This past year we were faced with paying about $300 more per month for health insurance premiums than the year prior and the coverage got worse – not better. Money is tight and we just couldn’t imagine paying more in health insurance premiums than we do on our house payment. But what were the other options? We avoid being reliant on the government so the government healthcare options weren’t for us. I had been hearing ads on the radio about medical bill sharing for Christians and I did some searching on three different organizations. We ultimately chose Samaritan Ministries.
They have a pretty detailed guideline that explained eligibility and how the process works as well as things that are not covered. Right off the bat I felt a little better knowing which medical stuff would not be covered – some other organizations didn’t offer this information. So what is publishable?
At Samaritan, a medical need involving less than $300 is not shared among the members. When the need goes over $300, the amount from $300 to $250,000 is shared. (The amount of a need that exceeds $250,000 can be eligible for sharing if the member also joins Samaritan’s Save to Share™.) If a member household has more than three shareable needs in any 12-month period, the first $300 is also shared for the fourth, and any subsequent needs in that period What’s different about this organization is that if a medical “incident” is less than $300 it’s not publishable. –Guideline
I took Jackson to get his hearing checked this past year. I started at Savannah Speech and Hearing where they have free screenings on Thursday mornings. They weren’t able to do a complete screening since he had fluid in his ears. We decided to get his hearing and ears checked at Georgia Ear Nose & Throat. They started with an extensive hearing test. First they put little buds in his ears and turned on a machine.. I have no idea what it did. lol Next he went into a booth and did an actual hearing test where he had to respond when he heard things in his ear buds. He passed both! Then we saw Dr. Poole. He checked his ears and showed us (my mom went with me) his ear canal on a screen. Everything went well and I only had to pay $150. Since this was less than $300, I didn’t submit a need. I was surprised at the cost. I did shop around and I found a HUGE difference in price. On the low end, $150 and on the high end about $600. If we chose the $600 route, our need would have been published but I would have been doing other Samaritan Ministries members a disservice.
I do expect to submit a need in the next few months so I’ll definitely write a follow up on how the process goes.
Every month we get a prayer guide and newsletter as well as information on who to send our monthly share to. This is the part I enjoy, Instead of sending our $405 to an office, we send it directly to another member. We are asked to pray for them and encouraged to send a letter with the share. I look forward to sending out that check and note.
There are requirements involved before you are accepted as a member. You must be a Christian and live a Christian life and attend church regularly. A pastor had to sign off for us during the application period. There is a one time $200 application fee and if you check their website, you’ll find the monthly share costs for you. They change depending on your family size and age. The monthly shares range from $140 to $405.
Samaritan Ministries has been a real gift for our family. We are spending less on medical expenses and we are even finding ways to be more frugal with our medical decisions. Last year, when I had that miscarriage I had 3 different ultrasounds all in the first trimester. We were billed for two of those ultrasounds because they weren’t covered by our insurance. If we were part of Samaritan Ministries back then, I probably would have only opted for one ultrasound and closer to the end of the 1st trimester.
What I’ve learned since choosing Samaritan Ministries
Health insurance has made our health care so much more complicated! Just the other day, I took Jackson in for his well-visit and I paid a flat $100. They did a basic eye check and I mentioned to Jackson, this is just like how we did it at the eye doctor. At the mention of that, the nurse went to go ask the office a question. Another nurse told me that I might be billed since some insurance companies only cover one eye exam per year or something like that. As soon as I said I was self-pay, they went ahead with the eye exam. I wonder how much I would have had to pay for an eye exam that wasn’t covered under my insurance…
Honestly, it’s so nice not dealing with an insurance company. Last year we had an instance where Jason had to go to the ER and the insurance denied the claim. After talking with them multiple times and getting the hospital to send a new adjusted claim, they finally paid but good gracious, we were still dealing with it about 6 months AFTER the ER visit.
Choosing Samaritan Ministries?
If you decide to choose Samaritan Ministries, tell them Karoline & Jason Ussery sent you. We’ll get a referral credit. 🙂