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!

 

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