Our Samaritan Sharing Experience

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Posted by admin | Posted in Our Need Experience | Posted on 27-02-2017

Our Samaritan need submission experience has been amazing. Not only did we receive all of the shares that were assigned to our surgical need, we received a little extra because one of the members very generously sent about $10 more than they were assigned along with a very nice note. (We are choosing to pass that gift on to someone with a special prayer need next month.) Without a doubt, sharing a need with Samaritan members is an uplifting and joyful process. From start to finish the entire experience has been amazing and it was all done without any insurance company involvement. This experience shows us just how incredibly simple it is to get compassionate, high quality health care without any insurance at all. And it’s all possible by being a member of Samaritan Ministries.

We are still in awe about how EASY this whole process has been. Here’s the list:

  • Paid cash with 50% discount, small enough charge to fit on our credit card
  • We were treated well by friendly people
  • There was basically no wait time to get the consult, testing and surgery done (surgery was scheduled for 3 days after the testing)
  • We paid less (with cash) for the medications than most insurance copays would have charged
  • The itemized bill came quickly and was submitted online to Samaritan (new online submission feature is available now!)
  • We got to make all our own choices with advice from the doctor and no input from a rule bound insurance board
  • Talking to Samaritan was a pleasure and offered none of the frustrations that insurance company’s have given us
  • Had our full need 100% paid for through member shares within 2 1/2 months after the surgery was performed

Here’s what we avoided:

  • Avoided waiting 7-10 days for insurance to approve the surgery
  • Avoided the insurance requirement of working on only one hand at a time, which would have stretched out the entire process by an extra 1-2 months
  • Avoided any scheduling headaches by being forced to do it on someone else’s timeframe
  • Avoided be stuck with a giant deductible (in fact, 100% of the surgery was paid for!)
  • Avoided being charged twice as much for the entire procedure
  • Avoided seeing a bill, an EOB, and a final bill
  • Avoided any potential insurance coding and payment mixups
  • Avoided any extra “out of network” surprise charges

We received 100% of our assigned shares. 98% of funds came right on schedule between the 10th and 20th of the month along with nice cards and notes offering prayers for his healing. 2% of funds (one tiny share) arrived toward the end of the month. Most of them had cards and notes to go with it. We have saved them all as a reminder of God’s blessings.

I have always felt such peace about our Samaritan membership. Having now experienced a medical event and the Samaritan need submission/sharing process first hand only strengthens my confidence about how great this health care sharing ministry is. Yes, we pay for our own checkups, but even those are at a reduced rate with cash discounts. Insurance has its place, but it’s an option that is becoming increasingly unaffordable to many. I am so thankful that our family is walking our health care journey on a different path, a firmer foundation supported by fellow Christians following the ways of Christ. It has been a path of prayer, peace and comfort, freedom and joy, and incredible financial support. It amazes me how I (we) had come to accept the frustrations and large expenses associated with insurance as just being “normal” and “nothing we can do about it”. Doing healthcare the Samaritan way truly feels like chains being broken and coming out from under a crushing financial rock. I know that sounds over the top, but it’s entirely true. I wish everyone could experience how freeing it is to get health care with full support. To get bills paid quickly and without stress. To pay so little each month for the privilege of helping others achieve that same health care freedom. I wish we had found it sooner. 🙂 God bless Samaritan Ministries and its members. Thank You.

Checks are coming in!

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Posted by admin | Posted in Our Need Experience | Posted on 13-02-2017

The need we submitted in December for my husband’s surgery was shared this month with other members. Checks are arriving! It’s so fun to see what states members are in (4 so far; GA, TN, FL, and AZ). It’s amazing to think that his surgery was only 2 months and 5 days ago. Since we got the bill sent to us and submitted online right away, sharing is super fast. According to the post office stamp on each envelope mail is taking 3-4 days to reach us. That’s not bad. And they’re coming in a couple each day so it’s very easy to manage the list and get it recorded online who has sent us their share. I can see the full list of everyone’s name that was assigned to our need. We could confirm receipt through our online Samaritan account or on paper and mail it in. Either way it’s very simple.

I am SO THANKFUL for Samaritan. We feel so blessed to be a part of this ministry and know that these families are sharing our burden and praying for complete healing. It works! I knew it would because of how well it worked for friends of ours, but it’s still so amazing to have that confirmed for our own need. I plan to take a picture of the cards/checks to put with this post at a later date. Going to the mailbox is such a joy. I don’t have much else to add besides, “wow”. Thank You Lord.

Update on Our Need Submission

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Posted by admin | Posted in Our Need Experience, Samaritan Perks | Posted on 04-01-2017

We have made great progress with my husband’s need submission, but the holiday schedule prevented me from updating the blog before now.

SHORT VERSION: This has been so easy, simple and relaxed. It hasn’t even been time consuming; I’ve spent less than an hour on the entire process so far, and that’s just because I liked chatting with the Samaritan rep. 🙂 Actual work time was about 35 min I think.  Edit: I spent more time on this blog post than I did on the need submission

LONG VERSION: I got the bill I was waiting for in the mail from the surgeon’s office about a week after the surgery was performed. In the scheme of things that is really fast. In this case, one bill takes care of everything; office visit, surgery costs, and testing. In most cases I’m sure there would be a few bills to wait for (doctor, surgeon, hospital, xray), but we had this done at one location that handles everything themselves. I made sure that everything was itemized. I did need to call the surgeon’s office to get clarification on one thing, it was explained and nothing needed to be resent. So that meant I’ve made a total of 3 phone calls to the provider as part of this process (research-call, scheduling-call, question something on the bill-call). That’s not a big time commitment on my part.

When I got the bill I logged in my online account at Samaritan and followed the steps to submit my bills online. First it required us to fill out the questions about the bill, including dates of service, provider name/address/phone, patient name, description of what was done, and a review of the provider’s service.  I think most people could do this portion in 5-10 minutes (per bill), longer if you are feeling wordy.

Next is to actually upload a picture of the bill. So I took a photo of the bill with my phone (tablet works, too) and then emailed that image to myself so I could proceed using my big computer screen. I could have done the upload from my phone or tablet also I think, but the screens are small and I’d rather be able to see everything I’m doing all at once. 🙂 PDF scans are currently not permitted, bills must be submitted as a clearly readable photograph. That process took another 2-5 minutes.

If we had received multiple bills I would have done that process for each one. (I could have submitted the bill for the prescription, but it was about $13 and I can pay that myself.) I would estimate submitting 10 bills would take an hour or less (some wouldn’t need much explaining and you can take all the pictures at once). I don’t consider that to be unreasonable considering the benefits of having so much of the bills shared.

Then I wait. At any point I can go into my need section of the online account and see the status of the need. For a couple days it said it hadn’t been reviewed yet. Then we got busy and I forgot about it. Since I had originally selected email contact when the need was created, I realized that I would be missing out on talking to someone at Samaritan (and what if I missed the message?), so I gave them a call a few days later. I verified with member services that they had everything they needed, he confirmed it hadn’t been reviewed yet, but would be soon. We had a nice chat and he asked about my husband’s healing so far. It was a very relaxed, friendly call and I felt like he genuinely cared about our health. A couple days later I checked and it had been reviewed, I think it took about a week, maybe 10 days for it to be reviewed, which is impressive considering a major holiday was in the middle. It gives me a need bar graph showing what portion of the need was discounted and what is publishable. All of our need is publishable. Since it was submitted in December and no further actions are required (meaning there was enough detail/itemization) I expect it will be published for sharing in February. I was told we’ll be contacted before it’s published so they can tell us what to expect.

needscreen

Overall, I’ve spent less than an hour on the entire process and had only very easy steps to take. The Samaritan rep I spoke with thanked us for getting the discounts and mentioned something about us doing the work on that. I had to be honest that it really didn’t seem like a lot of work. The provider was friendly, patient and accommodating. The process of receiving the bill and submitting to Samaritan was so simple. With online submissions it didn’t even require a stamp. There hasn’t been any of the headaches insurance used to give me. And I didn’t have to get a bill, then an insurance EOB, then a final bill. I just got the one bill and turned it in. Even if it had been 10 bills, it still would have been less paperwork than using insurance simply by not having to get the extra EOBs and final bills (with big balances to pay).

It seems clear that Samaritan has worked hard to make this process as smooth as possible. Yes, there’s a few steps for us. But honestly, the steps aren’t difficult and if there aren’t a lot of bills it’s not even that time consuming. If you aren’t tech savvy, you can still do it all through the mail, which would add a couple days on either end for mail time, but it wouldn’t delay sharing unless your submission crossed into the next month. Or find a family member to help with online submissions. Either way, Samaritan is there to answer questions if you aren’t sure of something. They don’t ask for excessive information and all of it is logical. Another great part was being able to explain the bills as part of the bill submission. You can’t really do that with insurance so there’s no way to point out a unique fact about the bill. For instance my husband had surgery done on both hands at the same time. So the bill looks like we were double charged, when in fact it was a charge for each hand, itemized. I can point that out when I’m giving the details about what the bill is for (it could have been explained over the phone, too). With insurance that may have resulted in a rejection of 1/2 the charges (assuming they notice, many times they don’t) and either a delay or a fight to get it fixed. But with Samaritan I can explain that and any potential problem is avoided. It’s a personal touch even through electronic communication, which I find fantastic.

Overall I give this process an A-.   For some reason I didn’t get an email saying the need had officially been reviewed, however I did get emails when I first started the need online. If I had a personal secretary to handle it for me then I’d give it an A+ 🙂

I’ll update again when the bills are shared.

Update: A day after writing this post we did get a nice summary of our need in the mail, including details that it has been reviewed, how much is publishable, the publishing schedule (confirmed for February) and a list of the bills included. It’s a very nicely done information sheet. It’s readable, colorful, informative, detailed and not confusing at all.