Biblical and Affordable Alternatives to Healthcarethis post may contain affiliate links.
Affordable and Biblical Healthcare
With the rising cost of healthcare these days, many of us are looking for more affordable alternatives. Premiums are doubling for countless families, out of pockets costs are higher than ever, and the endless paperwork is frustrating.This is why we are so thankful that a few years ago, we made the switch from traditional healthcare to a Christian healthcare sharing program.
There are three main healthcare sharing programs that I know of: MediShare, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Samaritan Ministries. I am going to tell you about our experience with Samaritan Ministries so that if you are seeking an insurance alternative, perhaps our experience can help you in your choice.
First I will say, hands down, without a doubt, switching to a Christian healthcare sharing program was a decision we don’t regret and, in fact, we are incredibly grateful that we made. So whichever company you choose, I am definitely in agreement that a Christian healthcare sharing program is a good choice.
We chose Samaritan Ministries a few years back when my husband decided to become self-employed. Traditional insurance was just too expensive for our family at the time, especially with the uncertainty of beginning a new chapter in our lives of self-employment. I had heard so many positive things about SM and not one negative experience, so we ultimately chose their plan. Between the three major groups out there, SM seemed most affordable for our family.
What is Christian Healthcare Sharing?
Christian healthcare sharing programs have been around for many years, but I think they are becoming much more widely used these days, especially with the state of insurance at present. Basically, these plans are not traditional insurance at all. They are based on Christians sharing each other’s needs.
Samaritan Ministries states:
Health care sharing is an arrangement whereby Christians share, to assist one another with medical expenses through voluntary giving. We are not licensed or registered by any insurance board or department since we are not practicing the business of insurance. We do not assess applicants’ health risks, because neither the ministry nor the members are assuming financial liability for any other member’s risk. Unlike insurance, the focus of Samaritan Ministries’ need sharing is not on what you might receive financially if you have a need, but on how you can help others with the needs they have right now (Acts 20:35).
Samaritan Ministries emphasizes certain Biblical principles that we believe are basic to the life of every believer and thus are foundational to the effective function of our health care sharing ministry:
- Jesus Christ is the only adequate Provider for every need we have. He is the One Who created everything, and He is the only One Who has enough resources to meet every need. No human organization is large enough to do this—no company and no government. He gives some of His provision through human channels, but He is ultimately the only One we can trust.
- A medical need (or any other need) involves more than money. The physical world is not all there is. Human beings are more than a collection of cells. We are made in the image of God and have needs that go beyond our physical bodies. When we have a medical need, there is more involved than money or mere physical healing. Samaritan members pray for one another for all aspects of members’ needs, and we hear daily from members with needs telling how God has answered these prayers.
- Believers in Jesus Christ are responsible to first use the resources He has given us to meet the needs of ourselves and our families. When a need occurs that exceeds what He has provided, other members of the Body of Christ should show His love by using the resources God has given them to help in the same way they would want to be helped.
- The local church should be the next “line of defense” to provide for the needs of its own members. SMI is intended to support and supplement this work of the local body, not replace it. We seek to avoid undermining what should be done locally. We also depend on the leaders of the local church to provide accountability for the SMI members under their care.
- God created man as His image bearer and the crown of His creation. Right worship of God requires respecting His image in all people for all of life, including health care. The Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder,” requires the preservation of human life, and the subduing of all passions and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices which tend to the unjust taking of life. We must live according to Biblical ethics in all aspects of health care.
So, at the very core, we using a biblically-based program makes sense for us. We know our money is going directly to brother or sister in Christ that is in need. We are not paying the insurance companies monies that will possibly be used for things we do not agree with. Our money goes directly into the hands of the body of Christ.
How Samaritan Ministries Has Worked For Our Family
Since joining SM a few years back, we have had two major needs published. Both needs were met easily and the process was simple. We submitted the appropriate paperwork to SM and within 1-2 months, we were reimbursed through member’s shares directly to our home. There is something about receiving a handwritten note and a card from a member with their gift that is truly a blessing. Certainly quite different from traditional insurance. Knowing that our family was being prayed for was priceless as well.
How We Handle Preventative Care
Since SM does not include preventative care, initially I was concerned with the costs of well visits, immunizations, etc. for our family. However, when we did the math and realized how much we were saving on premiums, out-of-pocket costs, etc. we still came out ahead. It was easy to put the money we would be paying for those things toward well-care. Most practitioners will automatically give us a discount for paying cash as a self-pay patient. I did run into trouble with our pediatrician’s office at the beginning, who did not understand the self-pay model at all, however, that just prompted us to find a new doctor. I am thrilled we did! We actually found a faith-based family medical center that does not accept traditional insurance! They are a direct care model and it is wonderful. Truly a Godsend! They spend so much time with you, never under an hour, and treat you as a whole person, not just an insurance number. Since they do not work with insurance companies they can spend the time with you that they want, and their goal is to actually keep you from visiting so much! They aim to keep you healthy.
The direct care model works by having us pay a monthly membership fee to the doctor’s office and then all of our appointments during the month are included, plus blood draws and other procedures. It is an AMAZING model and we are thrilled to have one in our area. Plus, they are faith-based which is even better!
For times when we have had to run to a doctor off-hours (urgent care) or even an ER visit, we always receive a discount for paying cash. Often it can be 75-90% It blows my mind why anyone would have traditional insurance when you can save so much more with a Christian healthcare sharing plan, plus knowing that our money is only ever used in ways that agree with our ethics and morals is so important.
If you would like to know more visit the websites of these three programs:
(they all are similar, but have a few differences in how many is collected and sent, etc.)
If you choose Samaritan Ministries, my family would GREATLY appreciate you putting down in your membership form that The DeBeus family referred you. We can earn referral credits for our future needs! Thank you so much!
Email me anytime with questions, or comment below! I’d be happy to help your family make the switch from traditional insurance to a biblical alternative.