Samaritan Ministries vs Liberty Healthshare

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Posted by admin | Posted in Other Ministries | Posted on 26-09-2014

Liberty Healthshare is a 4th healthcare sharing ministry, which is fairly small (and growing) and has now established themselves under Gospel Light Mennonite Church Medical Aide Plan, Inc which now makes them an eligible sharing ministry under the ACA.

If this page is your first glimpse of Samaritan and you are interested in more details about how Samaritan Ministries works, please read through the pages at the right as I go into a lot of detail about everything. If you have questions don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂

 updated 11/1/16 SAMARITAN LIBERTY SHARE LIBERTY PLUS LIBERTY COMPLETE
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY $300/incident (can be reduced to $0 with discounts) $500/pp annually with $1500 max (3 ppl in house)
MONTHLY COST
family of 4 $495 $395* $424* $449*
couple age 25 $360 $198 $227 $249
(see full cost structure here) see full cost structure here
 Liberty pricing is $50/mo cheaper for those under 30, and $25/mo higher for those over 65 (compared to amounts above)
WHEN BILL SHARING CAN START Immediately Immediately
ANNUAL FEES, APPLICATION FEES No annual fee, $200 application fee $125 1st year membership fee
$75 each following year membership fee
No apparent application fee
PROVIDER NETWORK NONE, see any doctors NONE, see any doctors
GUIDELINES OF COVERAGE Samaritan
Guidelines
Liberty Guidelines
 EXTRA SHARING PROGRAM  yes – Special Prayer Needs for non-publishable needs like dental, pre-existing, etc  No extra program
METHOD OF PAYMENT send direct to Members members send money to online sharebox accounts
AVAILABILITY all states all states
 PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS 1. For most issues if the condition has been considered “cured” with no treatments or symptoms for 12 months, it’s no longer pre-existing.

2. For cancers and heart conditions the timeframe is 5 years

3. Type 1 diabetes is always considered pre-existing.

4. New, unrelated cancers are shared right away, even if you had a different cancer previously.

Deemed pre-existing if conditions have had symptoms/treatments or meds within the past 24 months.

No sharing year 1.
Months 13-24 (year 2) shared up to $25,000.
Months 25-36 (year 3) sharing of another $25k (total of $50k)

Starting month 37 no longer considered pre-existing. Per guidelines, Liberty may deny membership to those with active pre-existing issues.

REFERRAL PROGRAM $180 credit $100 Visa giftcard
 HOSPICE CARE  Fully shareable for 90 days with doctors order, extended in 90 day increments as long as doctor prescribes. Pays for 5 days in any 30 day period
WHO SENDS BILLS patient sends bills to Samaritan doctors send bills to Liberty electronically
COVERAGE LIMITS
  • $250,000/incident -regular membership
  •  Save to Share program is for everything above $250,000 with no limit.
  • No lifetime limits
  • Liberty Share: 70% of bills up to $125,000/incident
  • Liberty Plus: 100% of bills up to $125,000/incident
  • Liberty Complete: 100% of bills up to $1 million/incident

New guidelines state no more lifetime limits. Apr 2016.

 CATASTROPHIC COVERAGE  Save to Share program is for everything above $250,000 with no limit.  Guardians Group program is for everything above $125,000 up to $1 million. There are some limitations.
FAQ Samaritan FAQs Liberty FAQs
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS All drugs related to an incident/treatment and those as part of hospital treatments are shared plus four calendar months of maintenance drugs. Cancer meds are not subject to that limitation. 45 days before and after each related medical
incident
PHONE NUMBERS (888) 268-4377 (855) 585-4239
WEBSITE samaritanministries.org libertyhealthshare.org

 

Liberty Healthshare has 3 sharing plan options with the lower monthly cost plans giving fewer services/less “coverage”. They do list their guidelines online for all to read and I have linked to them. I noticed when reading that they have a very short list of things they cover and a very long list of things they don’t (this is starting to improve, they recently updated their guidelines mid Feb ’15), including some oddly specific exemptions like not sharing for hospital stays if you check in on a weekend and it’s not an emergency. Odd. Neither ministry covers dental officially, but Samaritan does allow dental to be listed in the Special Prayer Needs and Liberty doesn’t appear to have a program like that. I like that Liberty shares in annual exams and shares in routine mammograms and colonoscopies every other year until you’re 50, then yearly at age 50. Their guidelines indicate they are a lot more restrictive on the things they cover. There are now 36 (down from 62) listed things they don’t cover at all, and 17 things they only share in limited fashion. I think this is because they are pretty small and probably don’t have the share funds available to do as much as the other ministries can, although they have gotten bigger and are allowing for more sharing of needs within the last year. Liberty has a provisional membership status for anyone who applies and has health conditions they feel could be improved by lifestyle changes. From the few reviews I’ve read it sounds like that could include weight, bloodwork issues and so on. They want you to be healthy when joining. Liberty has a step up program for pre-existing conditions (anything having treatment in the past 24 months), no sharing in 1st year, then $25k 2nd year, $50k third year, 4th year not pre-existing any more. They require pre-notification for non emergency services and notification within 48 hrs for emergency situations. It sounds like they do have a membership card that you give to providers.

SIMILARITIES

  • They both have similar statements of faith required, although Liberty’s statement is not as doctrinally Christian as Samaritan’s.
  • No tobacco use.
  • No s-e-x outside of marriage.
  • No coverage for abortion
  • Both will prorate needs if needs are bigger than available shares, both have policies for raising monthly shares if needs are prorated too often
  • No networks, allow you to see any doctor
  • Both allow for sharing of some alternative treatments, usually with prior approval and not too expensive. Liberty just recently started this allowance mid Feb, Samaritan recently expanded their sharing for alternative treatments to be more encompassing.

 

MAJOR DIFFERENCES

  • Liberty does share for 1 wellness visit per year and shares routine mammogram and colonoscopies every 2 years until age 49, every year for age 50 and up.
  • I can’t find anything about any extra sharing plans (like Samaritan has Special Prayer Needs for those expenses like dental which don’t otherwise meet the guidelines)
  • Liberty has a discount program you can join which gives discounts at participating dentists, eye doctors, etc.
  • Liberty has a lot more services that they don’t share vs how many they will share
  • Liberty has a step up plan for pre-existing conditions, no longer pre-existing in year 4 of membership.
  • Liberty has a membership card that you present to providers
  • Liberty does allow for same sex couples/partners (married or not) to join but they must join under separate memberships not as a married couple. Liberty is the only HCSM I know which allows this.
  • Even the top sharing plan with Liberty has an incident cap of $1 million. Lifetime caps have been removed. Samaritan has no caps if you’re in the Save to Share program and no lifetime caps regardless.

REVIEWS

Liberty is a very small ministry with about 28,000 members as of Sept 2016 (according to a couple of member reviews). Initially there weren’t a lot of reviews out there, but I’m now able to find quite a few on google and social media. Unfortunately the more recent reviews are quite negative with a few positive ones in between.  I get the impression that Liberty has had trouble managing their growth and customer service is now lacking, and bill payment has been poor for several members.  The firm they use to get additional discounts, Claims Delegate Services, told a member that it could take a year to get billing settled. That is not a good sign, and hopefully it’s an isolated case.  I didn’t even consider them at first because being exempt from the ACA is critical to me, and they were not for sure exempt when we picked a ministry. After having confirmation they are exempt they were previously my 3rd choice for a ministry to join, but the negative reviews lately have put them in 4th position. I am concerned about their small size (of course they all had to start small), they cap incidents at $1 million which bothers me tremendously if we were to have a very expensive issue, but their lifetime caps have been removed as of Apr 2016. I wish they had an extra sharing program that the other 3 have.

This is from Liberty’s guidelines: “Medical expenses for a newborn arising from complications at the time of delivery that exceed $125,000, including congenital birth defects, are not eligible for sharing by members of GUARDIANS GROUP.” — Ok I find that concerning. So if you have a baby as a member with expensive complications/birth defects even the Guardians Group membership which is designed to cover bills going above the $125k limit still won’t share in the cost?  I am not planning on more children so this is less of a concern for me, but I would suggest anyone considering Liberty and wanting more children to ask about that.

Guardians Group level is what provides member sharing for incidents above $125k. However, it will not share expenses for congenital birth defects and organ transplants, and has waiting periods on a couple other issues. Please review their guidelines for more details.

Liberty’s website says that providers are reimbursed at Medicare’s rate plus 50-70% depending on if it’s inpatient or outpatient or physician charges. I am curious what happens if the provider doesn’t agree to that reimbursement rate, does the patient get balance billed? My area hospitals wouldn’t accept those payment levels, but I’m sure lots do. That is something you should ask Liberty if you are considering them. I am starting to see more negative reviews on review sites, but there are also positive ones. Some people have had trouble getting bills paid, even for their routine visits. I’m sure that’s not the case for everyone, and it may be just a timing delay. They do state they abide by Christian principals, but I think they are more loose about some of those definitions. I’ve read that Liberty Healthshare only require you to believe that government should be out of healthcare and share like-minded beliefs, and apparently couples in non traditional marriages are allowed to join, but only as single members on separate accounts.

I have not called Liberty to get information on their program, I am just reviewing what is available on their site and I update this page every few months. Overall I am cautious and skeptical about Liberty, but think they have good potential for the future. Their guidelines appear a little restrictive and confusing, but that does seem to be improving as they grow (I’ve been watching their guidelines for about a year).  I would pick their top plan, wouldn’t even consider the bottom two if I was choosing them.

Please review their website for any updates they have done on new sharing guidelines.

If you’d like more information you can click here to request an information packet direct
from Samaritan or signup online.

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Samaritan Ministries vs Christian Healthcare Ministries

353

Posted by admin | Posted in Other Ministries | Posted on 14-12-2013

There are a few Christian Healthcare Sharing Ministries available which are all ACA exempt. The comparison between Samaritan Ministries and Christian Healthcare Ministries was closer for us. Samaritan’s monthly cost structure is based on family types (couple, single, family unit). CHMinistries cost structure is based on which level of coverage you choose (gold/silver/bronze).

If this page is your first glimpse of Samaritan and you are interested in more details about how Samaritan Ministries works, please read through the pages at the right as I go into a lot of detail about everything. If you have questions don’t hesitate to ask! :)

 updated 11/1/16 SAMARITAN CHRISTIAN HEALTHCARE MINISTRIES
LEVELS N/A GOLD SILVER BRONZE
RESPONSIBILITY PER INCIDENT (RPI)
$300/incident $500/yr (per unit) $1000/incident $5000/incident
 
MONTHLY COST
family of 3+ $495 $450 $255 $135
couple, age 25 $360 $300 $170 $90
MONTHLY COST REDUCED IF FEWER NEEDS THAT MONTH Yes No
 SHARING LIMITS PER NEED, BASE PROGRAM (more available,
see below)
 $250,000  $125,000   $125,000   $125,000
ANNUAL FEES, APPLICATION FEES No annual fee, $200 application fee No annual fee or application fee
GUIDELINES OF WHAT’S SHARED Samaritan guidelines CHM Guidelines
MONTHLY PAYMENT send direct to Members sent to CHM to be shared
AVAILABILITY all states all states
REFERRAL PROGRAM $180 credit free month for each new membership
SHARING TIMELINE  30-60 days typically (1-2 mo)  90-120 days typically (3-4 mo)
WHO SENDS BILLS patient sends bills to Samaritan patient sends bills to CHMinistries
SHARING LIMITS
  1. $250,000/incident -regular membership
  2. Save to Share program for everything above $250,000.
  3. No lifetime limits
  1. $125,000/incident – regular membership
  2. Brothers Keeper program for costs above $125,000 (unlimited at the gold level, $100,000 at the silver/bronze levels)
  3. For the silver/bronze levels you gain $100,000 of extra coverage for each year of renewal, up to $1 million
  4. I don’t think there are lifetime limits
FAQ Samaritan FAQs CHMinistries FAQs
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS All drugs related to an incident/treatment and those as part of hospital treatments are shared plus four calendar months of maintenance drugs
  1. Gold – incident related drug costs are shared
  2. Silver/Bronze – no prescriptions shared
  3. All levels – no maintenance drug coverage
PHONE NUMBERS 888-268-4377 800-791-6225
WEBSITE samaritanministries.org chministries.org
PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
  • If the condition has been considered “cured” with no treatments or symptoms for 12 months, it’s no longer pre-existing.
  • For cancers and heart conditions the timeframe is 5 years
  • Type 1 diabetes is always considered pre-existing.
  • New, unrelated cancers are shared right away, even if you had a different cancer previously.
Step up plan for pre-existing conditions (Gold plan only, must be maintenance mode, not actively being treated)

  • year 1, up to $15,000.
  • year 2, another $10,000.
  • year 3, another $25,000.
  • After that no longer preexisting
CATASTROPHIC Save to Share Program. For needs above $250k, you put money in savings that you may be asked to share. $15 annual fee

  • Singles – $133/yr
  • Couples – $266/yr
  • Single parent family – $266/yr
  • Two parent family – $399/yr
Brother’s Keeper Program. For needs above $125k (gold members, unlimited – silver/bronze extra $100k), $40 annual fee. Avg cost is $25/quarter for each membership unit (each person is a unit, max of 3)

  • Singles = $100/yr
  • Couples = $200/yr
  • Family rate max = $300/yr

Money sent to Brother’s Keeper escrow account each quarter

JOINING WHILE PREGNANT Samaritan will share expenses for existing pregnancies  as special prayer needs and members must have a due date of 250 days after joining to be eligible for pregnancy sharing. CHM has no sharing for expenses related to existing pregnancies, and those expenses also cannot be shared on the Prayer Page. Members must have a due date of 300 days after joining in order to be eligible for pregnancy sharing.

 

SIMILARITIES

  • No tobacco use.
  • Moderate alcohol use allowed, no drinking to excess.
  • No s-e-x outside of marriage.
  • No abortion coverage.
  • Must be a Christian and attend church regularly.
  • Extra sharing plans available (not required) for members with non publishable bills. Samaritan’s is called Special Prayer Needs, Christian Healthcare Ministries calls it the Prayer Page.
  • Routine care not published on either one.
  • Both have programs available for high costs above the standard membership amounts, Samaritan has Save to Share, Christian Healthcare Ministries has Brothers’ Keeper.
  • Both are exempt from the ACA, no fines/fees/taxes from the government for being a member.
  • No increase in monthly share amounts for having more children.
  • Monthly shares do not go up as you get older.
  • Both programs apply any obtained discounts toward the members own personal responsibility amounts first, thereby potentially leaving $0 out of pocket to pay if enough discounts are obtained.

 

MAJOR DIFFERENCES

  • Maternity is different between them. With Samaritan if you join while pregnant they will share the maternity expenses as a Special Prayer Need. — With CHMinistries you cannot share an existing maternity need at all, not even through their Prayer Page (for unshareable items). Due dates must be 250 days after joining for full sharing with Samaritan, it’s 300 days with CHM.
  • Samaritan’s personal responsibility amount (similar to deductible) is only $300 per incident, CHM’s is $500/unit/yr on the gold, $1000/incident on silver, $5000/incident on bronze. As stated above both will allow these to be reduced dollar for dollar for any discounts obtained.
  • Samaritan allows dental expenses to be shared through Special Prayer Needs, CHM doesn’t appear to allow those through their prayer page.
  • CHMinistries requires you to first apply for government and financial assistance programs before they will share your need. This is a problem for me as I do not wish to be on Medicaid even if we qualified, nor do I wish to waste the time applying and waiting for a response. Samaritan does not have this requirement. If a Samaritan member happens to be on medicaid or medicare that’s fine, samaritan shares the portion of needs those programs didn’t cover just like CHM. But Samaritan doesn’t require you to apply in the first place.
  • CHMinistries share all maternity expenses on the Gold plan, but only shares the hospital portion of charges for maternity care on silver/bronze plans.  With Samaritan all maternity bills (prenatal, hospital, homebirth, midwife, doctor, etc) are just plain shareable, and if you have a home birth or a VBAC the $300 personal responsibility is completely waived.
  • Christian Healthcare Ministries uses a 3 tiered plan setup similar to the new Obamacare metal plans. Lower personal responsibilities cost more per month. Additionally, services that are shareable are different depending on which level you’re in. Samaritan has no levels, the coverage is the same for everyone regardless.
  • Samaritan publishes/shares twice as much with a regular membership as CHMinistries ($250k vs $125k)
  • Samaritan’s Save to Share has no hard official limit for needs above $250k, Brother’s Keeper from CHMinistries has no official limit only if you’re a Gold level member. The cap is smaller and rises slowly (much too slowly for my taste) if you’re a Silver or Bronze member.
  • CHMinistries has some immediate sharing for pre-existing conditions in maintenance mode (gold plan only), while getting out of PEC status after 3 years of no active treatment. Samaritan has many PECs falling out of pre-existing status after only 12 months of no symptoms/treatments/meds, with cancers and heart issues requiring 5 years.
  • Samaritan will reduce the monthly share in any month that has fewer needs.
  • Christian Healthcare Ministries doesn’t cover alternative doctors or therapies, Samaritan will fully share these alternative options (must be preapproved and cost cannot be well above traditional treatments)
  • CHMinistries doesn’t cover emergency transportation (ambulance, life flight, etc) from the site of your emergency to a medical facility. They will cover transport between facilities if it’s deemed life threatening and you can’t be served at the first location (per CHM guidelines dated 1/1/13). Samaritan will fully share all medically necessary transportation from the emergency site and transport between facilities ordered by your doctor.
  • Samaritan shares in 25 chiropractic visits, CHMinistries does not share any chiropractic care.

REVIEWS

CHMinistries was my 2nd choice for a healthcare sharing ministry. It’s less confusing than Medishare and cheaper for the Gold level coverage than the Medishare equivalent. The family rate (3+) is just a bit higher on Samaritan vs CHM, but Samaritan gets us double the sharing limit on the regular membership ($250,000 with Samaritan, $125,000 with CHM). That’s extra peace of mind for anyone not on the extra sharing programs (I highly recommend those extra sharing programs no matter which ministry you choose). Maternity coverage with Samaritan is hands down better than anything, but we’re not planning on more children so that was less relevant to us. I really like the pre-existing conditions step-up plan with CHMinistries, although those conditions can fall out of PEC status faster with Samaritan. I think it would be better to wait only 1 year for a well managed condition to fall out of pre-existing status vs 3 yrs. I wouldn’t consider the Silver or Bronze CHMinistries plans because they just don’t cover enough stuff. The Gold level is a much better option. I didn’t find a lot of reviews about CHMinistries at all, good or bad. What I did find indicated that members are pretty happy, but that payment has sometimes been slower than they like. CHMinistries pays on a first come, first serve basis, so a backlog of bills to pay can develop, which led to members reporting they had waited 4-6 months for payment to arrive, but I don’t think that always happens. Christian Healthcare Ministries reports that most payments are within 90-120 days/3-4 months, with some falling outside that timeline (Samaritan is running about a couple month’s faster than that with payments in the 30-60 day/1-2 month timeframe). Faster payments matter to me. CHM also doesn’t cover alternative treatments, which is a bummer because there are some good ones out there. That concerned me regarding situations like cancer treatments; I have heard some non-traditional methods are quite effective. Other than that this appears to be another good option/alternative to health insurance.

I have heard from some reviews (and had confirmed in their guidelines, page 18 section M) that CHM requires you to apply for financial assistance first (such as low income programs) and participate in gov’t funded programs like medicaid and medicare, etc if you qualify. This bothers me, as I don’t want to rely on gov’t money, nor do I want to fill out financial hardship forms and I’ve heard too many stories of people having trouble finding doctors who take Medicaid patients. Samaritan does not require this. While I’m sure there are Samaritan members who choose to participate in those programs, and that’s totally fine, I do not wish to for our family.

Samaritan won out for us because of the direct sending of monthly money to members (more personal), the personal responsibility is less, the monthly share is comparable and reasonable, dental can be submitted as Special Prayer Needs, and some alternative treatments are shareable. Also I won’t be forced to apply for Medicaid should our income falter and have a need. The joy I read and heard from other Samaritan members was almost palpable, I desperately wanted to be part of that feeling. It’s also just so simple. In today’s crazy world something that works and is straight foward and uncomplicated means a lot. Pre-existing conditions didn’t matter for us, we don’t have any. For people who do, evaluate what your condition is. If it’s not been an issue and is considered over by your doctor, Samaritan has a better plan than CHMinistries. If you anticipate treatments in the next year for your condition is then CHMinistries may be a better choice for you. If you are already pregnant or want to get pregnant right away, definitely pick Samaritan! 🙂 Because Christian Healthcare Ministries pools money at the office to send out to members for their bills, they have gotten in trouble with a couple of states because of acting too much like insurance without being subject to state regulations. I was concerned about any program I picked having legal headaches, so that also played a part in my choice. If Samaritan didn’t exist I would choose CHM, I think they have a solid program, they just don’t fit our family as well as Samaritan does.

update: I reread the CHM guidelines again and was struck by the lack of sharing for any medical transport from a member’s emergency site to the hospital, even on the Gold plan. That means if someone has a heart attack at home they won’t publish the cost for the ambulance to get you. If you are in an accident where vehicles can’t reach (farmer/rancher), or can’t reach you fast enough and you need to be life flighted somewhere (open stretch of highway?), CHM doesn’t share in that cost. For silver and bronze members no medical transportation is shared at all. Some cities include fire dept paramedic help as part of their tax structure. But not everywhere. Where I live the ambulance is a paid service and it’s rather expensive. A one mile trip 10 years ago was $800 (thousands today I’m sure) and life flight services can run $35,000 and more (I heard of some being over $100,000). Definitely ask about medical transportation if you are considering CHM. Samaritan shares in those transport costs including for the examples posted above, which is a tremendous relief to me living in a rural area where travel distances can be significant, because the longer the trip the more it costs. Of course we cannot use the ambulance like a taxi, it must be medically necessary. 🙂

Click here to request an information packet direct
from Samaritan or signup online.

samaritan image

Samaritan Ministries vs Medi-share

326

Posted by admin | Posted in Other Ministries | Posted on 13-12-2013

There are a few Christian Health care Sharing Ministries available which are ACA exempt. The comparison between Samaritan Ministries and Christian Care Medishare was an easy one for us. Samaritan’s monthly cost structure is based on family types (couple, single, family unit). Medishare’s cost structure is based on which personal responsibility limit (AHP, annual household portion) you choose. Similar to a deductible/co-insurance combo the AHP is the amount of bills you are responsible for each year before Medishare starts paying. The levels are setup accordingly, and the higher your AHP, the lower your monthly cost.

If this page is your first glimpse of Samaritan and you are interested in more details about how Samaritan Ministries works, please read through the pages at the right as I go into a lot of detail about everything. If you have questions don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂

 updated 1/9/17 SAMARITAN MEDISHARE
ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD PORTION (AHP) $300/incident (can be reduced to $0 with discounts) $1250 $2500 $3750 $5000 $7500 $10000
MONTHLY COST
Standard rates
family of 4 (adults age 42) $495 $731 $585 $466 $398 $318 $238
couple age 25, no kids $360 $319 $237 $185 $155 $114 $73
 (see full cost structure here) (click for cost calculator)
MONTHLY COST REDUCED WHEN THERE ARE FEWER NEEDS YES NO
DISCOUNTS FOR BEING HEALTHY NONE reduce medishare cost by up to 20%, requires submitting health data. Potential blood work or physical may be necessary depending on circumstances.
 $500 AHP available (no maternity) for those 18-29. Senior assist with $1250 AHP available for Seniors.
EXTRA FEES FOR CERTAIN CONDITIONS NONE some health conditions like high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes require an extra $80/month fee and mandatory health partner program
ANNUAL FEES, APPLICATION FEES No annual fee, $200 application fee $50 application fee, one time $120 member fee,
$5 ACCU setup fee (total of $175 up front)
MISC FEES NONE $2/month ACCU credit union admin fee
$3/month Paper Statement Fee, waived if you choose E-statements
$75 fee to change AHP levels
PROVIDER NETWORK NONE, see any doctors PHCS PPO network
GUIDELINES OF COVERAGE Samaritan guidelines click this link for Medishare guidelines
METHOD OF PAYMENT send direct to Members payment runs through account at America’s Christian Credit Union
AVAILABILITY all states Not available in Montana
 PT and CHIROPRACTIC CARE All inpatient PT sessions, plus 40 outpatient sessions per need. 40 per need is the combined total of all therapy, whether chiropractic, PT, OT, etc. Maintenance visits are not shared. Chiropractic xrays and 120 days supplements are shareable. Chiropractic – 20 visits in 6 weeks, only if surgery is the only other option.
PT/OT – 20 visits per referral
REFERRAL PROGRAM $180 credit $100 credit
WHO SENDS BILLS patient sends bills to Samaritan provider sends bills to Medishare
COVERAGE LIMITS
  1. $250,000 per incident -regular membership
  2. Save to Share program for everything above $250,000.
  3. No lifetime limits
no lifetime or incident caps
 PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS 1. For most issues if the condition has been considered “cured” with no treatments or symptoms or meds for 12 months, it’s no longer pre-existing.

2. For cancers and heart conditions the timeframe is 5 years

3. Type 1 diabetes is always considered pre-existing.

4. New, unrelated cancers are shared right away, even if you had a different cancer previously.

 1. up to $100,000/yr if no signs/symptoms/treatments/meds for 36 months or if person has been faithfully sharing as a member for 36 mo.

2. up to $500,000/yr if no signs/symptoms/treatments/meds for 60 months or if person has been faithfully sharing as a member for 60 mo.

3. Pre-existing conditions always maintain their pre-existing status.

4. No sharing for pre-existing until at least that 36 month mark is reached.

 

FAQ Samaritan FAQs Medishare FAQs
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS All drugs related to an incident/treatment and those as part of hospital treatments are shared plus four calendar months of maintenance drugs. Cancer drugs are not subject to this limitation. Six months of drugs per incident. Exceptions may be made for cancer/transplant cases.
PHONE NUMBERS (888) 268-4377 (800) 772-5623
WEBSITE samaritanministries.org mychristiancare.org/medi-share/

 

Medishare’s pricing structure is a lot more complicated and a lot more like regular insurance.

Since Medishare operates more like insurance this is appealing for those who want to be more hands-off with their need payment.

Samaritan has no provider network so you can see any doctor without out-of-network penalties. Medishare’s PPO works just like insurance plans. Patient has a bigger share and bill for out-of-network.

Medishare has a nice step up plan for pre-existing conditions, with no sharing prior to being a member for 36 months unless the condition shows no signs/symptoms/treatments/meds for the immediate prior 36 months timeframe. So if you’ve gone 3 years with no treatment/issues and then join, it sounds like you can get sharing up to $100,000 on that condition right away. But please confirm with Medi-share that I’m reading their guidelines correctly. The limits of $100,000 and $500,000 once the 36 and 60 month marks have been reached are pretty generous I think, especially since you can reach those amounts simply by staying a member for that time frame. Samaritan’s policy is that if the condition has been considered “cured” with no treatments or symptoms for 12 months, it’s no longer pre-existing, so the wait time is shorter (12 mo vs 36 mo). For heart conditions and cancers the timeframe is 5 years, while type 1 diabetes is always considered pre-existing. With Samaritan, new, unrelated cancers are shared right away, even if you had a different cancer previously.

My analysis of all that is that Samaritan’s pre-existing program is better if you have something that is not going to show itself for 12 months (or 60 months if cancer/heart related) because it will no longer be pre-existing and get full sharing pretty quickly, but if you have something that keeps popping up then Medi-share’s would be better for you if you can hold on as a member with them for 36 months and cover those costs yourself during that time frame.

If you’re willing to have a very high AHP it is possible to have a super cheap monthly share payment with Medishare. Samaritan monthly shares are based on fewer factors.

SIMILARITIES

  • They both have similar statements of faith required.
  • No tobacco use.
  • No s-e-x outside of marriage.
  • Must be a Christian and attend church regularly.
  • Extra sharing plans available (not required) for members with non publishable bills. Samaritan’s is called Special Prayer Needs, Medishare calls it Extra Blessings.
  • Routine care not published/shared on either one.
  • No coverage for abortion

 

MAJOR DIFFERENCES

  • Personal responsibility limits are higher with Medishare.
  • Medishare’s monthly rates slide higher as you get older. Someone age 64 would have an individual monthly cost over $400 (couples rate is $680). Samaritan’s monthly rates don’t change from age 26 to age 100+
  • Medishare has a reduced rate for seniors on medicare, Samaritan does not.
  • Samaritan will reduce the personal responsibility portion (the amount the member owes for each need before sharing starts) dollar for dollar down to a potential of $0 owed when discounts are obtained, Medi-share does not reduce a members AHP.
  • Samaritan will reduce the monthly share during any months that have fewer needs, Medishare does not.
  • Members have mentioned on blogs that Medishare also requires members to participate in Medicaid and get hardship financial assistance if they qualify. Samaritan does not.  (I do not wish to be on Medicaid since I have a choice, even if we did qualify.) UPDATE — a statement direct from Medi-share on another blog states that they do not require it, but they will let you know if you qualify for medicaid and help you apply. If you choose to get medicaid then Medi-share will give a discount on your monthly share. I’m glad to know it’s not required, but it seems counter intuitive that they would want you to get back on a gov’t program.
  • Medishare requires submitting health data for joining (height/weight/blood pressure, BMI, waist size, etc) including potentially needing to submit blood work, and or data from a physical depending on circumstances, Samaritan does not.
  • Samaritan has an optional program for incidents that go above $250,000. Medishare doesn’t require an additional program.
  • Medishare has a PPO network just like insurance does, including office visit and ER copays. It functions the most like insurance. Samaritan has no networks, you can choose whichever doctor you want without penalty.
  • Samaritan has you send shares direct to other members, Medishare members send their money to personal credit union accounts for distribution
  • Medishare has prenegotiated rates with providers due to the PPO network, Samaritan does not. This means Samaritan members are able to ask for even bigger discounts, Medishare discounts are already fixed.
  • Medishare has a $100,000 sharing limit for motorcycle accidents.
  • Medishare receives the bills direct from the provider, Samaritan members receive the bills themselves and send those on to Samaritan to be shared.
  • Medishare has no payment for alternative treatments (like alternative cancer treatments), Samaritan will pay for alternative treatments if they are preapproved by Samaritan and the cost isn’t excessively higher than a standard treatment.

REVIEWS

When I was reviewing these programs, I couldn’t find a negative review for Samaritan members. In fact they were gushing their love for it. However, I found several complaints about Medishare. Some of them were older, but there was even a lawsuit against them which is why they aren’t allowed to operate in Montana. Medi-share had reports of taking longer to pay the bills, Samaritan members very much enjoy process of sending their shares direct to other members. Overall, the reviews I found showed that Samaritan members had a much happier experience than those on Medishare. I’m sure there are very happy Medishare members, though. People who choose Medishare are drawn to its similarities to regular insurance. It’s familiar. In a similar fashion, it appears to offer familiar headaches with many “claims” being denied, and some payment delays.  The process of pooling member shares for distribution by the main office has gotten Medishare and the 3rd ministry (CHMinistries) into trouble with a few states for operating too much like insurance but without being subject to state insurance regulations. Samaritan doesn’t have those headaches with the states because of the method members have for sending shares direct to each other. Medishare does have a fairly attractive pre-existing policy, although pre-existing conditions never fall out of that status. The annual limits are generous though, once you reach the 3 year mark of being either clear of issues or 3 years of membership.

We found that Samaritan Ministries was cheaper, easier to join, easier to understand, offered more personal sharing with members thanks to the direct sending of cards and shares, and the overwhelming positive reviews from other members spoke highly to us.  We didn’t want to have a very high personal responsibility (deductible) and with Samaritan it’s only $300 per incident. With Medishare (for a similar price/month) our AHP responsibility would have been $3750 before Medishare would pay anything. That’s pretty high for us. With Samaritan that responsibility is $300 per incident, and that can actually be reduced to nothing based on discounts we get.

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