In Mathew’s Gospel, Jesus spoke his apostles and told them When the Son of Man comes in his majesty to render the final judgment on all of humankind, he will say to the chosen ones on the right hand “I was sick, and you took care of me,” and to the condemned on his left, he said “I was … sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.”
The care of the sick was an essential role within the early church. The care of the sick was a role carried out by the church deacons and widows under the leadership of the bishop. This was not just limited to the Christians but was a service offered to the broader community.
As society progressed and became more complex, a more formal approach was taken, and non-enclosed orders such as The Daughters of Charity were formed to provide nursing services. Hospitals were created under the leadership of a bishop. Over time city authorities began to take over the management of these institutions, but churches remained involved.
It was not only the Church of Rome that took on this role but as other denominations grew, they also continued with the care of the sick, founding numerous hospitals throughout the world. These church hospitals continued right into the 20th century, but during this period, state/city-run institutions became the primary medical service.
As medicine became more complex and expensive, in some countries, National Health Services were formed and paid for out of taxation. In other countries, insurance companies were the primary funding resource for expensive health care.
With insurance companies becoming more profit-orientated and health care prices rising in those countries without comprehensive state healthcare, the church once again became involved, and several new faith led community organizations have been founded to allow church members to support one another in times of medical need. Samaritan Health Ministries is one such organization.
What is Samaritan Ministries?
Towards the end of the 1980s, Ted Piienger became involved with a Christian health care sharing ministry, and he became intrigued by how this concept could be developed and expanded. After a lot of prayers and thought, he launched Samaritan Ministries International, which in 1994 began to share medical burdens. His concept was a health care sharing organization that operated on biblical principles—continuing the work of the early Christian churches.
Samaritan Ministries operates on a democratic basis, with most of the board being placed there as a result of elections. All of the leadership shares one common purpose, to honor God and facilitate a Biblical community through health care. The running costs, expansion, and development of the organization is funded by putting aside one month of the household shared sums. It is independently audited every year. The organization is based in Illinois.
Samaritan Ministries believe that healthcare embraces emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial aspects. Members assist one another through prayer and encouragement, as well as financial support.
Top Questions about Samaritan Ministries
Perhaps the best way of explaining Samaritan Ministries is first to take a look at the questions that are often asked by the general public. In this section, I will be covering the top 20 questions that are asked.
1) Is Samaritan Ministries insurance?
While at first glance, Samaritan Ministries might appear to be offering a health-insurance product, they are not. Health Insurance companies are regulated by each individual state in the USA and have a degree of protection for the customer. Health – care sharing ministries, however, have no such regulation and are unable to make any promise or guarantee to the consumer. Members simply share each other’s health care bills after the event. In theory, a situation might occur, with a pandemic or major incident, that there were not enough funds to assist everyone. Samaritan Ministries seemed able to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, but theoretically, it could happen, and consumers would not be protected.
2) Any complaints against Samaritan Ministries?
It is difficult to discuss individual complaints, or even allegations against just one health care ministry, because of confidentiality laws. However, I think it is more productive to look at health care ministries as a whole when answering this question. According to the website “addvisory.com,” who has produced a report on this subject, there is an increasing number of complaints against healthcare sharing ministries, and it appears to be worrying regulators.
A report for the Wall Street Journal states that ministries are not subject to any state regulation and are also exempt from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This includes the essential healthcare benefits. This is a set of ten categories of service that health care insurance plans MUST cover. Healthcare sharing ministries can choose whether or not they cover these ten categories or not. The problem seems to be that people are confusing ministries for insurance companies and are assuming that these categories are covered when they frequently are not. Because of their Christian ethos, they also do not include abortion services and some types of birth control.
More members are filing complaints (mostly because they have failed to understand what ministries are and what they offer), and this is one reason why we are doing this series on the Healthcare sharing ministries, to educate the public. Ministries are very good at what they do, but the public just has to learn to read what is offered and not just make assumptions. Healthcare sharing ministries have responded to the claims.
Samaritan Ministries spokesperson stated that they make attempts to make it clear what the distinction between the Samaritan Ministry and health insurance is. We always try to explain we are not insurance.
3) What are the Samaritan Ministries guidelines?
Samaritan Ministries have very comprehensive guidelines that cover a wide variety of topics. I see a minimal point in reproducing pages of this information here. You can access the guidance in PDF format here.
4) Samaritan Ministries and Other Similar organizations Compared.Samaritan Ministries | Medi-share | Liberty Healthshare | CHMThe Company
Samaritan Ministries is a charity. Formed in 1994 and has over 75,000 families signed up as members. They are NOT an insurance company.
Medi-share is a not for profit business formed in 1993 with over 300,000 members. They are NOT an insurance company.
Liberty Healthshare was formed in 1995 and had over 239,000 members. They are NOT an insurance company.
The Beter Business Bureau at the time of writing has an ALERT against Liberty Healthshare who currently have 48 unresolved complaints against them. In the last three years, the BBB has had 734 complaints against this company. They have currently listed the company as Not Rated as the company is still dealing with a number of unresolved ratings
Samaritan Ministries When you visit a doctor, you have to self pay Samaritan only gets involved when issues become more serious.
Medi-share You get a virtual doctor free using Telehealth (video or phone). If you need/want to visit a doctor’s office, then you will pay a $35 fee.
Libert Healthshare does not have a network of doctors. Visit the doctor to show your card, and they will bill direct. You will need to pay their AUA direct.
CHM does not have a network of doctors. Pay yourself after asking for a discount.
Samaritan Ministries With doctor visits being self-pay, it is up to you where you go. Only when your total costs reach the agreed limit, do Samaritan help.
Medi-share has a vast number of network providers.
Libert Healthshare does not have a network of doctors.
CHM does not have a network of doctors
Samaritan Ministries – The cost of services depends on the age and size of the household. They have two plans to choose from Basic and Classic. Basic will cost between $100 and $400 per month, but importantly there is a sharing percentage of just 90%, which, if you had a considerable bill, could be uncomfortable. The Classic plan is a safer option and will cost between $160 and $495 per month. For more massive bills, they have a save-to-share option, which will cost you between $133 to $399 per year and also attracts a $15 annual admin fee.
Medi-share is much cheaper, and prices can range from $30 – $900 per month depending on your age, size of household, and your selected AHP amount. The higher the AHP, the less your monthly share cost will be. Members can reduce the share amount by up to 20% by agreeing to live a much healthier lifestyle.
Liberty Healthshare The monthly share varies between $199 and $529 a month.
CHM Has three levels, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. A “Brother’s keeper addon can supplement each.” Shares vary from $78 per unit to $172 per unit.
Important to note here, none of the companies is an insurance provider, so there is no such thing as a deductible (Got You) All companies offer something which is pretty much the same.
Samaritan Ministries has the initial shareable. After this figure is reached, your medical bills are eligible for sharing. Depending on which plan you choose, this amount will be $1,500 or $300 per annum.
Medi-share has the AHP, which is the amount of money you will have to pay before you are eligible for bill sharing. This can range from $500 to $10,000.
Liberty Healthshare has three annual unshared amounts. Single-member: $1,000, Couple $1750, and Family $2,250
CHM has a low shareable for Gold Level of just $500. Silver level $2,500, and bronze level $5,000
Samaritan Ministries has a deal with EnvisionRX, which provides discount prescriptions and also eDocAmerica for discount laboratory services.
Medi-Share allows members who sign up o a healthy living program discounts of up to 205 on their monthly share amount. They also offer discounts on optical and dental of up to 60%. They also provide discounts between 20% and 70% on laboratory tests.
Liberty Healthshare does provide discount cards for vision, dental, and chiropractic.
CHM With CHM, if you have Gold cover, any incident related prescriptions are shareable. Silver and Bronze have no provision for sharing. All members get a CHMRX discount card for prescriptions.
Samaritan Ministries has two options, Basic and Classic. With Basic, the maximum shareable limit is $236,500 and a maternity limit as well. With Classic, there is a maximum sharing limit of $250,000 and a maternity limit.
Medi-share has no limits at all, except for maternity, which is $125,000.
Liberty Healthshare has three tiers. The lowest level paid 70% of the shared amount. The middle and upper levels pay nothing on share amount. There is a limit of $125,000 per incident on the lowest and middle-tier—the upper-tier shares up to $1 million per episode.
CHM Maximum shareable is $125,000 per incident unless you have “Brother’s keeper addon” in which case Gold is unlimited, Silver is $225,000, and Bronze is $225,000
With Medi-shareCHM and Samaritan Ministries, you have to have a belief in Christ. The exact faith requirements differ from company to company, and what is acceptable to one Christian another might call unbiblical. With both Samaritan Ministries and Medi-share, you must agree with the following:
There is one God in three personifications (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).Jesus is God in the flesh; he is entirely God and Completely man He was born of a virgin. He lived a perfect life beyond what mere humans can live. He died to pay for our sins, was buried, and resurrected on the third day.Salvation is ours through grace, through faith in Christ alone. He has paid for our sins, and his blood has made us right with God.
Liberty Healthshare is a lot less restrictive and just asks that you believe in God, that all people have a right to worship in their way.
All companies have the same qualifications:
You must have a wish to do as stated in Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other’s burdens, and in doing this, fulfill the law of Christ.No sex outside marriageNo unbiblical lifestyle choices – no tobacco or non-prescription drugs, no abuse of alcohol.
Samaritan Ministries’ customer care center closes at 5 pm and is only open Monday to Friday.
Medi-share customer care is open until 10 pm Monday to Friday and until 6 pm Saturdays.
Liberty Healthshare customer services operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.
CHM customer care hours are 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.
I am not going to attempt to define which company is better overall; it depends so much on individual circumstances. All will save you money over traditional healthcare insurance.
5) Can I join Samaritan Ministries with pre-existing conditions
Samaritan ministries do not generally cover pre-existing conditions. If you have not been treated for that condition for 3 -5 years, then maybe there is a chance. You need to check directly with them on your situation.
6) Samaritan Ministries Application
Samaritan Ministries allow you to join anytime. You must agree to their statement of faith, and their membershi[p agreement, which includes a commitment to attend church at least three out of four Sundays, No Homosexual relationships, and interestingly no suing another Christian, instead you must use Christian mediation.
7) Samaritan Ministries Cost
The cost of membership is going to depend on your answers to:
Classic or Basic PlanAre you marriedType of membership (Myself, My spouse, My dependents)How many people to be covered (options: 1,2,3-7,8+)Age of oldest participant
You can view the Samaritan Ministries online cost calculator Here.
8) what is samaritan ministries save to share?
Save to share is an optional program offered by Samaritan Ministries. Samaritan Ministries usually share costs up to a limit of $250,000 with the standard membership plan. This covers about 99% of cases. However, if you accrue a bill much higher, your solution is to be a member of this optional plan. (Note: if toy live in Massachusetts then membership of this plan is mandatory).
The most substantial need that Samaritan Ministries has ever faced was a bill for $1.5 million, in which Samaritan Ministries got discounted down to $700,000. Fortunately, that person had been a member of Save to Share, and so the full $700,000 was covered.
This is how it works.
Each year members of Save to Share are asked to save and set aside a sum (see below)
Single person – $133Couples – $266Single parent family – $266Two-parent family – $399
Members keep this in a savings account (it is not sent to Samaritan Ministries). At some stage, Samaritan Ministries might ask the member to withdraw up to 50% of that amount and send it to a member with a great need. One member reported that they had been a member six months and only been asked to send $50 of their $399. After two years of membership, they had deposited $798 and sent $163 in two years. After members have paid into their savings for three years, that’s it; they do not have to save anymore. In return for these annual savings, they have the security of knowing that they are fully covered.
There is an annual admin fee of $15 for this option.
9) Does Samaritan Ministries cover dental?
Generally, Samaritan Ministries does not cover dental. However, if the teeth are broken, but you probably are better getting a separate dental plan.
10) What is Samaritan Ministries
Samaritan Ministries is a healthcare sharing organization (a charity) that strives to be obedient to Galatians 6:2, which says we should support each other’s burdens. Within this organization, Christians help fellow believers with the cost of their medical need through a transparent approach that does not require health insurance. What Samaritan Ministries is NOT is healthcare insurance.
11) Samaritan Ministries Coverage
When there are disputes about claims on Healthcare Sharing needs, it is usually because the member has not understood what is or is not covered. I think it would be irresponsible to try and define everything that is covered and not covered by Samaritan Ministries in this article as things change. I would hate to be responsible for giving false information. Instead, I have a link here to the official document that provides the guideline with great detail, so you can check for yourself—link to Samaritan Ministries Guidelines.
In general, treatments tend to be covered while dental, vision, and hearing may not be included (check guidelines). Preventative procedures such as colonoscopies are not covered, but again you should check the guidelines for each case.
12) is samaritan ministries tax deductible?
Unless you live in Missouri, payments to Samaritan Ministries are NOT tax-deductible. They do, however, meet the rules of the ACA as they are exempt from the individual mandate of Obamacare (ACA)
13) How does Samaritan Ministries work?
Samaritan Ministries is a way for Christians to pay for their healthcare without using health insurance companies.
Every month a member will send their monthly share DIRECTLY TO A MEMBER WHO IS IN NEED. You are notified of the member who needs support, and you send your share with a message of support or prayer. Because you are sending money directly to an individual just like you, it is much more personal and produces a warm feeling in the one who sends the share. You verify with Samaritan Ministries that you have submitted your share. You continue to pray for the individual and send further messages of encouragement if you wish.
When you have an eligible medical need, you can start the process of getting shares from other members immediately. It will probably take between two to three months for your entire bill to be covered by other members. You submit your itemized statements to Samaritan Ministries, and they will share notice that you have a need with other members, who will send their shares and encouragement, and prayer requests. When shares begin to arrive, you start paying to your healthcare provider and let Samaritan Ministries know,
Should a situation occur where there are not enough shares to cover needs, then Samaritan Ministries will do what they call prorating, which is to ensure all needs are sent 80% – 90% of the bill and the balance the following month. If this happens three months in a row, then members will be consulted on whether the monthly share should be raised to correct the shortfall.
So, as far as the hospital is concerned, you are paying as a self-payer, and they do not have the worries of dealing with insurance companies. Hospitals that have experience of Christian healthcare sharing generally welcome it.
14) Does Samaritan Ministries cover prescriptions?
Samaritan Ministries does not cover the prescription. Instead, it provides prescription discount cards.
15) How Many Members in Samaritan Ministries?
The organization has 75,000 + members.
16) Samaritan Ministries and Medicare
If you are a member of Medicare, you must wait for them to settle their part of the bill before any remaining portion may be submitted to Samaritan Ministries.
17) Samaritan ministries Pros and Cons
It is cheapIt is transparent and straightforward to understandYou get A LOT of supportGet discounts for Paying Providers cashThings that are not covered might be covered with special requests.
It can seem like forever before you get reimbursedThere is no LEGAL obligation to reimburse youStrict Christian rules
18) Samaritan Ministries and pregnancy
Pregnancy is covered as long as the due date is at least 260 days after your membership begins. It includes bills for prenatal care, delivery, postnatal care, miscarriage, and congenital conditions. Check the guidelines for all information on this topic.
Like with all Christian healthcare sharing organizations, Samaritan Ministries offers excellent savings on traditional health insurance. It is essential to thoroughly read the guidelines as well as any reviews as rules may change at any time. Samaritan Ministries is one of the best schemes available.