Health Care Sharing Members Have Sought Transparent Pricing for Decades
Samaritan Ministries International Says Members Have Routinely Expected True, Upfront, Transparent Pricing Long Before New Hospital Transparency Law
PEORIA, Ill.—A new law is now in effect that requires hospitals to make prices available online for various procedures. This cost transparency may be new to some patients and medical professionals, but seeking transparency is nothing out of the ordinary for members of health care sharing ministries (HCSMs).
The more than a quarter of a million members (81,000-plus member households) of Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org), one of the leading health care sharing ministries in America, have sought cost transparency in their health care for decades, and are getting it from some providers.
“Many Samaritan members are already getting true, upfront, transparent pricing from doctors who are more than willing to communicate their costs to health care sharing members,” said Anthony Hopp, Samaritan’s vice president of external relations. “Members of HCSMs already take ownership of their health care and often do not accept the status quo when it comes to costs and care. They shop around for the best care and options because of the freedom they experience from not being under the thumb of provider networks. Part of our model is helping members find and pay fair prices. We see this new law as a positive step that can help all consumers of health care.”
According to NBC News, hospitals already have to make prices for procedures available on request, but the new rule requiring them to post the information online went into effect Jan. 1. “The move toward price transparency sounds like a step in the right direction,” NBC added, “part of government efforts to encourage patients to become better educated decision makers in their own care and shop around for the best value for, say, a colonoscopy.”
NBC’s report also quoted a doctor who said that “almost no one pays the charges indicated on the price list” because the “real prices are the result of negotiations with insurance companies.” Plus, insured patients still have to work with their insurance companies to find out the bottom line for any procedure—what they pay after co-pays, co-insurance and/or deductibles.
Samaritan Ministries members are helped in their pursuit of price transparency by two services included in their membership. Access to MediBid and Healthcare Bluebook enables them to find competitive pricing for specific procedures directly from health care providers.
Samaritan Ministries’ hundreds of thousands of members overwhelmingly say they are “happily uninsured” and plan to stay that way. They appreciate that health care sharing through Samaritan has provided an affordable, Biblical and transparent model of health care, as well as a way for them to pray for and send monthly financial shares directly to their fellow members and bless them with encouraging personal notes and cards.
Each month, Samaritan’s growing Biblical community shares approximately $28 million in medical needs person to person, 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. This direct-sharing approach also allows members to not only help fellow believers with their medical financial needs, while connecting monthly through prayer, personal notes and cards of encouragement.