Healthsharing Reviews is not affiliated in any way with Samaritan Ministries and Healthsharing Reviews does not endorse any products or services offered by Samaritan Ministries nor is Healthsharing Reviews sponsored in any way by Samaritan Ministries.
We had a long talk with someone who has been a member of Samaritan Ministries for a couple years now. They requested to remain anonymous, but we were able to gather a lot of useful information for the following review.
Samaritan Ministries is similar to other HealthShares in how it works, but very religiously-centered.
According to their website, Samaritan currently has over 80,000 member households (totals to more than 250,000 actual members). These members share about $26 million each month towards each other’s medical costs.
Samaritan Ministries is a bit different from some other HealthShares; members send their money directly to other members. With other ministries, members’ monthly share is sent to the HealthShare, then dispered to whoever needs it. With Samaritan, funds transfer member-to-member.
However, for one month each year, members must send a monthly share to the ministry to cover administrative costs. Other than that, you keep your money in an account dedicated to sending funds to other Samaritan members.
Before getting into the monthly contribution prices, Samaritan Ministries charges a $200 start-up administrative fee. You must pay this even if you are re-joining the ministry.
It’s also important to note that Samaritan has an initial unshareable amount (IUA) of $400 or $1500, depending on your plan level. So, if you got a medical bill for less than the unshared amount, it would not be shared with other members. Anything over your unshared amount, but less than Samaritan’s per need sharing limit ($236,500–$250,000), would be shared with the member community.
Membership households are divided in 5 categories: one person, two-person family, three-to-seven person family, eight or more persons family, and widowed/divorced with children. Your household category will vary depending on the program level you choose.
The monthly contribution depends on household type, the chosen plan, and (possibly) the member’s age. Monthly contributions on Basic range from $100 for a spry, single youngster, to $400 for a large family with parents over 60. On Samaritan Classic, members pay up to $550 for a large family of eight.
After the standard monthly contribution, there is also a Save to Share™ program you can join. The Save to Share™ amount is an annual amount that participating members agree to set aside each year for a catastrophic event. That amount never exceeds $399 annually for any household size. So, if you are a Samaritan Classic or Basic member but not in the “Save to Share™” program, you might be out of luck if your bills go over the sharing limit. However, Samaritan has been around for a long time and has a large membership, so they must be keeping members happy!
You may notice the website includes a “Samaritan Given” plan. This is currently in beta rollout and not accepting new members.
Overall, the member that we interviewed 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 their unshared amount of $400 and that there is no provider network.
Some downsides the member mentioned are that Samaritan does not share costs for preventive care. According to our source, members cannot smoke, and Samaritan has many “restrictions on pre-existing conditions.”
Samaritan requires that you attend church regularly and even have your church leader sign off on it. The church can be any Christian denomination (with a few exceptions). So, if you attend church regularly anyways, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
The member we interviewed commented, “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. Members control their money and know where it’s used. The members, not the board, vote on increases or decreases in the monthly contributions.
Though it’s more expensive than some other HealthShares, it seems like an excellent option for anyone who attends church regularly.
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