Of course there’s the issue of taxes. I am not a tax lawyer, but here’s everything I’ve learned in my research.
First, membership in Samaritan Ministries meets the rules of the ACA, because recognized healthcare sharing ministries are exempt from the individual mandate of Obamacare (ACA). The ministry must have been continuously in existence since Dec 31, 1999 (Samaritan has been). When you file taxes in spring of 2015 members will have instructions on how to list this exemption. There is nothing to do on our tax forms until then.
Second, if you have a need and receive shares from other members, that money is NOT taxable. They are considered gifts which are tax free. This was additionally confirmed by a couple members who were audited and that’s what the IRS validated for them.
Third, if you are a small business your current insurance premiums can be deducted (usually) from your taxes. Member shares through Samaritan Ministries are not tax deductible (unless you live in Missouri, then they are).
Fourth, Health Savings Accounts, which are common with some insurance plans cannot be used in conjunction with a Health care Sharing Ministry. There is currently a bill in progress to change this so that members can use their HSAs. (I think this means you can still use the money you have in there now, just can’t add more to it tax free – check with an accountant for sure). There are currently 67 congressmen co-sponsoring this bill. Given the turmoil in Washington right now I expect it will still be a while before these are allowed for us, although I’m not a tax expert or lawyer, that’s just a gut feeling.
Update: Samaritan released a very helpful video on how to submit your exemption to the ACA when you file your taxes. See it on their blog page by clicking here: http://samaritanministries.org/tax/