate Provider for every need we have” it said.  As I read on they discussed the spiritual aspect of our physical needs, our responsibility to use the resources Christ had provided for us, the responsibility of the local Church to be next in line to provide for its members and the high importance of living according to Biblical ethics.  I was immediately challenged to think hard about God’s design for us in community.  The other sharing ministries we had read about did mention the importance of Acts 2 Biblical community but not in the same way as Samaritan does.  For Samaritan, trust in God and honoring His ways and wisdom is clearly primary!  I wasn’t even a member yet at the time and already I was being lead to trust God more deeply – this was a ministry I definitely wanted to be part of.

Healthcare Sharing

Samaritan’s choice to trust the members was another key thing for us.  With Samaritan, there is no Provider Network.  Members are given complete freedom to choose the provider they believe is best for their need and who will offer the ministry the best pricing.  This includes the freedom to seek Chiropractic, Naturopathic and Homeopathic care from any licensed provider.  How wonderful it felt to be given that level of trust and responsibility for our own healthcare. 

Generosity towards members is also a value of Samaritan as any discounts acquired from the medical provider (whether acquired by the member or Samaritan’s bill negotiating service) are applied directly to the initial unshared amount for each need.  Samaritan could have chosen to keep those funds in the ministry for their use, but instead they generously give the credit for those discounts right back to the member!  This means for medical needs that go into the thousands of dollars, the discounts medical providers typically give to cash-pay patients completely erase the unshared amount the member would have paid!

Good stewardship and a personal touch also stood out to us.  The member-to-member sharing process at Samaritan improves the efficiency of the ministry by eliminating a 3rd party funds administrator.  Member-to-member sharing also allows us to write directly to the member in need with prayers and scriptures of encouragement.  We love knowing that each month brothers and sisters in Christ are receiving support and encouragement from each other all because of the coordinating efforts of Samaritan Ministries. 

We hope that as you read on and learn more about the different options in healthcare sharing you will be encouraged to participate in Biblical community also and you will be blessed and encouraged in your experience with Biblical Healthcare Sharing. 

 

If you choose to become members of Samaritan Ministries, could you please let them know we sent you?  This helps offset the cost of this website and allows us to continue to pass along the blessing of Healthcare Sharing to others as we have endeavored to do for you.  

If you sign up online, provide our member number: 100543​. 

If you sign up by mail, please use this application:

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