When Health Insurance Costs Escalate, Where Can Americans Turn?
As ACA Open Enrollment Looms, Samaritan Ministries Still Offers Health Care Sharing through a Household-to-Household, Non-Insurance Approach
PEORIA, Ill.—Over the past year, and in the seven years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, many Americans have seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket, their choice of doctors narrow, and the quality of their health care options decline.
In the face of this changing health care landscape, many have turned to Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org), one of the leading health care sharing ministries in America.
More than ever, especially as the open enrollment period (Nov. 1 through Dec. 15) for health insurance approaches, Samaritan Ministries is reminding Americans about its viable, affordable and God-honoring opportunity for Christian families.
Samaritan members Philip and Amanda in Texas wrote that, as a self-employed couple with a growing family, health care was a major concern.
“We struggled for years to afford health insurance premiums, and then the ever-rising deductibles became impossible,” Amanda said. “Finally, our insurance company informed us that our plan would be canceled. The replacement offered would not even be accepted by most providers in our area! We prayed for an answer to our problem and joined Samaritan. What a blessing!
“Our needs have been met both financially AND spiritually,” she added. “We no longer feel the panic of how we would pay for a large medical need. We now feel peace where there was so much stress. I have shared my experience with so many people, and a couple of my siblings have joined. The cards and prayers are so wonderful. It’s amazing to know people across the country are praying for you.”
Anthony Hopp, Samaritan’s vice president of external relations, said many members report they joined the Samaritan family because health care costs were increasing, and then discovered the unexpected blessing of being a part of a Biblical community.
“We hear from so many new and existing members who say that the current state of health care essentially forced their hand and caused them to make a change,” Hopp said. “But what they discover once they are a part of Samaritan Ministries is that Christians bearing one another’s burdens, praying for each other, and sending cards and notes of encouragement along with their monthly share is what sets health care sharing apart.”
John and Kirsten from Missouri also reported that they were paying more than $800 per month in health insurance premiums. With their family still growing, they knew their health care costs would soon increase even more.
“We began to look for something that aligned better with our values as a Christian and would be more economical,” they wrote. “From the beginning, we liked what we read, saw and heard about Samaritan Ministries. After praying, we decided to take a step of faith and try it out. It was the best decision we made in regards to our health care. Instead of being locked into a network or certain group of doctors, we have been able to shop around for the most affordable doctors in our area, saving us literally hundreds of dollars.”
Tina, who is also from Missouri, said, “Samaritan Ministries is the only way to go.”
“When our only option after my husband retired was (insurance), our monthly bill was over $1,400 with a deductible of $6,000 each,” Tina said. “We are not on any medications so we would be broke paying for something we hardly ever use. This is the only way to go.”
Samaritan Ministries recently introduced a new membership level called Samaritan Basic, which features a lower monthly share amount coupled with a higher initial unshared amount, giving both current and potential members another way to make the best health care sharing decisions for their families.
Monthly shares for Samaritan Basic are determined by age and household size and start as low as $100 for one person, $200 for two persons and $250 for a family of any size. Some guidelines are different for Samaritan members participating in Basic, such as the fact that the members who choose the Basic level will have only 90 percent of their qualified expenses shared by other members after they meet an initial $1,500 unshared amount per need. Those who are interested in Samaritan Basic may contact Samaritan Ministries for details or visit this link.
All members, however, regardless of their membership level, will be a part of the same Biblical community that will “bear one another’s burdens” as the Bible instructs in Galatians 6:2. All members will still receive shares directly from other members, along with notes of encouragement and prayers.
Every month, Samaritan members—70,000 households and more than 229,000 individuals—give directly to their fellow members who have qualified medical needs. Currently, this Biblical community shares about $25 million each month in medical needs.