Open Enrollment begins today (Nov 1 through Dec 15)

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Ok everyone, get your track shoes on, open enrollment for health insurance starts today, November 1, and runs through December 15. As this is one of the most nauseating days of the year for its fascinating “train-wreck” numbers analysis I am able to report that this year was no exception. Our quoted insurance plan options went up again (shocker) and most importantly, the total cost for premiums plus maxing out the deductible officially crossed $40,000. So if we actually need to use the policy to it’s full potential we would cough up over $40,000 in medical expenses (plus premiums) that year. Oh, but wait, we would get free physicals. Pfffft, sorry, that’s not free! I’m still more than happy to pay for a physical out of pocket to save that much money! If you want to see the breakdown for 2019 please click here.

People, this really isn’t funny, because even though we are supremely blessed to have Samaritan in our corner, we are paying these high costs anyway through the products are services we buy. Hourly rates for local businesses keep climbing because of their cost to cover health insurance for themselves and their staff. The world we live in is getting more and more expensive and it’s all riding on the back of health care. Something has got to be done about this.

Samaritan Ministries and its members are working hard to keep health care costs in check. While members are getting discounts, Samaritan is also starting a new pilot program to help ensure we get fair pricing for every submitted need, because it’s not just the discount that matters, it’s the final amount billed which affects our bottom lines.

We are so thankful for our Samaritan membership. I honestly don’t know what we would do without it. If you are in need of something more affordable that offers amazing support and financial provision please download the free Samaritan information pack and feel free to browse this site for tons of information about our Samaritan member experience.

Paying cash for meds cheaper than insurance co-pay?

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Posted by admin | Posted in Samaritan Perks | Posted on

Open enrollment is starting soon, November 1 to be exact. While I still can’t see what my insurance premiums options are until then, I am able to see what the drug insurance copays would be depending on the level of insurance plan we could get. (Note: We have no intention of changing to insurance, but I like to keep track of how much better Samaritan’s pricing is!) We only have one option for insurance on the individual market. When the choose the bronze plan on the insurance company website, it shows me what my copays for medicines would be. I have put several medicines that we’ve been prescribed in the last few years into their search fields to see what the pricing is today. I did the same thing with goodrx, my go-to for cash drug discounts, and made the comparisons.

So far, every single one of them is cheaper using the coupon through goodrx. EVERY ONE. While that will not always be the case, it is again eye opening how insurance isn’t really saving us anything. For one of the medications with the widest pricing swing, I called the closest goodrx pharmacy with the cheapest price to get their cash (no goodrx discount) prices, and make sure they accept goodrx coupons. Here’s what I learned.

Straight cash: $478.99 (90 day supply)
Goodrx coupon: $38.18 (90 day supply)
Insurance copay: $60 (90 day supply)

For a generic it’s incredible that the cash price is almost $500, wow. Goodrx will save us 36% over the insurance copay and 92% over straight cash! It really pays to do the research. The pricing variation for this one medication in the same town, across 6 different pharmacies with a few miles of each other ranged from $38.18 to $171.15 even using the goodrx coupon.

While paying cash and using coupons for medications is a great thing, there can be some pitfalls. For one, it usually means we get our prescriptions filled at a number of different pharmacies in the area. It’s worth it to me to drive across town to save $130 on the exact same medication. It adds a little more time, but the savings are definitely worth it. Prices should be checked periodically because they can change (usually annually, sometimes more often), and it may require you to transfer your prescription mid year to capture the savings. (Transferring is usually very easy and automated over the phone or online). Also, sometimes the cash/coupon price isn’t cheaper than an insurance co-pay. It pays to make a list of your medicines and run these comparisons. For many people they come out ahead each year, even if some meds are higher, simply because others are so much cheaper. And the difference between our Samaritan monthly share and the insurance premium also plays in. I can afford to pay a little more for any higher priced meds because I’m saving so much each month on premiums.

Once again, being a member of Samaritan Ministries instead of having traditional health insurance is saving us money and giving us freedom of choice. Even when it comes to medications.

 

Want to know more? Click here for a free downloadable information packet

 

Insurance Still Increasing by Double Digits for Many

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Posted by admin | Posted in ACA-Obamacare, Samaritan Perks | Posted on

News articles are reporting that some states are already seeing requests by insurance companies to raise premiums for next year by double digits again. Maryland is the first state to see it, with increases anywhere from 18% to a whopping 91%.

ref: http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-insurance-rate-requests-20180507-story.html

Maryland is scrambling to come up with a reinsurance option to help offset this, but even if their plan works it will still mean a very large increase for those residents. This would be the 4th year in a row for very large increases on insurance premiums. The new tax laws removed the individual mandate for 2019, but high premiums and no mandate means that thousands more will go completely without any financial safety net should their health struggle.

Healthcare sharing ministries offer an alternative that is worth investigating. If you fear a health event without any financial protection, but can’t afford insurance premiums or don’t agree with the morality of the coverage, then consider a sharing ministry. These ministries offer a MUCH cheaper solution to the issue of health care cost management. There’s no need to walk around unprotected and in fear of the next sprained ankle or that a big event could wipe you out. Samaritan Ministries offers extremely affordable monthly share costs, and offers a logical alternative to high insurance. Members pay for their own yearly physical, but the tradeoff is not having to pay thousands per month for your premium. The costs savings are huge, but even more importantly, the emotional and spiritual support goes up 1000 fold. Members have an advocate in their corner with Samaritan Ministries. They no longer have to wade the complicated world of medical billing alone. It’s an amazing system and one that I wish everyone could experience. More and more people are joining ministries as membership to ministries overall has skyrocketed to over 1 million people. It’s no longer that odd-ball idea, it’s a fully tested and functionally successful model for more than 3 decades.

We’ve had two medical events paid for through our ministry membership. There was no high left over deductible, in fact, 100% of our bills that we turned in were covered and covered quickly. No one can say that about insurance payouts. And we had no headaches with Samaritan. They were friendly, supportive, helpful, and offered support on an emotional level that an insurance rep just cannot do. The process for submitting our bills was fast and easy online, and payments arrived less than 60 days later. We joined Samaritan more than 4 years ago and have never regretted it. I encourage everyone to look into whether join a healthcare sharing ministry could be a cost saving, and peace inducing solution for your family’s health care needs.

Want to know more? Click here for a free information packet!