For the Love of Samaritan Ministries Instead of a Traditional Healthcare Plan

Samaritan Ministries, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

When we began discussing Kirk quitting his full-time hospital job to do contract work, we knew we would need to figure out some form of healthcare. Our health insurance through the hospital was pretty sub-par (as it has been with every hospital he's worked at; go figure) and so our expectations were fairly low.

Samaritan Ministries is a Christian health care cost-sharing organization that is founded on the scripture Galatians 6:2: "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." In very basic terms, members submit their healthcare expenses and other members help pay them. Each month, we pay our "share" to another family by mailing them a check (for their healthcare costs) along with an encouraging note.

I LOVE that instead of sending our money to a giant healthcare corporation, which does not have our best interests in mind, I can send it to another family to help ease their burden. Our share is the "family" amount, and it's the same whether you have one child or ten.

We are currently the recipients of others' shares right now as we prepare for the birth of our little one next month. When I was newly pregnant, I sent Samaritan detailed quotes for the cost of birthing with our midwives and at the birth center. Our needs were then assigned to other members, and we began receiving checks in the mail. I was able to pay off our entire bill three months in advance of delivering! It was such a huge burden off my shoulders and meant I could focus on simply becoming a mom for the third time, instead of worrying about finances.

With my two oldest girls, I felt like I was constantly on the phone with the health insurance company. And even though we had "good" insurance, I still ended up with bills for each of them and myself of amounts in the $2-3k range. There is nothing worse than having a new baby and a stack of scary medical bills.

Samaritan requires members to front the first $300 of a new medical need. That means if you see the doctor or accrue a charge less than $300, you will have to pay out of pocket. But if you are able to get a cash discount of that amount or higher, they will waive it. Or if you have a homebirth (which tends to be less expensive in general) they will also waive the $300 initial amount. Since the cash pay amount at the birth center was about 40% less than the insurance amount, the $300 was waived for us.

I've paid for pregnancy-related lab work and chiropractic out of pocket, and I will also be able to get it reimbursed. It really is a blessing to know that I can get the care I need and not worry. And since there is no network for Samaritan, we are able to see any practitioners. I also love that if I call Samaritan, not only do I talk to someone knowledgeable, but their representatives are caring and compassionate as well.

A few things to note, however: you must be regular attendees of a church and have a church leader sign-of on your initial membership. If you're considering becoming pregnant, it's best to join Samaritan beforehand. They generally will not cover a pregnancy that happens before someone becomes a member. Not everything is covered, so it's best to read up on their guidelines before becoming a member.

As healthcare in the United States continues to change, I am confident that staying on Samaritan will be the best option for our family long-term. Caring for others' and their families is a tangible way I can love on my neighbors. Being members is truly in alignment with our family's values. If you're interested in doing the same and learning more about Samaritan, head here for more information. **

**If you decide to join Samaritan Ministries, we would love it if you mention us as the ones who recommended it. We will receive a small discount on our monthly share if you stay members for three months. But our recommendation is 100% our own; we truly love it!