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Samaritan Ministries Review
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Samaritan Ministries Review

 

I recently had the opportunity to have a long talk with someone who has been a member of Samaritan Ministries for a couple years now. They requested to remain anonymous. But here is the review we were able to get from them:

 

 

Samaritan Ministries Review

Samaritan Ministries is pretty similar to all the other health sharing as far as how it works. But I will say I was very surprised how religious-centered it was compared to ministries like Liberty.

According to their website, they currently have over 64,000 member households which totals to more than 210,000 actual members. This adds up to about $23 million each month that is available to be shared for medical costs. And with only around 10% of members having a “Need” each month, there seems to be plenty of funding.

How Samaritan Ministries works

Samaritan Ministries is a bit different from Liberty in the sense that members send their money to their fellow members. With Liberty, you would normally contribute a monthly share and then Liberty will disperse your money to whoever needs it. But with Samaritan, you are actually sending your money to the people that need it, not Samaritan themselves.

However, one month each year, you are expected to send in your monthly share to the ministry to cover administrative costs. Other than that, you get to keep your money in your pocket! Pretty awesome!

 

Samaritan Ministries Plans

Before getting into the monthly share prices, Samaritan Ministries charges a $200 “start-up administrative fee”. You must still pay this even if you are re-joining the ministry.

It’s also important to note that Samaritan has an unshared amount of $300. So if you were to get a medical bill for under $300, it would not be shared with the members. Anything over $300, but less than $250,000, would be shared with the members.

After that, the membership types are broken down into 4 different membership types: One person, Two person family, Three or more person family, widowed or divorced with children. If you’re under the age of 25, you can get even cheaper prices though.

After the normal monthly share, there is also a “Save to Share™” program you can join. According to them “The Save to Share™ amount is an annual amount that members who participate in that ministry agree to set aside each year in the event that it’s needed. That amount never exceeds $399 annually for any household size”.  So it’s safe to assume that if you are not in the “Save to Share” program and you have bills that exceed $250,000, you’re out of luck. This definitely doesn’t stack up well with Liberty’s plans.

UPDATE: I originally made a mistake with my math and added the Save-to-Share amount into a monthly share when Save-to-Share is actually only an annual share. For one person, the Save-to-Share is only $133 a YEAR, not a month. So, you would just be setting this $133 aside and will be asked by Samaritan to pay portions of it every now and then to cover someone’s large expense.

Thank you to Rebecca for her comment below to help spot out this miscalculation 🙂

A members perspective

Overall, the member let us know that their “family has been very happy with Samaritan. They’ve been of great help through multiple needs”. The member really enjoys the low unshared amount of $300 and the fact that you can see any doctor and don’t need to worry about “networks” like you would with insurance.

Some downsides the member mentioned is that routine visits can be pretty costly since they are normally under the unshared amount. Members are not allowed to smoke and they have a lot of “restrictions on pre-existing conditions”.

 

Religious Responsibilities

This is something that I wasn’t familiar with since we don’t have it at Liberty. Samaritan requires that you attend church regularly and even have your church leader sign off on it. The church can be any denomination as long as it’s Christian. So if you attend church regularly anyways, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

 

Overall opinion of Samaritan Ministries

The member suggested, “for anyone who’s a Christian, I think Samaritan is hands down the way to go”.

The company also seems to have a lot of transparency. The fact that you get to keep your money lets you know that your money isn’t being used somewhere it shouldn’t. The members, NOT the board, get to vote on increases or decreases in the monthly share which is pretty cool.

Though it’s more expensive than Liberty Healthshare, it does seem like an awesome option for anyone who attends church regularly.

If you happen to have any questions about Samaritan Ministries or any other healthshare ministries, please feel free to contact me on Twitter or Facebook anytime! Thanks!

 

Healthsaring reviews

 

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Are you a member of Liberty Healthshare? Please leave a review below so others can get a better sense of what it’s like to be a part of a healthsharing ministry!

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Pros

  • Large and established

Cons

  • Religious Requirements

Overall review score

3.9
14 reviews

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Reviews

C
Carrie
October 13, 2019 @ 03:48
5.0  

We’ve been a member of Samaritan for over 5 years. It’s nice to be able to send money directly to someone with a medical need. Customer service prays with you! We’ve had 3 needs that were all filled in a timely manner. The process of turning in bills is ridiculously easy compared to dealing with insurance companies. We did have a little disappointment over a Special Prayer Need but not a big deal. We are also members of Save to Share. It’s nice to know believers are together, really supporting one another. Great job, Samaritan!!!

We’ve been a member of Samaritan for over 5 years. It’s nice to be able to send money directly to someone with a medical need. Customer service prays with you! We’ve had 3 needs that were all filled in a timely manner. The proce..
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Esther Bradley
August 12, 2019 @ 23:19
5.0  

I have been a member for over 20 years. Yes, when they were first getting started! It has been wonderful! We have had more than our fair share of claims. They have always responded with kindness. When I was in the hospital and the outcome was questionable, they took the time to pray and encourage my husband. It may take 2or3 months to get your money but that is a small price to pay for how much you save. It is a Christian organization and therefore has Biblical standards, which I appreciate. I can’t say enough positive things about it.

I have been a member for over 20 years. Yes, when they were first getting started! It has been wonderful! We have had more than our fair share of claims. They have always responded with kindness. When I was in the hospital and the outcome was ques..
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Grant Ward
June 18, 2019 @ 18:46
2.0  

I have been a member of Samaritan Ministries for 7 years. I have shared over $42,000 of needs with other Christians. Thank you Lord that I have been able to be a blessing to my brothers and sisters. Over the 7 years my family of 6 has had needs of less than $5000. Last winter my youngest daughter contracted strep throat 5 times. She has large tonsils and her Pediatrician recommended that she have her tonsils removed. To my shock, when I contacted Samaritans to set this up, I was told that I first had to beg family members and my church for the money first or pay for it myself. Wait, wha?!? I have contributed a lot of money into this system! I have a bad taste in my mouth to say the least.

After contemplation:
1. Why would someone who has been a faithful contributor be treated so poorly?
2. Is there corruption in their system? Are there people scamming their system causing the people who do the right
thing to be punished by Samaritans?
3. IMO a LOW PREMIUM with a $2000 deductible HSA is a better route than Samaritans but at this point in time, it
doesn’t exist.
4. If you are healthy, finding a way to self insure is a better way.

I have been a member of Samaritan Ministries for 7 years. I have shared over $42,000 of needs with other Christians. Thank you Lord that I have been able to be a blessing to my brothers and sisters. Over the 7 years my family of 6 has had needs of..
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Charlotte Ennis
April 2, 2019 @ 19:34
5.0  

We have been members of Samaritan for over 3 years. We save about $1,000 each month over Obamacare. We have had a couple of minor needs covered, and one major need. My child wound up in the hospital with a bill totaling over $9500. We were able to get discounts that brought the bill down to about $8,000. Every penny was covered by Samaritan. Because our discounts exceeded $300, the $300 deductible was waived too. Best of all, I was able to tell the doctors to do whatever they deemed medically necessary, because they were not constrained by what insurance would or wouldn’t cover. My child got wonderful care and recovered completely. One doctor remarked to me that it was “wonderful to practice medicine without worrying about an insurance company.” Samaritan staff were patient and kind as I submitted the bills. We love Samaritan.

We have been members of Samaritan for over 3 years. We save about $1,000 each month over Obamacare. We have had a couple of minor needs covered, and one major need. My child wound up in the hospital with a bill totaling over $9500. We were able to ge..
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Scott Lemieux
March 27, 2019 @ 22:15
4.0  

YOU ARE NOT ALONE – A great match for middle income families.
High monthly premium s and paying a huge bill over time for the birth of our third child made us sour on traditional 80/20 coverage. We obtained Samaritan, a great solution. 10 years, several $50,000 medical events and a load of regular family medical needs later, we are happy with Samaritan. Great transparency. Yes, you will save enormously monthly over traditional insurance. Bank the savings! Yes the twisted ankle, ear infection and routine items will cost you the first visit out of pocket amount. Need mental health benefits, go elsewhere. That’s why you saved. Know that you will have paper work. Know that the rules are there to secure the plan. They make sense. This is a take charge, prayerful program, really more of a community. Overall, excellent. A big advantage is the “need” approval for the ankle, stays open at full reimbursement over time. Share to save is a super.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE – A great match for middle income families. High monthly premium s and paying a huge bill over time for the birth of our third child made us sour on traditional 80/20 coverage. We obtained Samaritan, a great solution. 10 ye..
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Danielle G.
February 11, 2019 @ 22:17
5.0  

My family has been a part of Samaritan for over 5 years now. We have had several needs since then, from childbirth to shoulder pain. Most of our needs have been covered, although a couple have not. All in all, though, Samaritan beats Obamacare soundly. Considering cost alone (in monthly shares, Save to Share, and what we have paid out of pocket for unshareable needs), Samaritan was less expensive by far for us. The added benefit of sending shares directly to others and receiving kindhearted notes with needs checks is something we could never expect from traditional insurance.

My family has been a part of Samaritan for over 5 years now. We have had several needs since then, from childbirth to shoulder pain. Most of our needs have been covered, although a couple have not. All in all, though, Samaritan beats Obamacare sou..
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Mark Fitz
January 9, 2019 @ 21:04
5.0  

Our family started this a few years ago when the Affordable Care Act priced us out of the insurance market. Our rates for a family of three through ACA was over $2K per month with a $13K deductible. Our coverage at SMI was about $530/month (with save to share option) and a $300 ‘deductible’. In the first year of membership my wife got a herniated disc. I was concerned that they would find a reason to not share but that was not the case at all. The doctor said we should have surgery but was concerned that the insurance company would require us go through drug and physical therapy first. When the doctor/hospital realized we were going to pay within 30 days of service, we moved to the front of the line for surgery that week and an incredible 75% discount on the hospital expense. The list price for everything was about 90K but the discounts brought it down to $26K with all but $300 being paid by fellow members of SMI. Wow, we were truly blessed. If still under ACA not only would we be paying $18K more annually in insurance premiums, we would have also been out of pocket $13K for the deductible. I can’t say enough about this program. There is also very much a faith based aspect that helps put health care in perspective.

Our family started this a few years ago when the Affordable Care Act priced us out of the insurance market. Our rates for a family of three through ACA was over $2K per month with a $13K deductible. Our coverage at SMI was about $530/month (with sa..
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Crystall
December 26, 2018 @ 03:39
3.0  

I’ve been using Samaritan Ministries for almost two years. I’ve only ever needed to file a claim once and that went fairly smoothly. No complaints at that time. It took 2-3 months from my hospital date to get funds in. It took the hospital a month to send the bills. A month for SMI to get my need posted/shared. Another month to start getting funds to pay the bills. It went easily enough. And the customer service at the time was great.

However, there are some observations that make me question my membership.

I was originally referred to them through some friends from church. In the 18-24 months I’ve been with them they’ve made enough significant changes for me to consider leaving. As a married woman’s child-bearing age who pays as an individual (my husband gets fantastic insurance for himself and has pre-existing medical conditions that Samaritan ministries would never cover), I was greatly bothered when they changed their pregnancy policy within 6 months of my signup and then implemented those changes a few months later (apparently after people complained). I specifically called them when I signed up to make sure I’d be covered if I got pregnant. Six months later, they changed they’re policy. Now, you pay the monthly “pregnancy” fee, which is equivalent to paying for a couple, orneed to sign up your spouse (in my case this is useless because he wouldn’t be able to use the service) When I called to ask them about this, I got a curt explanation as to how pregnancy was a costly expense. Not terribly helpful and it felt like they were making decisions about pregnancies the same way health insurance companies do. It felt like being penalized for getting pregnant. Yes, pregnancy is expensive, which is why insurance companies don’t like to cover it either. I may be a rare case, because I have friends that are enrolled as a family and have had all five of their kids with SM, they love it, but the cost works in their favor.
Also, please note their policy on high-risk pregnancies or if you have any risk factors for one. Please read the guidelines carefully and DEFINITELY call before you sign up. Think ectopic pregnancies and complications associated with those risks, and what they will or will not medically allow with regards to the life of the mother. Be informed.

Second, adoption. If this is a prospect for you and your family, please contact them and ask them about what they will or will not cover with regards to adopted children and medical needs. To my knowledge, adopted children that had “pre-existing” conditions (whether you find out before or after you bring them home) will not have those needs covered (I had a question about adopting a child with special needs).

They’re clear that this service is not for everyone, and truly it’s not. They also aren’t insurance, so don’t expect there to be any guarantees of a need share being approved. It may not. If you’re healthy and need very little medical care, it’s probably great. If you have any kind of health needs going in, it’s pre-existing and likely uncovered. Yeah, there’s “special prayer needs” but there’s no guarantee of help.

It’s affordable compared to most health insurance options on the market, and if you live on “the bubble” the price makes sense if you don’t need a lot of care. It is nice to send and reveive prayer cards With your shares.

I’ve been using Samaritan Ministries for almost two years. I’ve only ever needed to file a claim once and that went fairly smoothly. No complaints at that time. It took 2-3 months from my hospital date to get funds in. It took the hospital a mont..
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Jamison
December 12, 2018 @ 06:02
5.0  

My wife and I have been members of Samaritan for six years now and have nothing but praise for how the ministry works. We have had three medical needs during our time with Samaritan – two pregnancies/births, and one emergency appendectomy. All told, about $98,000 in bills that were discounted or negotiated down to $54,000 — and every penny was covered by Samaritan. Other than our monthly shares, we ultimately didn’t pay a dime of those bills.

I’ve written extensively on our experience, going into much greater detail here: http://www.muskogeepolitico.com/p/samaritan-ministries.html

Samaritan has been a wonderful experience for my family, and I can’t recommend it enough.

My wife and I have been members of Samaritan for six years now and have nothing but praise for how the ministry works. We have had three medical needs during our time with Samaritan – two pregnancies/births, and one emergency appendectomy. All ..
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Sharon Mathes
December 4, 2018 @ 02:27
5.0  

We joined 3 years ago and it was the best decision we ever made. We have had 3 “needs” or claims. I small and two for orthopedic surgeries for our children. All paid! If you read the guidelines carefully and do your research there shouldn’t be any suprises. Previously we had normal high deductible medical insurance. After having claims denied, claims paid wrong, delays in payment, hours on the phone, never getting the same person twice with traditional insurance, we found Samaritan MInistries to be a breath of fresh air!

We joined 3 years ago and it was the best decision we ever made. We have had 3 “needs” or claims. I small and two for orthopedic surgeries for our children. All paid! If you read the guidelines carefully and do your research there sho..
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Caleb Shamp.
November 13, 2018 @ 20:59
1.0  

I joined almost a year ago. Worst decision I ever made. They find every reason not to cover you but have no problem taking your money. Unethical. To top it off, Marchello (customer service), belittles you, talks over you and makes unfounded accusations. They treated me like crap. Don’t go to them.

I joined almost a year ago. Worst decision I ever made. They find every reason not to cover you but have no problem taking your money. Unethical. To top it off, Marchello (customer service), belittles you, talks over you and makes unfounded accu..
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Zachary Schwartz
November 1, 2018 @ 06:03
2.0  

Price is not bad, with a per incident low out of pocket cost it’s easy to get to the point where you start getting reimbursed, however their new basic plan, I almost never get to. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m paying for, feels like nothing.

Transparency, haha, Within one month of having this plan they informed me of all these hidden rules. When I told them it was not in the guidelines what they were asking me to do (have doctors fill out “proof” forms) they said, “it would be impractical to make the guidelines as detailed as you are asking for.” I suppose they make their customers have all the transparency, by share your medical issues with everyone who is supposed to send you money.

Submitting claims: I guess it’s easy to snap a photo of your bill. But the form you must fill out is ridiculous. Names, addresses, comments and You must rate the providers, all required fields before you can submit the bill. Even though the bill must show an address, they require you type it in.

Reimbursement time; they say 2-3 months and that is when everything goes smoothly. I had a bill get flagged and they required I take a form back to my doctor to get signed for “proof.” It took 5 months to get money. When I complained and asked them were this is in the guidelines that I have to do this they said, “rain is inconvenient, but we just have to deal with it.”

Incredibly rude people to be called a “ministry”

Avoid at all cost

Price is not bad, with a per incident low out of pocket cost it’s easy to get to the point where you start getting reimbursed, however their new basic plan, I almost never get to. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m paying for, feels like nothing..
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christine
October 19, 2018 @ 00:00
5.0  

Our family of 7 joined in 2010, and never looked back. I am an insurance analyst. The owners of the agency I worked for looked over a SMI packet one weekend. The following Monday, both called it ‘genius.’ We’ve had over a dozen ‘events’ (claims), a couple running into tens of thousands of dollars. We have had nothing but help from SMI. We have never paid a co-pay, co-insurance, an out of network deductible or an in network deductible. Because cash is king, and we are offered deep discounts by our doctors who we choose without need of a referral, it just WORKS. Group members are motivated to seek discounts, because those are applied to our first $300 responsibility (which we have never had to pay, thanks to discounts!) Which keeps costs low for our entire community, and our doctors happy – because they can treat us any way they see fit, without carrier involvement and coding. My only regret is joining AFTER paying out of pocket for the privilege of home birthing 4 of our children, not covered by insurance. Because it’s fully covered with SMI. Join while you are healthy. Like traditional (affordable) insurance, cost shares are based on younger members paying their share, because their needs will be fully met when they arise, too. (Don’t wait to smell smoke to buy fire insurance, either.)

Our family of 7 joined in 2010, and never looked back. I am an insurance analyst. The owners of the agency I worked for looked over a SMI packet one weekend. The following Monday, both called it ‘genius.’ We’ve had over a dozen R..
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Rebecca
November 9, 2017 @ 00:34
4.0  

First, although your website required I evaluate Samaritan Ministries via the stars, I will not start my membership until 12/1/2017, so my review lacks personal experience. However, my own extensive research on sharing ministries in general and Samaritan Ministries in particular, as part of making my decision whether to join, provided the information for my Comment as follows: I’m afraid your understanding of the Save-to-Share funding process is in error, leading to your significant overstatement of a member’s monthly cost. If you’ll double-check their website, you’ll see that the Save-to-Share is not $133/month. It is $133/YEAR. You send your monthly share of (for an individual) $220 per month to the member whose need is being shared. And upon occasion, not every month, Samaritan Ministries will ask you to send a portion of the $133 which you will have set aside once for the year, to help cover someone’s large expense. If they “use up” all your $133, they won’t ask for more from you for the Save-to-Share needs until the next year, when you will set aside another $133. The members may vote to increase this $133 annual amount, just as they may vote to increase the monthly amount (e.g. the individual’s $220.). Samaritan Ministries will also REDUCE the monthly cost if there have been insufficient needs over a period of time to require that full cost. I hope this helps.

First, although your website required I evaluate Samaritan Ministries via the stars, I will not start my membership until 12/1/2017, so my review lacks personal experience. However, my own extensive research on sharing ministries in general and Samar..
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