Not long after we starting using Samaritan Ministries for our healthcare needs, I wrote this post about them. We’ve now been members for a year and a half and had one large need shared with them. I wanted to share our current thoughts about SM and how the needs process worked for us.
First I want to start off with saying so far we only have one regret with our choice to use Samaritan Ministries. And this is it: we wish we had signed up as members when we first learned about them, three and a half years ago. Like so many of our other friends we talk to, we were afraid to make the switch from traditional health insurance to healthcare sharing. I hope if you are on the fence, this post will help sway you. It has been one of the best decisions we have made as a family.
Here are some quick things you should know that we are often asked or have greatly appreciated about this company.
1. If you use Samaritan Ministries you will receive a waiver from participating in the Affordable Healthcare Act. You will not be penalized for not having healthcare.
2. Our money is not going to support procedures that go against our personal biblical beliefs, such as abortions, etc.
3. To submit a need, you will call into Customer Service and they will send out a Needs form for you to complete and send all bills back to the office with. At the end of every call we have had for this, the Rep has prayed with us for our need.
4. Every month along with your statement of what member you will be sending your monthly shares to, there is a prayer guide. This prayer guide lists a different member’s prayer needs for every day of the month.
5. Along with that, you also get a newsletter with excellent health related articles and information about amazing things other members are doing. I really enjoy reading these articles every month.
6. Dental and vision are not sharable unless they are the result of an accident. For example, when our oldest slipped in the tub and chipped half his tooth off, that is sharable. A routine cleaning is not.
There is so much more, but the rest of this post I want to share how our need processing worked. In December of last year we were surprised to discover we were expecting baby #3. With our last two pregnancies the cost of the births had been a financial strain, even though we did have health insurance for the first one. I was excited that this time we wouldn’t have to worry about that.
With SM, if you are already a member when you become pregnant, your complete standard pregnancy medical costs are sharable, minus the first $300. BUT if you do a home birth, like we were already planning, that $300 is also sharable. Sweet!
(As a side note: if you are already pregnant when signing up your pregnancy medical costs can also be shared, but will be done on a prorated scale, determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy. And one more thing, things can be shared for medical costs related to adoption. Yet another pro over health insurance.)
This was the first need we had since signing up so I wasn’t sure of all the ins and outs of the process. It was very simple. I called and as described above, they generated a form to be mailed out and prayed with me over the phone. The Rep was very pleasant, even sharing that his family had recently also found out they were expecting their third child due not long after ours.
Once the form arrived, I filled in the required information and made copies of all the bills accumulated so far. You must mail the original bills in with your completed form, so you will need to make any necessary copies for yourself. The originals will not be mailed back to you. The last page of the form requires the signature of your pastor. It is simply confirming you are still a member of your congregation. Your pastor will know you have a health need because of this, but it is up to you how much you would like to share as the specifics are not listed on this sheet. Obviously ours was of joyous news so this was not an issue, but for anyone not wanting to share the intimate details of a health issue, that is up to you.
It takes approximately two months from the time you submit your need to the time you will start receiving money in the mail. We submitted in February and our need was published in April. It became exciting to check the mail. Not only did we receive checks from people all over the U.S. helping us pay for this pregnancy, but almost every one included a personal note sharing their excitement with us for this new baby and their prayers for a health pregnancy.
In our account online there was a checklist of each member we should be receiving money from and how much they should be sending. As each check came in, I had to check off that we received it and if a note was included. This is important because in order for this system to work, everyone has to follow through with sending their money to the right people. This is SM’s way of making sure that happens so they can take action where needed should someone not follow through. For this pregnancy we submitted bills three times and had no problems the first two times. The third time, one check came a week late, but it did come. I don’t know what happens if someone doesn’t send a payment. I have heard their membership is canceled. However I haven’t researched this in the guidelines, so if that is a concern for you, please do your own research there.
And that was it, easy, easy!
If you have any questions about Samaritan Ministries, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below or send me an email. And if you do decide to sign up please list us as your referral, we get a pretty sweet discount after you have been a member for three months.