Have you been considering a health share ministry like Samaritan Ministries? Here’s my honest Samaritan Ministries review.
A little over a year ago. we said goodbye to traditional health insurance and joined a health share ministry. (Not sure what a health share ministry is, or wondering if a health share ministry is right for you? Check out this post.)
Our decision mostly hung on the fact that we were previously offered health insurance through our employers. When we decided to start/buy our own businesses, we had to find a cheaper/better option than what was offered to us on the government’s marketplace (it would have cost us $1000 per month and almost a $20,000 deductible!). We researched several different health share ministries and ultimately decided to go with Samaritan. Here are all of the pros and cons, and why we ended up choosing them over some other great options.
MY HONEST SAMARITAN MINISTRIES REVIEW
Looking for an honest Samaritan Ministries review? Here’s mine– all the pros and cons you should consider to decide whether Samaritan ministries is right for you.
One of the things we like best about Samaritan Ministries is that it’s SO much cheaper than traditional health insurance. We pay $530 per month for our family of 3 (soon to be 5) and you can have up to 7 family members on this plan to keep your rate at $530. On a marketplace plan, our monthly payment was going to be twice as high!
In addition, instead of paying an insanely high deductible, you are responsible for $300 per need that you have. For example, Danny recently had to have an endoscopy performed. For all of this doctors visits and the actual procedure, we racked up bills close to $2000. We paid $300 and the rest was reimbursed to us by Samaritan.
It’s not confusing.
Another thing I love about Samaritan Ministries is that nothing about what is covered is confusing. They have a short guidelines pamphlet that is very upfront and clear about the types of things that can be shared by the ministry and what things cannot. In the past, when I’ve had to deal with insurance, it always felt like a gamble figuring out whether something was covered or not. I’d spend forever pouring through our policy and frequently having to call to try and figure it out. I hated that! If I am paying into something, I should at a minimum know what I’m getting out of it.
At Samaritan, the guidelines for what’s covered are remarkably short. They are written in plain English. They aren’t hard to understand. And if something weird ever does come up, you can call, message, or e-mail them and they give kind, clear responses. I love it.
You’ll have support.
To that end, another thing I have to mention in this Samaritan Ministries review is how much amazing support you’ll have if/when you have a medical need arise! To me, this is what really separates Samaritan from some of the other health share ministries. I had a good friend on Samaritan and she raved to me about how much support and help she was given to get her medical bills reduced and covered by the ministry. That has totally been my experience as well.
I was very nervous about doing everything right and getting my maternity bills covered. I called soon after finding out I was pregnant and one of their staff walked me through exactly how to submit my bills to the ministry and let me know that if I wasn’t able to negotiate a bill, they could do it for me and that I shouldn’t stress about it. You just don’t get that kind of hand holding with a health insurance company.
You get major cash discounts.
Another thing I can’t neglect to share in this Samaritan Ministries review is how sweet it is to score discounts from doctors and hospitals for paying cash. If there is one thing that almost everyone (doctors and patients included) can agree on, it’s that dealing with insurance can be a nightmare. Because of that, doctors offices and hospitals are often willing to give you a discount that they normally would have to insurance companies (think like 30%) to you as a cash paying patient.
Recently, I was hospitalized overnight for some complications with my twin pregnancy. I had someone from the billing department come speak to me about financing everything since we didn’t have traditional health insurance. I asked for any discount they could give since I was paying cash. Hospitals are notorious for overcharging patients and for making ambiguous charges. Those all go away when you are paying cash when you can look through an itemized bill and ask about each thing you’re charged for. My $6000 bill became a $2000 bill, all because I was a cash paying patient who knew to ask for a discount (which you are instructed by Samaritan). Samaritan will foot the entire $2000 bill for me under my maternity need since I’d previously paid $300 at another doctor’s visit. Pretty dang sweet.
Even stuff that isn’t covered might be covered!
Another thing that really sets Samaritan apart from other health share ministries is the fact that even some things that aren’t normally covered under the ministry can still be covered in gifts from other people in the ministry. When you have a health need arise that isn’t covered (like a pre-existing condition or dental needs) the ministry will send out a special needs request, where people in the ministry can donate to you (basically like it’s own gofundme). I’ve had a couple of friends that have submitted these type of requests and had their need almost completely covered!
It wouldn’t be an honest Samaritan Ministries review if I didn’t share the things that I don’t like about Samaritan. So, while I’ve generally loved my experience with them, here are some cons you need to consider.
Waiting to get reimbursed can feel like forever.
It wouldn’t be an honest Samaritan Ministries review if I didn’t bring up the fact that it takes a couple of months to get reimbursed for your health needs. While the process is pretty simple to get reimbursed– all you do is submit your itemized medical bill and provide a little information about the service, it does take a couple of months to get paid from the ministry. I’ve found that asking the doctor’s office or hospital to put us on a payment plan has been a way to get around fronting the full cost of the bill while we’re waiting on payment from the ministry. This obviously helps you pay much less up front. Even so, the fact that you have to wait a couple of months to get reimbursed is definitely something you should consider in deciding whether Samaritan is right for you.
There’s no legal obligation to reimburse you.
Another con that is certainly worth mentioning (especially given my background as a lawyer) is the fact that unlike insurance companies who are legally obligated to pay for some of your health needs, health share ministries like Samaritan aren’t legally obligated to reimburse you. There’s no contractual obligation, and that can be a scary thing.
That being said, Samaritan Ministries has been around since the late 1980’s, has close to 250,000 members, and is among the top four biggest health share ministries out there. They aren’t looking for ways to not reimburse you. In fact, in my experience, the opposite is true– they are looking for ways to help you.
You have to be Christian to be accepted into Samaritan.
In order to be accepted into Samaritan at all, you have to be not only religious, but a Christian and agree to a lifestyle that some might find restrictive (no smoking, very limited alcohol consumption, no sex outside of marriage). Just something to consider.
If you are considering a health share ministry at all, you can rest assured that Samaritan is not only a safe bet, but a really great option. If you do sign up, I’d love it if you’d list me as your referral (I’m Amber Masters).
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