Saturday, March 14, 2015

Samaritan Ministries works: our experience

As I have shared several times on my blog, my wife and I are members of Samaritan Ministries, a Christian health-care sharing ministry. A non-insurance alternative to traditional health insurance, health-care sharing ministries like Samaritan Ministries are exempt from the mandates and penalties of ObamaCare.

Health-care sharing ministries have some similarities to "normal" health insurance, but some very big differences, as well. Each involves a monthly cost, costs and payments for specific healthcare needs, and some paperwork. Health-care sharing ministries differ from insurance in a legal sense, as they are completely voluntary and not binding like insurance policies (see the legal disclaimers here). In Samaritan Ministries' case, we send our monthly "Share" directly to individuals with a "Need", as opposed to sending it to a "middle-man" to be distributed. It's fairly easy to understand the setup, and really not any more complicated than insurance (one could argue it's much simpler).

For my wife and I, Samaritan Ministries is an affordable option, with the added benefit of not subsidizing actions and lifestyles that go against our beliefs (like abortion, for instance). Also, it's a blessing to help other Christians in their time of need, and receive the same in return.

To keep this post shorter, I'm not going to go into all the specific details on how Samaritan Ministries works, but you can read more of what I've written here. On that page, I answer questions like why we do health-care sharing, who can be members, how the shares/needs process work, and what the cost is.

For the nearly two years we've been members, we have been blessed to have no medical needs. Our involvement with Samaritan Ministries has been limited to our monthly Shares, which we have mailed to members across the country with needs. Needs we have helped to cover have varied from heart conditions, a child with a broken leg, and costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth. Samaritan Ministries sends us the member's name, address, a description of their need, and we are encouraged to send a card along with our check, as well as to pray for them.

All of that has changed. We are now getting to see the other side of the process, as my wife is expecting a child, due this summer. Yes, big changes are fixing to come to the Faught household! 

When a member has a medical need, you request and receive a Need Processing Form from Samaritan Ministries. You then fill out the form, which includes details about the medical need, a list of medical bills, and a section for your pastor to fill out verifying that the need is valid and vouching for your character. 


Once filled out, you mail the form to the Samaritan Ministries headquarters for processing.


It usually takes about 30 to 60 days before your Need gets assigned to members for sharing. For maternity needs, if you have a bill or even an official estimate of the bill, you can submit your Need even before the bill is officially due. 

For example, my wife and I were able to get our bill up front with the costs of the services we will be using. Even though the invoice is not yet due, we were able to submit it to Samaritan Ministries to have the need shared "ahead of schedule", so to speak. If we have additional costs that were not included, we can submit an "Add-On Form" with the other bills for another round of sharing. Our need met the requirements for 100% of the bill to be assigned for sharing (no $300 personal responsibility).

Once your Need has been received and processed by Samaritan Ministries, they will send you a list of which members will be sending their Shares to you, and how much those Shares will be. 


The next step comes when those Shares land in your mailbox. The above picture shows a some of our first Shares. As you can see, checks were not all we were sent - we also received cards and notes. The personal touch is really neat to receive - Samaritan Ministries is about more than just the monetary side of things, it's about Christians caring for other Christians.


In order to maintain accountability for sharing members, Samaritan Ministries provides a checklist of who is supposed to be sharing toward your need. This allows you and SMI to track and ensure that your need being met. When you receive a check, you enter that information in (either online or via a mail-in form), indicating who sent a check, when you got the payment, the check number, and even if they sent a card or note. If a member fails to follow through on their responsibility to participate, another member gets assigned to your Need.

We have been very pleased with our experience with Samaritan Ministries, and I hope that this has been helpful and informative for you. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have a dedicated page on this blog focusing on additional details about Samaritan Ministries that I did not cover in this post.

Currently, there are well over 130,000 individuals participating in Samaritan Ministries, including nearly 2,300 here in Oklahoma. For more information about why they do, visit SamaritanMinistries.org. You can view videos, testimonials, Frequently Asked Questions, the Guidelines, the Application Form, and much more.

If you are interested in joining, I'd be more than happy to talk with you. You can call me at (918) 869-6000, or email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com. If you decide to join Samaritan Ministries and list me as the referring member, Samaritan Ministries gives my wife and I a credit. Obviously, that's some incentive, but regardless of that, Samaritan Ministries is a great organization. We have had a very positive experience with Samaritan Ministries, and hope that you do, too.


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