"Ownership" is probably one of the last words the average American might use to describe their health care.
But more than a quarter-million members of Samaritan Ministries International say they are much more in control of their health care now that they are a part of this health care sharing ministry. For 23 years, Samaritan Ministries has enabled its members to truly "own" their health care while at the same time honoring God and connecting with a community of biblical believers through financially sharing each other's medical burdens, praying for fellow members and sending encouraging notes.
"Freedom and ownership are two ideals that members of Samaritan Ministries greatly appreciate," said Anthony Hopp, Samaritan Ministries' vice president of external relations. "There are no networks, so Samaritan members are free to work with the health care providers they choose as they determine the best treatment for their families. Our members love the online Dashboard, which features several ways for them to be more involved in their health care decisions. When they engage with their health care in a real and personal way, they have true ownership that has physical, emotional and spiritual benefits."
The online Healthcare Bluebook app allows Samaritan members to research pricing in their area for various procedures, doctors or hospitals in their own area, and learn more about quality and cost ratings. For example, Healthcare Bluebook's research shows that it is common for the same health care services in the same area to vary in cost by as much as 400 percent, meaning that a $20,000 service or procedure with one provider could be $80,000 at another provider down the street or across town.
Samaritan members also enjoy discounts on prescriptions and laboratory services, saving an average of 53 percent with the Envision Rx card provided by Samaritan and 70 percent on lab work. As cash-pay patients, Samaritan members choose where they purchase prescription drugs and labs, and use the online Dashboard tools to manage their needs.
Not only is having knowledge powerful in pricing, but also when it comes to health-care questions and answers. Samaritan Ministries has made arrangements with independent health-care professionals who are available 24/7 to answer members' questions, even though they are not employees of Samaritan.
Samaritan members appreciate these tools that help them own their health care and often report back to the ministry staff about ease, accessibility and helpfulness.
- "I used the eDoc service on the Dashboard last week and I was highly satisfied with the results! I was able to get the antibiotics needed for my child, without a trip to town and dishing out a lot of cash. It was such a blessing! Thankful for the options available!"—Christina, Ohio
- "I really appreciate the Health Resources app on the Dashboard. I've been using Healthcare Bluebook to look up prices for pregnancy ultrasounds, and it's been so helpful to compare and have a list right in front of me. Thank you for making that available!"—Ryan and Alicia, Washington
Each month, Samaritan Ministries' 77,000 member households (250,000-plus individuals) pray and send notes, cards and monthly financial shares directly to other member families. In this way, Samaritan members share $27 million in medical needs each month through an effective, affordable and God-honoring ministry for Christian families. The monthly financial share has never exceeded $495 for a family of any size and is even less for couples and singles.
Samaritan Ministries offers two membership levels, Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic. Samaritan Basic has a lower monthly share coupled with a higher initial unshared amount than Samaritan Classic. This gives both present and future members two options for choosing what they believe is best for their families—and their budgets. Monthly shares for Samaritan Basic start as low as $100 for one person, $200 for two people and $250 for a family of any size, depending on age.