Insurance Without the Insurance Company

The following is from an anonymous reader.

We used to have major medical insurance, which cost us about $3,300 a year with a annual deductible of $5,000. Six years ago when I had emergency surgery, the ER of the hospital that is covered by our insurance was closed so my doctor sent us to a different hospital. That hospital didn't like what our insurance paid for "fair and reasonable" so we were left with the remainder of the bill on top of our $5,000 deductible. Ouch! That almost did us in AND the hospital wasn't all warm and cozy about working out payments.

It was then that we started looking elsewhere because we felt the insurance was messed up and we couldn't even make decent medical decisions. Not to mention that when we came up for renewal I was now high risk with a higher premium because of my ectopic pregnancy.

We decided to join Samaritan Ministries ( ). It is an organization where Christians share each other's medical bills and the bills are paid in cash. It isn't insurance.

So here is how my leg injury played out. My total bills were $30,616. I called each of the providers and asked for a discount if I paid cash. Doing that alone lowered my bills to $18,814. I then submitted my bills to Samaritan (they are very thorough on checking that the needs/bills are legitimate) and they assigned our "need" to enough people to cover the bills completely. Our need was sent out the first of December and as of now 53 families have sent us money and we have received all but $3,000. I expect the rest will come in by the end of the month.

As a family we pay $285 each month to a family that has a medical need. At the first of each month, Samaritan tells us who to send our money to. Singles and couples with no children pay less than $285 each month. Each need that you have will be covered in full (should everyone send their money) up to $100,000 per incident. You can join a program called "Save To Share" if you want needs covered above and beyond $100,000.

We have participated and sent out money to a different family each month for 4 years now. This is the first time that we have had to submit a need and it has been incredible to see it work. We now spend $3,420 on medical each year and can submit any need that is over $300 (they do have guidelines about preexisting conditions and non covered needs). We have the freedom to go where we want, when we want and select the services we want.

I won't get too political here but this is what Obama wants to take away – especially for the children and that saddens me greatly. I have nothing against insurance but I think it has gotten out of hand in the medical arena. It is such a great feeling to know that you are helping someone pay their medical bills in cash (and it is a great feeling to have your medical bills paid in cash without the red tape of insurance).

Some employers pay the employee's Samaritan share each month because they have chosen not to take the group health coverage offered by the employer. However even this wouldn't work under Obama's plan.

(Name Withheld)

(NOTE: For more information about these programs, go to The Alliance for Health Care Sharing Ministries)

Comments (2)

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  1. Larry C. says:

    There are probably lots of arrangements like this that we never hear about.

  2. James Lansberry says:


    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been a member of health care sharing ministries (Samaritan) for over 10 years and have a large family and it has been a huge blessing.

    When I was offered an opportunity to come to work for Samaritan I jumped at the chance, and now we’re working hard to continue to maintain the freedom to have health care like this: consistent with our values and our pocketbooks.

    James Lansberry
    President, Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries