Open enrollment for ACA insurance plans begins Nov 1, and that also marks a time when people who have been learning about how crazy expensive their policy is going to be for next year decide to drop it in favor of something else. Sometimes that “something else” is a different policy with an even higher deductible (trying to get a lower premium), but since even those lower premium options are still often a budget buster, please consider a health care sharing ministry. Some of you may already have started receiving letters from your insurance companies about what the changes will be. They will be trickling in over the next couple of months. Keep doing your research and running those numbers, pros and cons. It’s not just about all the money you can save, it’s also about the non financial benefits. Samaritan has always said that health care is about more than healing and paying bills. It’s about spiritual care and emotional care, too. Health care sharing is the total package.
November will mark 2 years of our membership with Samaritan and we are still very, very happy with it.
I continue to read wonderful reviews by members who have had their needs entirely shared (they sometimes compare it to what they would have paid with their old deductible and are blown away), and who dearly cherish the cards and letters from members who sent those shares. I am still hearing how happy people are with how Samaritan operates and the joy they get from sending their share to others.
I know health care sharing isn’t a perfect solution for everyone, but I also know that it is a great fit for many thousands of people and you could be one of them. The ability to pay less, get even better “coverage” in my opinion and know that your dollars are not supporting something you don’t need and/or disagree with is such a relief. It’s a breath of fresh air. Yes, it’s different. Yes, we have a more involved role in our own health care, but isn’t that how it should be? Shouldn’t we be motivated to ask more questions about what the treatment is, why we need it and how much it costs? Being part of Samaritan gives us that control back. There’s no battle with an insurance company, no corporation to fight, no asking permission for everything you medically need. You get incredible support from a team of people who above all want to serve Christ by helping others pay their medical bills. What better foundation could their be?
Open enrollment is a busy time for everyone in the health care industry. I suggest doing as much early research as you can to give yourself a head start making this very important decision for the upcoming year. And if you are so inclined to join a health sharing ministry now, by all means! Do so! 🙂
As soon as I am able to run comparison quotes of our Samaritan share vs various insurance plans available in our state I will post those to this site. I get the biggest kick out of seeing how much money Samaritan saves us each year. Thanks be to God for showing us this path. 🙂
4 thoughts on “Open Enrollment Begins Nov 1”
I am one of those who work for a Fortune 500 Company who is now getting hit with the final roll out of the ACA. We found out that our deductible is $8000 for 2016. That means that we need to cover our first $8K of bills until they have to pay a dime. We are looking over all the options of the various CHCM’s.
I want to clarify the SM $300 per incident cost. An example of one of my kids getting sick and after doctor visit, medication, and followup visit. Let’s say that comes to $250. I would pay that because it never reached $300. Now if my other kid caught the same illness the beginning of the next month we would go through the same as above treatment and another $250. So, my understanding would be that these types of examples will always be out of my pocket.
You are correct. Most people don’t have too many of those, but they can happen. Now if it’s $300 and discounted down to $250, you can still share it because its $300 before discounts. Don’t forget about those cash pay discounts, they can be significant. Samaritan is designed to bear the bigger burdens over $300 (which in today world, $300 is small compared to what insurance sticks us with), and we pay the smaller ones. The offset is that your monthly “premium” gets a lot smaller so hopefully we are able to put money away in savings for those rainy day expenses and $300 is a lot better than $8000. $8000 divided by $300 is almost 27. Your family would need to have 27 separate $299 incidents in a year to make that insurance a better deal. That’s a LOT. And that doesn’t even factor in your premium savings by changing to Samaritan. And if those little expenses add up to more than you can handle, combine some together and submit them as a special prayer need (can’t be more than a year old). You may get a little bit back to help with it.
When our family did the math we figured up the premium cost savings, and subtracted back those costs for checkups or small illnesses. Samaritan is still WAY cheaper for us. How many illness visits and checkups do you typically have in a year? Could any of them be handled differently or reduced? Maybe skip the clinic and call a nurse first. Or if you know kid #2 has the same thing, see if the doctor will prescribe the meds without a checkup (depends on whether testing is needed probably)… maybe get the tests done at a cheaper facility. Low insurance copays made it easy for us to head to the doctor and ignore the costs or whether there was a cheaper way, but we didn’t put 2+2 together that our high premiums and deductibles were allowing for that. It has just become too much and we need to take some control back.
I would suggest doing what we did and make a 2 column list. Compare current premium, copay costs X number of office visits you expect in a year for the whole family, vs lower Samaritan share, paying for checkups and small illnesses yourself (but don’t forget the cash pay discounts, call and find out what those are), and see how you come out. For us we still saved thousands per year. It was a no brainer. For others that may not be the case. Especially families with lots of kids, they get very good at finding ways to keep those out of pocket costs even smaller. Cash pay clinics, urgent care vs the ER, direct pay labs, drug shopping on apps like goodrx, health fairs, etc. By taking that on we become smarter health care shoppers and helping be part of the engine that could force the out-of-control health care expenses back down. If patients don’t become smarter healthcare shoppers there’ll be nothing to stop the runaway expense train. We can be part of the solution and save money at the same time. I wish you the best in your research, we absolutely love Samaritan and the approach they take. It’s biblical, but also very well grounded and pragmatic. Its a real solution to a real problem… finding affordable health care.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer. I think it will come down to Samaritan or Medi-Share. I see pro and cons with each.
You’re quite welcome. Good luck with your decision. I’m glad you’re looking into healthcare sharing ministries, they are a wonderful solution to the heathcare crisis in our country right now.