Generation Cedar

Dropping our Blue Cross Insurance was the best thing we ever did–financially and ethically. Not only were our premiums becoming increasingly expensive, but we were still paying large sums out-of-pocket, all while much of our money went to greasing the great big Insurance Machine.

We knew about Christian medical sharing programs, but were a little concerned they might not work as well in real life. Not to mention, I had been pregnant several times when we considered joining and thought our maternity care would not be covered. (It was.)

We joined Samaritan’s Ministries about 4 years ago 8 years ago and have been beyond excited about the way it works and how it has benefited our family.

What is a “medical sharing program?”

Samaritan’s is comprised of over 30,000 families who have agreed to pay a monthly “share” which is distributed among needs for that month.

If you have a medical bill over $300, you submit your “need” to Samaritans along with copies of your bill(s). They distribute the expense among as many families as it takes to cover it. You will then receive checks from individual families (usually along with an encouraging note) for part of your submitted need until full amount is received.

Thus far in our experience with Samaritans, we have had our submitted medical bills covered 100% every time. We never had that experience with regular insurance companies.

What do you tell the doctor/hospital?

Samaritan’s provides you with a membership card which you can present at the time of treatment. You are considered a “self-pay” patient which hospitals and doctors actually prefer, since it alleviates the red tape of bureaucratic insurance companies. As a cash-pay patient, many bills are automatically reduced by more than half. This is because there’s an absurd dance that occurs between health practices and insurance companies; the health practice over-inflates the bill because the insurance company is going to deny a large percentage of it. With cash pay, it’s no-nonsense and you just pay the actual charge.

Does it work when there is a large medical expense?

Yes. We really got to see Samaritans in action when my father had a heart attack in 2011. Also a member, my Dad had a near-death experience when he had a massive heart attack and we rushed him to the ER. His bills exceeded $100,000, and every penny was paid by Samaritan’s members.

Consider that if they had still been on their former insurance which only paid 80%, they would have had to pay $38,000 just on the price their self-pay was. With insurance, the actual amount would have far exceeded that number and their out-of-pocket would as well. You aren’t just saving on premiums.

You can even opt to pay extra and increase your share coverage to a million dollars.

How much does it cost?

A family pays a monthly share of about $400-500.

Another amazing thing…

In our newsletter each month there is a section for “special needs” which includes certain medical needs of members not covered by Samaritans because they are pre-existing. Members are offered the opportunity to give, in addition to their regular share, to these families to help cushion the expenses.

One month we gave $25 to such a need–an expensive operation. Several weeks later we received our check back. The note accompanying the check read that they had received more than they needed to cover the bill and he was actually having to return money to different members!

I was speechless.

Samaritan’s isn’t only an efficient, well-oiled machine that members can feel secure about, it’s a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ coming together to meet one another’s needs, just as Christ mentions in Scripture. So you can submit needs that aren’t covered and they still stand a good chance of being paid.

They have my highest recommendation.

Oh, and one more bonus: if you refer me, I get a credit on my next share amount. Which is also good news for you if you join. When you start sharing your positive experiences (and you will!), you’ll save more too.

*You must be a Christian and member of a church to join.

Read more here!

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13 Responses

  1. What scares about this plan is that the don’t cover preexisting conditions. My daughter has Apert Syndrome and needs a surgery every few years, and therapy etc.

  2. I love the concept of Samaritan, and we were members for awhile, but this is not an automatic fit for every family. Our needs (mostly a pregnancy) were prorated every single time, and we only recieved about 80% of the amount needed. We knew this was a possibility going into it, but it was hard not knowing how much would be “covered” and figuring out how to make up the difference. We did ultimately have to leave because at the time (don’t know if this has changed or not), they did not allow sharing for mental health needs. I would strongly encourage anyone considering this option to make sure you research well and ask lots of questions.

    1. Mental health, vision coverage, and dental are not covered. Samaritan Ministries’ goal is not necessarily to cover every health-related bill that you might ever encounter (like a health insurance company would), but rather to allow believers within the body of Christ to assist others in covering their major medical needs. If you have a mental health need, vision problem, or dental issue that you need help with, you can request to have you need made known, and if another believer feels that the need is necessary and it weighs on their own hearts, they may choose to cover your need anyway!

      Samaritan Ministries requires a different mindset from the typical dependency on health insurance. It would be best if you save up small amounts at a time to save for things like regular dental cleanings, regular health checkups, regular expected vision coverage, and mental health visits that you foresee coming. However if you are willing to set aside a savings fund to be prepared for those things, Samaritan Ministries is a really great option to be able to love and serve others within the body of Christ, and allow others to serve your unexpected and unplanned health needs.

  3. I also hear the problema with the pre-existing conditions not being accepted. My friend´s children are diabetic, and they would not cover the treatment.

  4. So is it like “Major Medical”? Or is it for everything; dental, vision, preventative, etc..? I actually think $400 sounds high if you low income.

  5. We have loved SM, even when our need was prorated! It has been a tremendous blessing. We greatly valued the prayers, and notes of encouragement after our 5th baby was born. During this time of greatly compromising churches where it has been near impossible to find a church that isn’t involved in major heretical teaching, we do wish that we could use fellow believers to hold us accountable to obedient living rather than having the SM requirement to attend a (disobedient) church. (I know I must sound like a picky whiney Christian, but truly, we don’t leave our church easily or carelessly, but with much forbearance and grieving). After much prayer, we left our church this Sunday after hearing weekly scripture twisting, and are going to be doing a house church, trusting God to provide like-minded fellowship.

    SM does allow for house churches as long as there are other members to allow for Biblical accountability. If you think to pray that God might provide fellowship for us, we would be grateful!

    SM is great for our growing family, and their newsletters are reason enough to sign up!

  6. We have also been Samaritan members for over 4 years. Joining is one of the best decisions we’ve made. We’re not paying for abortions and contraceptives or other medical procedures/prescriptions that we believe are unbiblical. We are sharing needs with other Christians instead of putting our trust in a huge corporation. It feels more like trusting God than trusting in men. We’ve had all of our needs met and have been able to help others have their needs met. We use the prayer calendar every day so we can help in that way, too. It’s a wonderful organization.

  7. I never knew that being a member of a church was a requirement. We have been attending a church for the past 10 months, but the church doesn’t have “members” but regular attenders. Does anyone know if this would count?

    1. Yes I think it would. My parents were members of Samaritans without being official members of their church. As long as the pastor can sign and testify that you are a member (by whatever definition).

  8. We joined Samaritans last fall and have loved it! My husband’s job supplied us with great coverage on medical insurance but we didn’t like that we were supporting practices that went against Biblical truth (like abortions). We love the connection with other members through notes sent with our share. We recently had a home birth with our fourth baby and every expense (including my doula) was covered. We were so thankful as our old insurance would not have covered anything. We are currently developing our own company and, Lord willing, will be self employed in the near future. Samaritans will continue to be a great blessing!

  9. For those wondering about dental coverage, many universities with dental hygiene programs have free cleanings available to the community a few times a year. If your child or yourself needs extensive dental work (such as braces or wisdom teeth surgery) you can see if your state university has an orthodontist or oral surgeon program that can offer you the service discounted by around $1500, give or take. With vision and mental health, there are many free clinic options available as well. Look into people who are willing to treat you pro bono as well. God bless you all!

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