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We recently 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 and put it together in the following review.
Samaritan Ministries is pretty similar to all the other HealthShares as far as how it works. But we must say, we were very surprised at how religiously centered it was compared to ministries like Liberty HealthShare.
According to their website, they currently have over 80,000 member households which totals to more than 250,000 actual members. These members share about $26 million each month towards each other’s medical costs. Twenty-six million dollars a month seems to be plenty of funding.
Samaritan Ministries is a bit different from some other HealthShares in the sense that members send their money directly to their fellow members. With other ministries, say Liberty HealthShare for example, you would normally contribute a monthly share and then the HealthShare disperses your money to whoever needs it. But with Samaritan, you will actually send your money to the people that need it.
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! Well, kind of. You keep your money in an account dedicated to sending funds to members who Samaritan has assigned to you. But still, pretty cool!
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 of $400 or $1500—depending on your plan level. So, if you were to get a medical bill for less than the unshared amount, it would not be shared with other members. Anything over your unshared, but less than Samaritan’s per need sharing limit ($236,500–$250,000), would be shared with the member community.
Membership households are broken down into 4 different categories: one person, two-person family, three-to-seven person family, eight or more persons family, and widowed or divorced with children. Your household category will, of course, vary depending on the level of program you choose.
Your monthly contribution will depend on your household type, your chosen plan, and possibly your age—or the age of the oldest member of your family. Monthly contributions range anywhere from $100 for a spry, single youngster to $600 for a large family of eight with parents over the ripe old age of 56.
After the standard monthly contribution, there is also a “Save to Share™” program you can join. According to Samaritan “The Save to Share™” amount is an annual amount that participating members agree to set aside each year in the event that it’s needed for a catastrophic event. That amount never exceeds $399 annually for any household size. So, it’s safe to assume that if you are a Samaritan Classic or Basic member and you are not in the “Save to Share™” program you might be out of luck if your bills exceed the set sharing limit. This definitely doesn’t stack up well with other HealthShare plans.
It’s important to point out that the Samaritan Given plan, which currently is in an initial rollout stage and is not accepting new members, does not have sharing limits on eligible needs. In Samaritan Given members pay a monthly contribution and a percentage of all medical bills up to an annual maximum amount. Once the member reaches that annual max, the Samaritan community shares eligible expenses at 100%. Not too shabby.
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 the lower end unshared amount of $400, the fact that you can see any doctor, and that you don’t need to worry about networks like you would with insurance.
Some downsides the member mentioned are that routine visits can be pretty costly since they normally cost less than the unshared amount.
According to our source, members are not allowed to smoke, and they have a lot of “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. The fact that you get to control 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 contribution which is pretty cool.
Though it’s more expensive than some other HealthShares, it does seem like an excellent option for anyone who attends church regularly.
Are you a member of Samaritan Ministries? Please leave a review below so others can get a better sense of what it’s like to be a part of a Samaritan Ministries!
Talk to actual members