Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sharing Each Others' Burdens: Samaritan Healthcare.

Until about a year ago Brendon and I have been on health insurance through his work. For us, it was super frustrating each time we needed to use the insurance for a major medical need, like say having a baby. Tons of bills come in, and you're supposedly paying a deductible and then your insurance is covering the rest or a percentage of it. In our case, we had a high deductible, and then our insurance paid everything over that, supposedly. In the end though we definitely paid more than our deductible for each birth because insurance decided certain things weren't covered, which seemed ridiculous. And on top of paying an arm and a leg per need, we were also paying a sizable chunk to insurance each month out of our paycheck, in addition to whatever his work paid, which I believe was about the same amount. The cost was crazy expensive in our book, and it was so vague as to what was covered (and a headache to gain clarification) and how much we would really end up paying for an accident or a baby's birth. Additionally we didn't love that we (and work) paid all this money to a company every month, and honestly we didn't know what they did with it. I mean clearly it wasn't benefiting us. And our prices were only raising each year. The laundry list goes on... Bottom line we were ready for something different.

Back in the fall, we decided to look at the Christian cost shares about which we had heard. By cost share, I mean that believers in Christ follow the example of the Acts 2 church, pooling our resources together to help whoever is in need. It's not a guarantee, but it has a very strong track record. And in our experience, insurance is definitely not a guarantee.

(By the way, these cost shares that I'll mention are expempt from the tax that President Obama placed on those not partaking in his healthcare plan; they count as healthcare - meaning no tax penalty.)

The two cost shares we looked at were MediShare and Samaritan Ministries. When we looked at MediShare, we honestly weren't impressed because it's modeled to look like insurance, and in case you didn't fully grasp, we were spent (literally) with insurance. Also our friends that were on it had a bad experience and had to wait 8 months to be reimbursed for their daughter's birth. I'm sure others have had a better experience, but nonetheless we decided against MediShare.

Then we looked at Samaritan. The way they are modeled is not like insurance, which was a plus for us. They send you a "need" each month and you write an encouraging note and check to that person to cover their medical need. (Beforehand the person with the need submits their bills, etc. I'll get to that.) We spoke to some friends of friends' who were (and are) currently on Samaritan who sang it's praises. They had over $64,000 in medical bills covered in full with Samaritan! Everything from children's births to a kidney issue in one of the children to an accident. We decided to go for it and give Samaritan a try! 

We have now been on Samaritan for almost a year. (It'll be a year in December, I believe.) We are loving it. We are so thankful to be able to send money directly to the person in need and to send a card encouraging them as well. We are also asked to pray for them, and what a joy it is to do so. We are thankful to have a personal connection with the other cost share members to whom we are sending our monthly share! 

And now that we have had a "need," I can speak to the other side of the equation as well. At the end of April, Brendon went to the ER by ambulance (middle of the night) for food poisoning. (It was bad! But clearly he ended up being ok!) 

By mid-May we were receiving medical bills. When we received them, I called the companies asking for a discount since we are considered cash pay. Everyone but the ambulance gave us 20-40% discount! Is it not amazing how much insurance increases healthcare cost? (By the way, seeking a discount is something you are expected to do, and it's super easy to do so. It was never a hassle for me.)

I submitted these new totals to Samaritan by the end of the month. In July our need was published (It takes a month), and checks came in for every penny that month! Because we were able to discount our bill significantly, the $300 we were expected to pay towards our need was waived. 

Samaritan was super helpful whenever I called with questions. It was truly a blessing to talk to them! They were also very clear on what to expect, who to expect checks from, etc. The process couldn't have been easier! The conversation was very personal AND personable!

This video explains more about Samaritan if you are interested in learning more -- 



We are so so please with Samaritan and thankful to be a part of this cost share! This is not a sponsored post by any means. I really just want to share our experience. However if you decide to join because of this post, please be sure to mention James and Ashleigh Lankford as your referrals. :)

Are any of you a part of cost shares? What's been your experience? 





1 comment:

  1. So thankful you posted this! In a couple of weeks, my job is changing, and I'm significantly reducing my hours. So, I'm going to be losing my benefits. I agree with you--we paid a ton last year in healthcare bills. Insurance pretty much ensured that we would be paying a lot! :) We were on Medishare for 3 months when we first moved here, but then I went on Blue Cross with work, so we didn't get a real experience, but 2 families we're close with (one of which is the Phillips) have been with MediShare for almost 3 years and have had a great experience. But now that I've read about Samaritan's Purse, I'll have Andy look into that, too! Glad it's been such a good experience for you.

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