sim.plified.com

Chris Pollock

Chris Pollock - web developer & ecommerce entrepreneur
undivided… my thoughts on world, family, church, business, technology and Jesus Christ (all in all)

Christian Medical Bill Sharing Program Comparison

Healthcare!  The mere mention of it can make the hair on the back of you neck stand up.  Recently, in my move to become self-employed, I dug into the topic.  Thankfully, I had a leg up by knowing that “Christian Medical Bill Sharing” programs exist.  The concept is pretty simple: Christians, who share convictions and beliefs, band together to help each other cover the cost of their medical bills.  As one brochure puts it, it is very similar to the Amish building a barn.  They band together to help each other in a time of need.   These programs are not motivated by profits, but by a desire to help their fellow brother and sisters.

There are several programs out there.  In the PDF below I compare the programs on several points that were important to me and my family.  The document makes no claims to being totally accurate, but I hope that it speeds you along if you are investigating these types of the share programs:

Download Comparison PDF

UPDATES (11/2010):

Recently Samaritans’ changed some of their details.  Here are the updates to the comparison PDF

$320/month -  monthly share for a family of 3 or more (as opposed to $285)
$170/year -  annual administrative fee per household
$250,000 -  maximum amount publishable per person/per incident (this is not per year)
$399 -  this is the annual set aside amount for Save To Share
$30/month -  new monthly amount for SamaritanMV
Maternity-  now published as a regular need if the conception is after the start date
$170 -  amount for referral credit

Eventually we had to choose a program.  We chose Samaritan Ministries.

Why We Chose Samaritan Ministries

Transparency

I loved the fact that we were going to send our money directly to the person in need.  While this creates more “bookkeeping”, it is also a much better way to stay connected to the reality of people and their needs.  Because we sent our monthly “share” to an actual person, there is a very transparent yearly fee that covers the administrative costs of managing the lists, helping members and sending out the newsletters.

Simplicity

Of all the programs out there, this one seemed the least like insurance.  Although other plans might be more “convenient” by paying you from the storehouse.  We thought the setup of Samaritans was simple and straight forward.  Costs and coverage seemed very clear.

Family Friendly

We liked their prospective on family.  My wife was pregnant while we did this investigation.  One program would not even allow a pregnant woman to join!!  Samaritan Ministries seems very straight forward about how they share maternity costs.  Even if you had a baby in the first couple months of joining, you would be able to share a portion of your maternity need.

Knew Someone Who Had Been in the Program

I knew someone who had used this program (only for a season of their life).  This certainly help lend credibility when trying to make a decision about “what program do I choose”.

I hope this post and document help you along in your decision making process.  Please feel free to comment or email with any questions you might have for us.

UPDATE:

Apparently there are a bunch of you out there who find this information helpful. That’s great!  If you decide to go with Samaritans like we did, please consider putting us down as the referral on your application.  You can request information about the program here.

  • http://www.gohbn.com George

    Thanks for the post on Medical Sharing. The chart was really helpful. God bless!

  • Chris

    Thanks for the comparison of Medical Bill Sharing Programs. It helps. Not an easy decision. May the Lord bless you and yours.

  • Richard Atcheson

    I am looking for a Medicare supplement plan

  • debbie

    my daughter is needing major dental work done,she is a mother of 3 and is divorced,she hsd only income from unemployement,she has been off work for over 1 year due to back problems.she is going to the umc dental school in jackson,ms. for her treatment it is still going to be appx.15,000.for her dental work..if there is any help aviliable please let me know thank you debbie tanksley

  • Pingback: First Gifts from Fellow Samaritan Members

  • http://www.bestofvabiketours.com Andy

    I spoke with someone who was covered under one of these plans seven years ago. The flu was particularly bad that year and the board decided that they would not cover flu related illnesses that year. They subsequently went with traditional health insurance because they felt they needed something more reliable. Have you heard of or dealt with anything similar to this declining of coverage for what you may otherwise have expected to be be covered by health insurance?

  • http://web.simplifiedbuilding.com cwpollock

    @Andy,

    I've only been in for a couple of years ago, but I personally know of none of those types of stories. We have only had one real "need" the birth of our son, and pretty much everything ended up being "covered" in full. There are guidelines about what will and won't be covered, anyone who gets into something like this should take a good look at those policies.

  • http://www.foraging4aliving.com Michelle

    This in incredibly useful!! Thank you so much! I think we are going to go with one of these plans, I'm just not sure which one.

  • Nicole

    Thanks for doing this research, I have looked into these several times and never taken the plunge. One thing I don't know if you are able to research ahead of time is physical exams required. Some friends just joined Medi-Share and they have to pass physical exams each year to continue coverage (I assume at the lowest rate?) so to me that is invasive, just like regular insurance, and somewhat subjective. Monitoring my health is my responsibility, not theirs. But when dollars are involved (gov't or private) there are limits on freedom. Living a healthy Christian lifestyle should be enough.

  • http://web.simplifiedbuilding.com cwpollock

    @Nicole,

    Thanks for the comment. Samaritans does not require a physical, but they do have guidelines about pre-existing conditions. If you're currently dealing with a condition, you'll want to check with Samaritans to see what they say about what will be publishable and what will not.

    Glad you got something out of my comparison. We're still with Samaritans and we continue to appreciate the program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheila.nielson1 Sheila Misovy Nielson

    Wow!! Thank you so much for sharing your comparison chart. It has sure saved me a lot of time because I was planning on making a similar spreadsheet to sort out the details. I will contact you should we choose Samaritans so you do get credit for the referral!! God bless you and your family!

  • cwpollock

    Glad that it helped! The numbers may not be up to date, so you want to make sure to get the latest "share amounts" from all the different programs

  • Ken

    How are they set-up with doctors and hospitals? I was warned that many times if you have an expensive condition like needing serious heart surgery (which could run into several hundred of thousands or more) some hospitals won't accept these kinds of plans.

  • cwpollock

    Hi Ken, I wouldn't say that there aren't any risks. What I know is that most medical providers in the US can't really deny you emergency service based on whether they think you can pay. That being said, I suppose it's a hospitals prerogative to deny me service on planned surgeries.

    As far as the money coming in. Because they are coming from so many people, no one giver is going over the legal "gift" limit. The plurality of how the money comes in from different sources is what I believe protects you from the government taxing it as a gift.

  • Candice Hillebrand

    I don't believe that people will be sending tens of thousands directly to patients in need of medical care. That approach would surely collapse the whole structure, I would think. I'm sure that there must be some verification of need and that the money is paid directly to the care providers. Thus, it wouldn't be considered income, any more than if an insurance plan covers your medical care expenses. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Things I see

Yup. I live with seven children :)Mimi school. My mom spends 6 hours a week in Skype w the four oldest boys working with them on reading and writing. So thankful for her help!!Happy bath face.An up close look at something we've never seen at #highlandparkSuch a deep pink color! Would love to know what these are. Need some late summer blooms in our yard that aren't white. #highlandparkAny one know what these are? At #highlandpark today. They're like fall blooming bulbs. They're over by the ginkgo trees. #bestofrochester #bestofrocThat's lots if boys. Pollocks +1 #lifewithboysFire weatherBaby armchair.MatchingAri's legs have gone missing too!! #lifewithboysCaleb has lost his legs somewhere. #lifewithboysGot our money's worth out of this water. Results of burry-ing going on in back yard. #lifewithboysCity folk in the country #beingthechurchLet's ride!

Chris Pollock

Web Developer - proficient in both PHP and ASP.NET.
Rochester, New York

View my web developement site.

View Chris Pollock's LinkedIn profile

My Pictures

Yup. I live with seven children :)Mimi school. My mom spends 6 hours a week in Skype w the four oldest boys working with them on reading and writing. So thankful for her help!!Happy bath face.An up close look at something we've never seen at #highlandparkSuch a deep pink color! Would love to know what these are. Need some late summer blooms in our yard that aren't white. #highlandparkAny one know what these are? At #highlandpark today. They're like fall blooming bulbs. They're over by the ginkgo trees. #bestofrochester #bestofrocThat's lots if boys. Pollocks +1 #lifewithboysFire weatherBaby armchair.MatchingAri's legs have gone missing too!! #lifewithboysCaleb has lost his legs somewhere. #lifewithboysGot our money's worth out of this water. Results of burry-ing going on in back yard. #lifewithboysCity folk in the country #beingthechurchLet's ride!