What’s the State of the Health Insurance Mandate?
In Spite of Confusion about the Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate, Nearly a Quarter of a Million Samaritan Ministries Members Honor God and Bear One Another’s Medical Burdens Through Health Care Sharing
PEORIA, Ill.—Is the Affordable Care Act individual mandate a thing of the past—or isn’t it?
The Trump administration has been communicating that Americans won’t be burdened by the requirement to purchase health insurance or face a penalty tax as of 2019. But health care experts say that while the penalty has been zeroed out, the language still remains in the law, and another Congress could move to put it back in—at even higher rates. Some states are also considering mandates of their own.
Despite the confusion about the “State of the Mandate,” members of Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org), one of the largest health care sharing ministries in America, and other similar ministries, have been exempt from the individual mandate because they offer ways to enable their members to care for and share in the medical burdens through a Biblical community.
“A common misconception is that people become members of health care sharing ministries to avoid paying the penalty of not having health insurance under the individual mandate,” said Anthony Hopp, Samaritan Ministries’ vice president of external relations. “While health care sharing ministries are exempt from this mandate, thousands of Christians become members because they want to honor God through their health care and lift up their brothers and sisters in Christ by helping them with their medical burdens. For 23 years, Samaritan Ministries has enabled our members to share with each other directly, send personal notes of encouragement and pray for one another. Avoiding a costly government mandate may be an ancillary advantage to being a part of a health care sharing ministry, but we find that our 246,000-plus individual members choose health care sharing for so much more.”
Each month, Samaritan Ministries’ 75,000 member households pray and send notes, cards and monthly financial shares directly to other member families. In this way, Samaritan members share $26 million in medical needs each month through an effective, affordable and God-honoring ministry for Christian families.
Members regularly report back to Samaritan Ministries that their experience with health care sharing is better than they ever imagined it could be.
- “I love Samaritan because it allows me to rely on Father God, not father government!”—Paul, Oklahoma
- “We have been with Samaritan Ministries for three years now. When our basically healthy family’s insurance went up to over $1,380 a month, we looked for other alternatives. We are only sad that we did not join Samaritan much earlier. I had a kidney stone episode last year and received every penny (for my bills). I also love knowing that I am sharing my monthly share with people who share my values.”—Susan, Virginia
- “My family has been a member of Samaritan Ministries for two years. We love it. My only regret is that I did not know about this wonderful ministry sooner!! I live in New York and my Affordable Care Act plan was costing $2,000 a month with a $6,000 yearly deductible. I now pay about $500 a month with Samaritan, and I look forward to paying my monthly share, sending a note and praying for the person who is ill or the new baby born, etc. What a blessing Samaritan Ministries has been!”—Marian, New York
- “We are just so happy to be a part of this ministry. We love the way you do health care—getting to bless others with the cards and reading stories about the way people have been blessed. I’m getting choked up just talking about it.”—Phillip and Connie, Kansas
In late 2017, Samaritan Ministries added a second membership level, Samaritan Basic, which offers a lower monthly share than the original Samaritan Classic, coupled with a higher initial unshared amount, giving both current and future members another option for choosing what they believe is best for their families—and their budgets. Monthly shares for Samaritan Basic start as low as $100 for one person, $200 for two people and $250 for a family of any size, depending on age. Some guidelines differ between Samaritan Basic and Samaritan Classic; contact Samaritan Ministries for details or visit this link.