Medical sharing programs instead of insurance??

Discussion in 'Other Conversation' started by mommix3, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. mommix3

    mommix3 Active Member

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    Just wondering if anyone here uses these programs.. Samaritans, medishare, ect.. Hubby is self employed and I really don't want to pay his hard earned money to a company that's not christian and supports things I don't agree with.. I would much rather my money go directly to someone who is needing it.. Not to mention the fact that prayer is also a HUGE part of these types of programs.. I'm very interested in them.. If you use these or another similar program, will you share your experiences?
     
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  3. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    Not meaning to pour cold water on the idea, because I think they are a great idea, but surely, in light of the ACA regulations that kick in today, such schemes will soon be illegal. If so, I would think twice about joining a scheme that may not be around for much longer.

    Assuming for the moment they will continue, the one thing about which I'd be very careful is covering catastrophic health conditions. Honestly, there's no real way other than insurance to deal with such situations.
     
  4. aggie01

    aggie01 New Member

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    Actually Samaritans is not a scheme, and they are exempt from Obamacare. If you are part of the health share you do not have to pay the tax either. It is a great alternative. We are most likely going to switch over to them at the beginning of the new year. We have several friends who are part of Samaritans and love it. I have not heard a bad thing about it, and after extensive googling I have not found a bad report about it either.

    The only thing that worries me is that they require you to have a pastor to sign off on the sheet, and we do home church and don't know how they will deal with that.

    They really only deal in the big things all the small stuff is left up to you. Honestly we are paying 600 a month for our family and that is going up, according to the insurance company because of the new regulations. So we can cover lots of little things and just want coverage for the big stuff.

    It isn't insurance with a legal obligation, but you have to go off of the trust of other Christian believers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  5. aggie01

    aggie01 New Member

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    I think that there will be a ton of people switch over to it after the law takes full effect.

    I should add that when my daughter ended up in ICU and the hospital for 2 weeks with organ failure etc. It cost us over 10K with fairly good insurance, that we pay $600 a month for. ( we are self employed too)
    With the Samaritans it only cost my friend who had a baby with some major complications, including surgery and after care only $300.
     
  6. mommix3

    mommix3 Active Member

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    Steve, from what I understand, the medical share programs are exempt from the new law.. It's insurance after all, just doesn't come from a company, but from the body of believers.. We know one couple who uses this, they suggested it to us over a year ago because we couldn't afford health insurance and my husband has some major medical issues and is in need of surgery that we can't afford to pay out of pocket, but would be exempt because of pre-existing conditions.. They said that they were helped out with a procedure using this program.. I think it's a GREAT idea.. it's more personal and you know where your money is actually going.. You can even send cards and letters to the people who are posting their needs.. :) I'll pray about it and talk with my husband some more. It will be much cheaper than if we were to purchase insurance from an insurance company.. I was hoping that someone else had experience with it besides the ones mentioned above.. I've heard nothing but good about this though.. From the couple at church and all the reviews.. Nothing negative at all.. Medishare, I'm not sure about. They seem to be the same, but don't know anyone who is currently a part of the program..
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  7. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    We are part of Medishare. And, as Aggie says, it is also exempt and won't have to pay the fine (uh, excuse me, "tax"). They also have a program that encourages you to lose weight; both dh and I are on it. If we are able to get down to a certain weight, our shares will decrease about $80/month. But we've only been on for a few months, so I really don't have much to tell you about it!
     
  8. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    If such programs are exempt, that's great.
     
  9. eyeofthestorm

    eyeofthestorm Active Member

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    We participate in Samaritan Ministries. I'm not sure about MX3's comment that it's insurance, I believe (but could be wrong) that legally it is not considered insurance. However, participants are exempt as the other posters have stated.

    We switched because we believe in the premise. The lower cost is nice, but I have to tell you -- each month, we write our check directly to the participants who have a published need that month.

    Steve, if you aren't familiar: Each month, we write a check made out to a participant, NOT the ministry (once a year, we make one payment to cover administrative costs). Our months share is set based on our family size. Even when we've had months that are tight financially, it feels really good to write that check to a family who needs it, knowing they will get all of it, rather than some large insurance company. We are also asked to pray for each participant, to send a letter (you know, with a stamp) expressing our support and concern, and we receive a monthly calendar with daily prayer requests for ministry endeavors as well as participant health situations.
     
  10. mommix3

    mommix3 Active Member

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    you r right... it's NOT insurance.. It's a sharing program based on biblical principals.. TOTALLY NOT insurance.. I found out last night that my husbands uncle is part of it and he had knee surgery and it was 95% paid for through contributions.. AWESOME!!
     
  11. MinnieMouse

    MinnieMouse New Member

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    That sounds like such a worthwhile way to participate in other's lives and health and to also cover yourself. I love it!

    My husband is retired Army so we have military insurance for the rest of our lives but they keep raising our costs and cutting providers and benefits so we could find ourselves in need of other coverage in the future (God forbid) and I will remember this option. Thank you for sharing about it!
     
  12. sixcloar

    sixcloar New Member

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    I am considering this, too. I currently have no insurance, and when checking the cost of Obamacare (which I do not want and will choose to pay the fine vs. enrolling this year), the premium would be more than adding me to dh's --which we can't afford.
     
  13. JosieB

    JosieB Active Member

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    I know a couple of people on these programs. They seem to love them.

    We have insurance through hubby's work, but, God forbid he ever looses his job again, we'll be signing up for a program like this rather than opting for free government healthcare.
     
  14. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    So what happens when the condition is catastrophic and treatment costs a huge amount (such as a heart transplant)? I understand how this might work when the cost of treatment can be shared among a reasonable number and a personal link is established, but catastrophic conditions are something else altogether. Does the scheme pay for catastrophic insurance on behalf of members, for example?

    Also, what happens when someone takes obvious advantage of the scheme? Who decides what is a genuine need versus someone trying to "milk the system"?
     
  15. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    No such thing. The premiums are high.
     
  16. sixcloar

    sixcloar New Member

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    There is nothing free about the ACA. While some states are expanding Medicaid (free), those who enroll in Obamacare will pay premiums. Those in the middle class with private insurance are expected to see premiums 60-100% higher than what they have been paying. ACA is not free government healthcare. It is a government mandate requiring all citizens to have (buy) health insurance.
     
  17. eyeofthestorm

    eyeofthestorm Active Member

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    Well, with Samaritan Ministries, there are two levels of participation. The first is your sort of basic office visits, routine treatments. The second level is more like "catastrophic coverage." There is a slightly higher (very slight) increase in our financial commitment (averaging to less than $100 per month).

    In addition, each month in our mailing, we also are notified of individuals who experience health related costs that are not "publishable" (covered). For example, dental work. We have the option to send those individuals a small amount if we choose and have it available.

    My understanding is that Samaritan Ministries has been able to meet the needs of participants. The month before we joined members had joined to cover the costs of a bone marrow transplant. And, there is no "maxing out" coverage, or lifetime payout. So long as the funds are available and the condition is publishable, the plan is to support each other. There have been a couple months since we've joined where there were only enough participants to cover, say, 85% of the expenses. So, everyone covered received 85% of their need.

    I'm not clear on what you're getting at here exactly. If you mean defrauding the system, I am confident in the administration of the organization. You can't just call up and say, "We went to the ER last night, the bill was $XXXX, you have my address." There are, you know, doctors and billing divisions of hospitals and medical practices involved in the whole process. I expect that when one contacts the administrative offices, it's clear what documentation is needed. Honestly, the last couple times we had to deal with ERs, hospitals, and the like, I had paper coming out my ears.

    Or do you mean people who join but don't pay? Well...you don't get to participate. You lose your approval to participate. (I"m trying to avoid the phrase, "kicked out," because I don't think that encompasses the spirit. It's more -- you live up to your commitment, or you don't participate.)

    There are some conditions that are not "publishable," and they do ask that you not get pregnant before you have participated for a full year. Some people might take issue with that; there are comparable programs that specifically serve people of varying tenets (I know there is at least one Catholic medical sharing program).

    Frankly, now that most institutions and practices are gearing up for the new system, I'm not sure what will happen when we explain we'll be paying the bill cash. However, I recently learned that a surprising number of physicians in our area have converted their practices over to "concierge" medical service (flat fee for a year of office visits).

    Steve, if you're really curious, I strongly encourage you to contact Samaritan Ministries by giving them a call. The first call I made, they were very thorough. I had several misconceptions after reading their website -- not that the site is unclear, but I really had difficulty wrapping my mind around how this was a very different process than insurance.

    For what it's worth, we've both (my DH & myself) been self-employed for a year. My husband is currently contemplating employment with someone else, but we have agreed: if he takes that job, we intend to continue with Samaritan Ministries rather than use the potential employer's insurance offering (which we haven't even looked at). Medical sharing is just something very different.
     
  18. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    The reason for my interest, and playing devil's advocate a little, is that I see the current situation as an opportunity for Christians to serve. It's no accident that most hospitals are called St. John's or St. Thomas' or Methodist Hospital. In the past, when the general population, and the vulnerable in particular, have suffered, churches saw the situation as a call to action. No one assumed "the government will fix it." It's a national disgrace that millions are without medical coverage, and it's also a disgrace that the majority are content to ignore the needs of the most vulnerable in society - poor, mentally ill, immigrants, etc.. The argument often put forward against serving sacrificially is 'fairness', but since when has serving others been 'fair'? Since when has salvation been fair? We don't help only those who deserve it, but we offer grace to those who do not - even when it hurts our wallet.

    Maybe such sharing schemes can be today's equivalent to building hospitals. If so, the church will have to unravel its unfortunate links to politics, come together as God's people, and focus on serving. For it to work, though, we'd have to open up these schemes to everyone, not just to verified church members. That, in turn, would require mechanisms to ensure the scheme is not undermined by those looking solely to take advantage.
     
  19. mommix3

    mommix3 Active Member

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    I know at least two doctors who accept this.. I'm not sure how it works when you go in, but they are listed providers.. They are also christians.. This is what we will be doing.. Hubby and I have talked about it a lot lately, and have decided that it's the best thing for us.
     
  20. eyeofthestorm

    eyeofthestorm Active Member

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    Steve, I received a mailing yesterday (separate from our newsletter/monthly information about where to send our share) about a new opportunity -- I think I'd call it an outreach -- that Samaritan Ministries is offering. It's called The Morning Center (it appears to be mobile), and offers free prenatal care to women in "needy" neighborhoods (not clear on the definition of needy).

    Thought you might find that interesting.
     
  21. sixcloar

    sixcloar New Member

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    I just looked through the website to get more information about joining. The monthly contribution ($370 for a two-parent family) is more than we can afford. :(
     

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