The evolvement of insurance coverage for healthcare needs in the U.S. has trained a lot of people to go to the doctor for every little thing, regardless of expected cost. The ER becomes a clinic waiting room for many as they don’t care about price since either insurance or Medicaid will pay for it. Giving any thought to the cost becomes second place to instant medical gratification. This needs to stop. This mindset is contributing to the high cost of medical care.
As parents, we hate to see our children ill or injured. Our first instinct is to fix it, no matter what it takes. As members of Samaritan we are mindful of what procedures may cost, out of our pocket and out of the pockets of fellow members. Of course we do not deny needed treatment based on cost, but we are more likely to ask if all the tests and procedures are necessary. It’s too easy to throw spaghetti at the wall (figuratively) and not care about charges because insurance will pay. Since we will be receiving the full bill and we are on the hook for all these costs, and Samaritan member families are graciously offering to help us out and pay the bills above $300, we want to keep costs as low as possible to benefit everyone. We are part of a larger group of people, like a family, who are going to help us, and their amount owed matters to us. It gives us a chance to pause, to ask questions about cost and necessity, and to ask ourselves whether an ER visit is really needed or can it wait until an office visit tomorrow? The instinct to “fix it” is still there, it just comes with logic and common sense, too.
Preventative care is another issue that has gotten out of control with standard health insurance. I have car insurance, but I would never expect it to pay for oil changes and tire rotations. Why would I expect my employer health plan to cover a checkup when nothing is wrong? I shouldn’t, yet this is the culture of healthcare today. As a member of Samaritan I pay for my own preventative care as a responsible member. I am required to live a Christ centered lifestyle which would naturally be more healthy. No, I’m not perfect and certainly eat my share of “junk food.” But I do not engage in toxic activities like illegal drugs, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption (drunkenness). By keeping myself under control it limits the need for lots of doctor visits. I should go in for a checkup once in a while, but the timing is up to me and my doctor, not any mandate from insurance regulations. And since I am ultimately responsible for my own health, those routine checkups are on me. I do not expect other members of Samaritan to pay to maintain my health. That’s my job. I know they will help if I am ill or injured and the bills become over $300.
This act of taking care of my own small burdens and sharing in the larger ones is so logical, so responsible and so biblically centered. Samaritan follows the teachings of Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ…and the responsibility for the 1st $300 and our own checkups follows with Galatians 6:5 for each one should carry his own load.
I love it. It makes so much sense to me.