SMI Pitch Note | 11.26.18
Health Care Sharing Members Don’t Want Health Insurance
About three weeks remain in the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, and, as many Americans make decisions about their health care, there’s one fact members of Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org) wants them to know:
Samaritan members are glad that they don’t have health insurance.
From its beginning, this direct-sharing, effective, affordable and God-honoring health care ministry has offered what it believes is a better approach to health care, based on Biblical faith. And the 80,000 households (more than 262,000 individuals) that are members of Samaritan Ministries, one of the leading health care sharing ministries in America, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Each month, Samaritan’s growing Biblical community shares approximately $28 million in medical needs person-to-person. In fact, from 2007 through 2017, Samaritan Ministries members shared $1.2 billion in health care needs. Yet the monthly share has never exceeded $495 for a family of any size and is even less for two-person and single-person households.
“Samaritan Ministries emphatically states that health care sharing is not health insurance,” said Anthony Hopp, vice president of external relations for Samaritan Ministries. “And many of our members choose health care sharing for that very reason. While confusion between health insurance and health care sharing may exist among potential members, the media, medical professionals and even insurance industry insiders, we at Samaritan Ministries go out of our way to communicate that we are not insurance. Even though millions of dollars in medical needs are shared each month among Samaritan’s quarter of a million members, they are fully aware that being part of a health care sharing ministry does not ensure that their needs will be met. But for 24 years, our members have been overjoyed to find that their needs are met, not only financially but also spiritually and emotionally as well. That in itself is a huge differentiator from health insurance.”
Samaritan Ministries does not use insurance agents or brokers, a further difference from insurance. Health care sharing ministries are regulated as nonprofit organizations by each state’s attorney general, not by insurance regulations, because HCSMs are not practicing the business of insurance. Their continued growth in membership and high retention rate is evidence of the satisfaction of their members, answering those who choose to remain skeptical.
Laura, a Samaritan Ministries member from Missouri, perhaps says it best.
“No, it’s not insurance. It’s health care. It’s Galatians 6:2 in action. I am convinced that [our daughter’s] amazing recovery has not just been her hard work, but also all the prayers and the fact that we never had to wait for approval from an insurance company to follow doctors’ orders. We couldn’t be more thankful and blessed!”