Enrollment Increases in Faith-Based Alternatives to Health Insurance
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Since the controversial roll out of Obamacare, many Americans have turned to faith-based groups for their insurance and health care needs.
Two of the largest groups in the U.S. are Medi-Share and Samaritan Ministries.
More than 50,000 households are part of the Samaritan ministry program, moving $15 million among its members each month.
To be eligible a participant must attend church three out of four Sundays, not smoke cigarettes, not abuse drugs or alcohol – your pastor has to sign off on that.
Then you submit medical bills to the exchange and fellow members send you the cash to cover them in full.
“Our members actually have the privilege and the honor of sharing directly with one another, family-to-family. So every month, I don’t send a check directly to our offices in Peoria, Illinois. I send a check to Tom Smith in Iowa or Gary Johnson in New Mexico,” said James Lansberry with Samaritan Ministries.
While this is not considered insurance, it does satisfy the federal coverage mandate under Obamacare, but most members rave about the cost.
On average, these programs are roughly 30 percent cheaper than traditional insurance plans, according to a study from the Association of Health Insurance Providers.
The cost is $180 a month for a single person and it runs $405 a month for a family. There are no real deductibles.
Preventative care is not included, but members don’t really seem to mind.
“You kind of look at this and say well, it’s not going to cover my colonoscopy every 10 years, my physical once a year with blood work. You figure, if I’m saving three or $400 a month, I think I can budget for a physical,” said Daniel Sneed, a religious exchange participant.
Pre-existing conditions are covered under these religious exchanges.