September 13, 2021
PEORIA, Ill. — Genuine health care sharing ministries are faith-based, nonprofit, membership organizations that facilitate the sharing of medical expenses among their members. To date, some 1.5 million Americans have chosen to join health care sharing ministries to provide for their families’ health care needs.
True health care sharing ministries are not insurance and never advertise themselves as such. They work hard to explain to prospective members:
- The difference between ministry membership and health insurance
- How the ministry works
- Which medical needs are eligible for sharing under the ministry’s guidelines.
They also are available to answer any questions and concerns members or prospective members have.
Samaritan Ministries International is one such health care sharing ministry. For 27 years, Samaritan members have been dedicated to giving delivering authentic, compassionate, and personal Bible-based service in the name of Jesus Christ to enable and inspire members to care for one another’s medical needs through prayer, encouragement and financial support. Samaritan’s mission is to redeem health care by helping the Body of Christ love one another through sharing each other’s health care burdens by practicing authentic biblical community.
Genuine health care sharing ministries that meet the definition of an HCSM spelled out in the Affordable Care Act can produce their certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, either on their website or upon request.
Health care sharing ministries must obey the strong state and federal laws regulating nonprofit, tax-exempt charities, which are enforced by state attorneys general, state tax authorities, and the IRS. The Affordable Care Act and laws in 31 states have recognized that HCSMs are not insurance and have exempted them from counterproductive insurance requirements.
All health care sharing ministries, including Samaritan, are subject to consumer protection laws that prevent fraud and deceptive practices. Legitimate ministries diligently provide truthful and transparent information to the public and to their members. Any organization masquerading as an HCSM that violates those laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Samaritan Ministries is supportive of elected officials who prosecute deceptive businesses masquerading as ministries that are actually for-profit brokerage firms and affiliated entities. Samaritan will work in cooperation with any regulators and other policy makers in protecting the rights of Americans to choose legitimate health care sharing ministries as their health care solution.
Unlike health insurance, Samaritan Ministries has no limited enrollment period. 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 several 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.
- The monthly share has never exceeded $530 for a family of up to seven people or $555 for a family of eight or more. This contrasts with the average cost of health insurance in 2020, which was $623 per month for an individual and $1,779 for a family.
Samaritan Ministries gives people of Biblical faith an effective, Bible-driven health care community in which approximately $30 million in medical needs is shared person to person every month. Over the past 26 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $3 billion in needs while also praying for and encouraging fellow members through personal notes, cards and letters.
To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries International, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.