Samaritan rolls out a new Membership Level!

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Posted by admin | Posted in Samaritan Newsletters, Samaritan Perks | Posted on 20-09-2017

WOW THIS IS BIG NEWS!!

 

Effective Oct 2, 2017 Samaritan will now be offering TWO membership levels to choose from. The original level doesn’t change much, and is called Samaritan Classic. The new level is called Samaritan Basic. You can read more about the new cost structure here: Monthly cost breakdown

Basic was created to give members the ability to join and experience all the joys of being part of the Samaritan community while having an even lower monthly share in exchange for higher amounts the member is personally responsible for on their needs. By taking on the responsibility of more of their own medical bills, members are rewarded with a lower monthly share amount. Makes sense. ūüôā The level at which sharing starts per need goes up to $1500 on Basic (instead of $300 on Classic) and a 90-10 sharing percentage kicks in so the Basic level member will be responsible for 10% of their medical bills after that $1500 threshold up to a max of $13,500 per need. In exchange the monthly share costs are less, which can ease the budgets for those who aren’t able to share at the Classic rate levels.

You can also view the updated guidelines here (searchable text and a PDF format)

I still love the Classic level the most for our family, but I’m glad to see this option now exists for those members who really needed a lower cost option. I love the power of choice! Being part of Samaritan is such a blessing, and the ministry’s support and efficiency with which medical needs are prayed for a paid timely is very important to me. All of that is part of Basic, too! Offering a way for people to be a member and have a lower monthly share is wonderful, especially for those who feel their risk level is low for a medical need, or have the ability to cover that rare bigger need up to the established out of pocket 10% limit of $13,500 from their own or other sources. Basic’s $1500 personal responsibility per need can still be reduced down to $0 just like the Classic level does. So while that $1500 amount is the level before sharing starts on a need, if you do have a bigger one you can still get that $1500 portion wiped out by getting discounts on your medical bills, which just makes the portion the member pays that much less.¬† And the fact that Basic level members can still participate in Save to Share and have no caps on the super huge needs means the cost risk of a qualifying big need is limited to their 10% portion max of $13,500 (plus the $1500 initial unshared amount). As a result, if you are interested in the Basic Level membership, I would even more strongly suggest you enroll in Save to Share so that you keep your potential out of pocket costs at that more manageable amount in case that giant need does happen (heart issues, cancer, major accident, etc). I’m rather frugal and cost conscious and for our family I don’t want to think the skies the limit on potential unpaid medical costs. Samaritan and Save to Share provides comfort and protection against that in spades. Save to Share keeps that amount manageable for Basic and Classic members alike.

If you have any questions about whether Basic would be a good option for you, feel free to call Samaritan directly or write to me here on this blog. I love answering questions and would enjoy helping you consider what is right for you.

Want to know more about signing up for Classic or Basic? Click here for a free downloadable information packet.

 

Needs Prorated Again, Possible Rate Increase Vote Soon?

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Posted by admin | Posted in Samaritan Newsletters | Posted on 02-06-2016

For the 2nd month in a row needs were prorated. Last month it was at 90%, this month was 80%. If needs are prorated again next month then the members will be asked to vote on a rate increase to the monthly share amounts. Members must approve by a super majority before any increases happen. While no one wants to see costs go up, I like that members get to vote. Insurance never gave me that chance. We don’t know for sure that next month will be prorated, but with health care costs rising sharply it wouldn’t surprise me. Why does Samaritan prorate? I wrote a detailed article on that a couple years ago that you can read here. But in a nutshell, Samaritan doesn’t want to pay first come first serve because at times when there are more needs than shares, paying that way would require some people to wait a very long time for their money to pay the bills. Long wait times can cause problems with providers and debt collectors. By paying a large percentage early members are able to satisfy their providers and even open the door for further rate negotiations.

Samaritan hasn’t had a rate increase¬†in almost 2 years. ¬†While it would be nice to always have the same monthly rate, unfortunately the price of health care isn’t staying the same. In order to provide for the members it sometimes becomes necessary to vote on an increase. The typical timeframe for an increase is anywhere from 18-30 months, so if it happens soon we’d be about 24-25 months between increases. That’s pretty good, especially compared to the automatic annual increases provided by insurance companies. Also, Samaritan usually doesn’t have to increase shares very much, the last increase was a little under 10% for the family rate. Compare that with Blue Cross (BCBSNE) which is asking for a 34.9% increase in my state. Of course it’s also possible the members will vote no and keep shares the same for a while.

Keeping costs as low as possible is a big priority for members. That’s why we try to get discounts, not only to reduce our own $300 portion, but also to help out the ministry as a whole. The more discounts we can get, the¬†better it is for everyone and the longer we can potentially go between increases.¬†Samaritan also uses Karis to get additional rate reductions whenever possible. The ministry works hard on our behalf to keep costs low and members are working hard for each other. We do it in different ways. Some members are really good at getting those discounts, others are quite creative at finding low cost health care solutions by shopping around, and finding cheaper methods or facilities. Some members are able to donate extra during prorated times to shore up the difference, and some shoulder more of their own medical charges before submitting to the ministry for sharing. Everyone’s talents and resources for keeping costs low are different, but they all matter and they all count toward helping each other. I am so honored to be part of this group of like minded Christians who are goal driven to help each other with the financial burdens of dealing with health care.

I’m rather frustrated that so little¬†is being done nationally about the actual cost of health care. The ACA didn’t do anything to reduce that inflation. Health care ministry members, all of them, are probably working the hardest at reducing costs simply because we are more conscious of the charges and ask more questions about what is necessary, what something costs, and finding the best way to¬†pay a¬†reasonable price. We are shopping around and using our health care dollars a lot more wisely because we are at the forefront of the discussion. Ministry growth will only help that, but we are still a tiny pebble in a big pond. Please pray about this, for the sake of everyone we need a good solution to the runaway train that is healthcare pricing in America.

A History of Samaritan Ministries

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Posted by admin | Posted in Samaritan Newsletters | Posted on 04-03-2016

Samaritan recently published the history of how this ministry came to be and what it went through in order to grow and become the wonderful organization it is today. Some of this history I knew from doing my research a couple of years ago, but much of it was new information to me and great to read. I’m so glad the founder pushed forward to get the ministry going even when there were a couple of bumps in the road. For instance, the founder worked for 6 years without taking any pay. That is an example of someone truly dedicated and passionate about his goals.

You can read the full history here: http://samaritanministries.org/why-samaritan/long-history/

Samaritan recently had their largest January growth in history, over 5000 new families joined that month. The ministry is growing by leaps and bounds!