For millions of Americans who may want to choose a different approach to their health care payment plans during the current November 1-through-December 15 Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period, Samaritan Ministries International — one of the leading health care sharing ministries in the country — offers an effective, God-honoring, direct-sharing approach that is used by its more than 270,000 members, according to material shared with LifeZette this week.
As many people are considering new and different options for themselves during this current period, the ministry encourages them to ask questions about health care sharing — and to pray about whether membership in Samaritan Ministries may be is right for them.
Over 82,000 member households are sharing approximately $30 million in medical needs each month, the organization noted — person to person and family to family.
The group’s growing Biblical community has helped fellow believers with their medical needs for 25 years, the organization also indicated.
It connects them not only financially but also through prayer, personal notes, and cards of encouragement.
“With the open enrollment period beginning, some may still have questions about their health care options, and Samaritan Ministries believes those questions can lead them to something better than what they are doing now,” said Anthony Hopp, Samaritan Ministries vice president of external relations, in comments shared with LifeZette on Monday.
“Today, more than a quarter of a million people around the world are engaging in health care sharing through Samaritan because they appreciate the reasonable monthly shares, a choice of providers, transparency and prayer support, while sharing only in needs that don’t violate biblical principles,” he also said.
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One Samaritan member from Minnesota reported that his family discovered the health care sharing ministry three years ago — and said he wished they “would have done so 20 years ago.”
“We have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years on health insurance,” this man said, as Samaritan reported.
And they are “never going back,” he also said.
The organization, in an effort to offer helpful advice and information for health care consumers, suggested seven questions to ask when making decisions, which it shared with LifeZette and gave permission to republish here:
1.) How many options do I have through the ACA? Many states do not have ACA exchanges set up, or exchanges that were set up have collapsed because insurance companies have pulled out of them. Residents of those states who want to obtain insurance through the ACA must use healthcare.gov.
2.) How much will my health plan cost if I have to actually use it? To figure that out, you need to look not only at the amount of the monthly payment, but also what your out-of-pocket costs will be when you need to use your insurance. What will your deductible be? Then, how much of the cost would be covered once the deductible is satisfied? Ninety percent? Eighty? Less?
3.) Will I be limited to a network? Most, if not all, health insurance plans have their own network of physicians and facilities. If you want to be treated by someone somewhere who is not in that network — where you feel more comfortable or will receive better treatment — you may pay more. Samaritan members are not restricted to any networks.
4.) Do I want to be limited by a government system? When private insurance companies offer plans through ACA exchanges, there’s still plenty of government involvement. For instance, the ACA mandates that policies offer specific types of coverage, which can drive up costs.
5.) What are my premiums helping to pay for, exactly? Many health insurance companies — and, frequently, federal and state government plans — fund abortion, gender reassignment procedures, and other practices that violate biblical teachings. Thus, voluntarily paying into those plans presents an ethical and moral challenge for those who follow Christ. Samaritan members do not share expenses for any unbiblical practices.
6.) Will I receive more than just money? Spiritual support, in prayer and encouragement, is lacking in most private and government health insurance plans. Health insurance also depersonalizes health care by coming between the doctor and the patient. How comfortable are you with an impersonal third party deciding which treatment is needed or will be paid for?
7.) What other options do I have? Consider other ways to handle health care, perhaps by combining membership in a direct-care practice and lab- and prescription-discount services — in essence, creating your own custom health care plan.
Everyone’s decisions are personal, of course — consumers must always choose what is best for them and their families.
Samaritan points out that with its health care sharing plan, Christians support each other’s health care burdens — by sending monthly shares directly to fellow members.
For more information about the organization, click here.
The opinions expressed by contributors and/or content partners are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of LifeZette.