January 25, 2021
PEORIA, IL — “Health care sharing is counterintuitive,” says Samaritan Ministries International (Samaritan, www.samaritanministries.org) Founder and President Ted Pittenger. “There are no guarantees. In its place comes trust … in God and the Body of Christ.”
Trust in God and the Body of Christ have been at the heart of Samaritan from its beginningin October 1994. Since that time, members of Samaritan have shared more than $2.3 billion in health care needs without using health insurance. The growing ministry helps over 270,000 individuals from more than 85,000 households receive prayers and encouragement from one another as well as financial help and fair pricing for their medical care.
Longtime Samaritan members insist that health care sharing is a better way of taking care of health care needs, even without the legal guarantees of health insurance. Illinois member Kelly Rutan joined despite the lack of a legal guarantee from Samaritan that her needs would be met. Her trust proved to be well-placed, even in the face of extremely expensive cancer treatments.
“We know the stability and the dependability of the members,” Rutan said. And it’s a “more responsible way to manage our own health,” she added, talking about the freedom Samaritan offers to visit whatever health care provider her family chooses.
“Participation in a health care sharing ministry includes responsibilities,” Pittenger said. “Members learn to negotiate lower charges for medical services, something people with health insurance rarely think about. But when you are responsible for how much other brothers and sisters in Christ will have to send, you become more aware of what you’re spending, whether it’s necessary, and whether the treatment is available elsewhere for a lower cost.”
That freedom to choose and the promise of regular encouragement impressed Jason Morris, Samaritan’s director of member experience. “It’s a better way to do things,” he said. “There’s the community element and personal responsibility.”
Morris said he took “great pleasure” in walking into a hospital after the birth of one of his daughters and paying a $7,000 bill with the cash he received from other members. He had two goals in mind. He wanted to see the dollars the hospital charged, and he wanted to show the provider that health insurance is not an indispensable element of health care.
“We had help, but there’s still that sense of, ‘I was responsible for this even though you didn’t think I was going to be,’” Morris said. “There’s something liberating about that.”
Through Samaritan’s effective, God-honoring ministry, thisgrowing biblical community shares approximately $30 million in medical needs person to person each month. Over the past 26 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $2.3 billion in needs while praying for and encouraging one another with personal notes, cards and letters.
To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries International, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Marjorie Pratt, 610.584.1096, ext. 107, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.