Couple founded and directs Newlife International School of Midwifery
October 13, 2022
PEORIA, Ill. — International health insurance can be daunting and difficult to navigate, but many overseas missionaries have found that health care sharing is a simple and affordable solution that aligns with their religious beliefs.
Samaritan Ministries International (Samaritan, samaritanministries.org) health care sharing is a Biblical solution to health care that is not insurance. Samaritan members give one another authentic, compassionate, and personal care in the name of Christ to help with one another’s medical needs through prayer, encouragement, and financial support, no matter where in the world they might be.
“For 28 years, we have set out to glorify God by growing and equipping disciples of Jesus Christ to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love and care for their neighbor as themselves through our health care sharing model,” said Anthony Hopp, Samaritan’s vice president and chief purpose officer. “For missionary members who need affordable, reliable health care, Samaritan offers a Biblical approach that helps them to fulfill their calling in sharing the love of Christ to those who might not have heard the Good News.”
For example, in 1992, Matt and Krystina McNeil ventured out on a calling to be short-term missionaries in the Philippines.
“At the end of that first year, we really saw some amazing things God was doing, and we both felt that this was a calling on both of our lives and we should pursue it,” Matt says. “That was 30 years ago.”
During their first three years, Krystina volunteered to assist a missionary midwife who ran a birthing center based in her home, serving impoverished women. In 1995, the McNeils returned to the United States so Krystina could complete her studies to become a certified professional midwife (CPM), then returned to the Philippines.
In 2005, the McNeils founded Newlife International School of Midwifery (MidwifeSchool.org), where Americans, Canadians, and some Europeans — primarily young women — could come and serve as missionaries while learning how to become CPMs. The center provides comprehensive academic and clinical training and is an accredited midwifery education program.
Something the McNeils struggled with throughout the beginning years of their ministry was taking care of health care needs. God brought them to the perfect solution for their family when the McNeils discovered Samaritan Ministries 12 years ago and they have been members ever since.
“As missionaries, it is very hard to get health insurance overseas,” Matt told Samaritan. “There are organizations that provide it, but it is very expensive. When I looked into Samaritan, I really felt that it was family-focused, and I could tell by the way it was put together that a lot of prayer had gone into it and that there really was a genuine and sincere regard for the members.”
Samaritan Ministries has a long history of including members who travel overseas for both short-term and long-term mission trips and helping them coordinate health care sharing for foreign medical needs.
“We are delighted Samaritan members can help enable their work and ministry,” said Hopp. “In fact, Samaritan has always made the needs of families a priority, helping our members make the best health care decisions and negotiate the best prices — even 7,000 miles away from the United States.”
“The mechanics of how a need would work was an initial concern I had when we first considered Samaritan while living overseas,” Matt said. “Thankfully, the logistics were not complicated at all. When we had a need, we merely paid for the medical charges on our credit card, then the shares from Samaritan members were mailed to our U.S. mailing address. Our representative in the U.S. then deposited those checks into our U.S. bank account, which we used to pay off the credit card charges — all done online.”
The McNeils now recommend Samaritan to every woman who trains at Newlife International School of Midwifery to be an overseas missionary midwife.
“Through the years my family has had a few needs for minor surgeries, and the staff at Samaritan has been incredibly gracious in ministering to us and not just regarding us as a number or process,” Matt said. “We have been thrilled with it.”
Samaritan has a membership of 280,901 individuals from 83,032 households.
Samaritan has no limited enrollment period. Government exchange-based health insurance requires signups to occur only during open enrollment periods unless one qualifies for a special enrollment period due to a “life event” such as losing coverage, getting married, moving, or having a baby.
Samaritan Ministries health care sharingoffers additional advantages:
- No network restrictions. When medical care is needed, Samaritan members choose the health care provider, hospital, and pharmacy that work best for them.
- The direct-sharing approach allows members to not only help fellow believers with their medical financial needs but to pray for and connect with them on a regular basis.
- Monthly shares are hundreds of dollars less per month than insurance.