When potential members are learning more about health care sharing ministries, they rely on many pieces of information, including costs, guidelines for sharing medical needs and testimonials from other members.
But what does the medical community think of health care sharing?
Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org), one of the largest health care sharing ministries in America, offers its 224,000 individual members the refreshing opportunity to apply the principles of New Testament living to 21st-century health care. Doctors’ families are among the 68,000 households who share one another’s medical expenses in this direct-sharing, household-to-household, non-insurance approach to health care.
Samaritan members pay a monthly share of just $495 for a family of any size, while individuals pay $220 and couples pay $440. Samaritan members also pray for one another and include notes and cards of encouragement and comfort with their monthly shares, which they send directly to other families.
“We find that the medical community generally appreciates the qualities and characteristics of health care sharing,” said Anthony Hopp, Samaritan’s vice president for external relations. “Members of health care sharing ministries tend to be engaged with their health care, so doctor-patient conversations are educated and thoughtful. Practices that treat members of health care sharing ministries are able to charge them less for services because they don’t have to bill third-party payers for inflated costs. And Direct Primary Care practices—or DPCs—are especially a good fit for health care sharing members, as we hear from doctors time and time again.”
Samaritan has profiled several doctors who serve their patients through DPCs, including Dr. Bruce Jung of The Doc Shoppe in Corbin, Ky.
“Members of health care sharing ministries, like Samaritan Ministries, benefit the most from our service structure,” Dr. Jung told Samaritan. “They automatically are classified as one of the nine exemptions to Obamacare and all its regulations. … We have a graph on our website, which shows that Christian families with both a Samaritan Ministries and a Doc Shoppe membership can save over $20,000 per year on health care costs compared to … health insurance plans.
“From my personal perspective as a physician, I have ‘dis-enrolled’ from Medicare, signed off of Medicaid and become ‘out of network’ with insurance providers,” added Jung, who is also a Samaritan member. “It is amazing the number of forms, statements and regulations that come to providers from these groups that are both too complicated to understand and equally as difficult to implement. We still happily see patients who belong to these groups and many patients who are electing to forego insurance altogether…”
Some Samaritan members are current or former medical professionals and love the way Samaritan fosters a Biblical community in a changing health care landscape.
Samaritan member Dr. Deborah Chisholm, who runs the Chisholm Center for Health, a direct patient care practice in Leroy, Ill., said, “My husband and I were introduced to Samaritan Ministries by a few different friends along the way. I must say, I was hooked after watching a few videos on the website! We knew very quickly what our monthly sharing amount would be, plain and simple. There were no complicated graphs or price tiers to navigate. My husband and I love the concept of sharing in real needs for others as they occur. We like having the opportunity to connect with other individuals or families at the time of their need, too, and to offer support through notes and prayers. And, we are so encouraged to know that our resources are being used for good and not for medical services we do not agree with, such as abortion.”
Minda from Florida added, “My husband (M.D. retired) and I (R.N. retired) highly recommend it! Samaritan Ministries has been a blessing on so many fronts—you become a member of a loving Christian community/family that will take care of you, your monthly (shares) are a FRACTION of the big insurance premiums and you send directly to a family in need, responsive phone assistance, informative newsletters—just to name a few.”
Today, Samaritan members share $23 million per month in medical needs, following the Bible’s teachings to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 | ESV).