Ever considered affordable health care sharing in a world of soaring deductibles and restrictive health insurance requirements?
We answered that question, and many more in a live Q&A with Samaritan Ministries, one of our homeschool conference sponsors.
Established in 1994, the organization has celebrated 26 years of service to its members. As of December 2020, it consists of 83,990 households, comprising more than 269,000 individuals.
Many staffers at Samaritan Ministries are homeschoolers, and the organization supports HSLDA and other homeschool organizations nationwide.
One of those homeschool staff members, Cody DeWitt, is the organization’s manager of membership development and joined us on the Live Q&A.
“Health care sharing makes sense to many homeschool families, who are going a nontraditional route to education,” he said. Likewise, they see the wisdom and benefits to taking a nontraditional route to health care.
Here are just some ways that health care sharing and homeschool needs can complement each other:
1. A Biblical approach to health care.
Samaritan Ministries’ philosophy to health care is based on Scripture passages such as Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Each member sends a “Share” amount each month to other members with “Needs,” so that they bear one another’s financial and health burdens in a tangible way.
Because it is not considered health insurance, health care sharing doesn’t fall under typical insurance restrictions.
There are no out-of-network costs or assessments of applicants’ health risks, though there may be limitations around what can be shared related to pre-existing conditions.
Health care sharing is still recognized as a legal form of health care under such laws as the federal Affordable Care Act.
2. Affordability, especially for younger members.
New members pay an initial fee to join, and afterward pay a monthly share based on household size (regardless of medical history or other factors). You can learn more about monthly shares here.
3. Prenatal care and maternity needs, independent of family size.
Cody DeWitt says this method of health care is perfect for large families, since it addresses maternity needs with each new member of the family.
Maternity needs recognized by the organization include prenatal care, delivery, one postnatal well visit for the child, and miscarriage.
If maternity care providers will reduce charges under a prepaid bill plan, the organization will consider allowing members to publish their needs before the actual birth.
You can also find special provisions for home births under the supervision of a midwife! (These often go completely uncovered by traditional insurance.)
4. Provision for “the big stuff” such as chronic disease care.
One of the most common questions Cody DeWitt receives about health care sharing is, “What about the big stuff?”
Typically people are concerned that big-ticket items, such as cancer care or emergency operations, will go uncovered.
From his own experience, Cody is able to answer with a resounding yes, the big stuff gets shared too! When a family member received a cancer diagnosis, this was their first need covered by Samaritan Ministries.
The diagnosis led to more than $115,000 in expenses through operations, specialist services, X-rays and CT scans, and much more.
Throughout the entire process, the people in Samaritan Ministries helped provide financial support, prayers, encouragement, and other special gifts. (Cody shared his full testimonial during the session.)
Other questions answered during the Q&A
- I am nearing eligibility for Medicare. My insurance will go away at retirement. Can I benefit from Samaritan Ministries?
- As a member, if I need a surgical procedure, like repairing a torn ACL, how do I get coverage from Samaritan?
- How do you deal with emergency room visits?
- If I get treated by a “non-traditional” medical professional, are those services covered? Chiropractic? Acupunture? Naturopath?
- What about counseling services?
- If I do “tourism” medical care, with the significant cost savings, can travel expenses be included in our share?
We have updated this blog post, originally published in 2016, for timeliness and detail.