For many years, I have been upset by the fact that I have been forced to choose a product or service that I did not want. Everything from car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, PMI, and of course health insurance (the most costly of them all). I ranted for years and years that I would completely opt out of it because I was sick and tired of funding a corporate crony capitalist mafia insurance industry that have completely taken over the country and even wrote the law that is now commonly known as Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. As we know it has turned out to be nothing but lies and disappointment. Everything from the website healthcare.gov being down to millions of people being dropped from coverage to discovering that you are not guaranteed to keep your same health insurance, hospital or even your doctor. And not to mention that health insurance covers things like abortion, and even rumors of death panels, forced vaccinations and worse. It has been a complete nightmare. … And I have not even mentioned the fact that people’s health insurance premiums more than doubled (or tripled in some cases) since Obama took office. So much for being affordable. As Christians, we have forgotten that God is the great physician and that we can trust Him with all of our needs. He has and will provide. Unfortunately, We have been nearly thoroughly convinced that we need health insurance to “survive” or even “thrive” in this modern day life. In fact, the only reason I hadn’t cancelled my insurance was the fact my wife was concerned (and at the convincing of others) that one cannot have a baby without health insurance. Costs could range in the tens of thousands of dollars if there is a complication. For my wife, I decided not to be a complete rebel and make a completely “radical” move of dropping health insurance and kept it all these years. That was until I saw the debacle that has unfolded with Obamacare. This year I had made up my mind. “That’s it. I’m done. Finished. IT’S OVER…I don’t care what happens. Let the chips fall where they may…I am completely OPTING OUT OF HEALTH INSURANCE. I will claim a religious exemption and they can send me bills all day long…they won’t get paid…DOWN WITH THE MAFIA INSURANCE INDUSTRY!” And if it wasn’t for the Eureka moment I had about a week ago, I would have gone forward with it as of January 1st.
I looked over the healthcare law exemption list several times. The list reads:
- You’re uninsured for less than 3 months of the year
- The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income
- You don’t have to file a tax return because your income is too low (Learn about the filing limit.)
- You’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or eligible for services through an Indian Health Services provider
- You’re a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry
- You’re a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance, including Social Security and Medicare
- You’re incarcerated, and not awaiting the disposition of charges against you
- You’re not lawfully present in the U.S.
- You had an approved hardship (list at https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions/)
So as far as I could tell, I had to go for the one that read, “You’re a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance, including Social Security and Medicare.” Which means I would have to opt out of Social Security and Medicare. To be honest, I don’t think I have the faith to do all that. As someone who follows politics, I realize that one can’t get all of what they want at once. It takes steps over the course of time…sometimes years, to see progress in your ideals take place in society. Well this also takes time in our personal lives too. Maybe someday I can completely opt out of everything. I had hoped that maybe my wife would be able to qualify for MassHealth, but that would be a gamble that it would even be approved because if all of my bonuses and commission were included, we make too much to qualify for that. I felt trapped like a caged animal. But I was ready to do it…wanted to put my foot down as a man of the house and say, “THAT’S IT…I DON’T CARE WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES ARE.” Once in my life I wanted to make a decision as a sovereign human being and not be questioned about it. My mom saw my post on facebook and posted the same list I did above. My eyes caught one that read, “You’re a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry.” I said, “What the heck is that?” And just out of sheer curiosity, I did a Google search. And the first site I found was Samaritan Ministries. I watched the video on their website. I suddenly went from anger and rage to feeling moved almost to tears. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My heart melted and my spirit, which was weak and being clobbered by the flesh, woke up and saw the vision. … THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS sharing each others needs. Just like Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The bible tells us to love one another. When we stand before God at the Great White Throne, He is looking at not what we did for HIM, but what we did for OTHERS. The church has a major problem of disunity in these times. And with the rising cost of health care going out of control, Christians can in at least one way come together to help each other out in some of our biggest time of need—which for a lot of us, is our health. For the first time through all my rantings and rage, I felt hope. I felt as if I didn’t have to completely abandon a program in which I could get assistance in my time of need. More importantly, I felt deep down inside that this would be the right thing to do because it is more blessed to give than receive. My wife and I are overall very healthy. Of course we could opt out of health insurance and probably be okay for at least 10-20 years. But then I realized I could pay into something that would help other Christians. I could opt out of health insurance WITHOUT forsaking my brothers and sisters in their time of need! What a worthy cause! No longer did I need to have an adolescent and immature attitude of just “screw it all” and heard God saying, “I can provide for you no matter what, but to whom much is given much is required.” We have been blessed with so much. What a beautiful way to give back. It was a very humbling experience to say the least. My anger turned to joy…and of course, as the icing on the cake, I could be the hero and tell my wife that we WILL have some type of “coverage” 😉 (Note: they can’t call it coverage because it’s not insurance). The best part is, being part of a Christian healthcare sharing ministry exempts you from the healthcare law and you will NOT get penalized!
Then what is it? Christians pooling in their resources to share the cost of their medical bills. And it’s done in a way that is unlike anything most of you have probably ever heard before…
There are three Christian ministries are Samaritan Ministries (www.samaritanministries.org), Christian Healthcare Ministries (chministries.org) and Christian Care Ministry or Medi-share (http://mychristiancare.org/). Three ministries are standing out as a light in the darkness to give Christians an alternative which for most people actually cost LESS than regular health insurance plans.
After doing my research, the best option for me and my family was Samaritan Ministries. How it works is: you are a member paying into the program, but your share goes DIRECTLY to another person’s needs*! And because everyone must pay into to keep their membership, it keeps others accountable to pay their share. They don’t require you to you pass a physical, they accept you no matter what health issues you have, and don’t ask you to apply for federal/state aid first before you can publish needs with them. They also have a generous maternity program, and even if something is not publishable, they have a Special Prayer Needs section which folks can contribute tax deductible donations to help with those costs. They even have a provision for alternative medicine. Most health insurance companies don’t. You CAN go to any doctor you want. No having to worry about the doctor being in network or not. And they have a staff who will help you with getting reductions on your doctor bills.
Plans start as low as $165 a month for a single person, $315 for a couple and $370 for a family. There is a one time $200 enrollment fee, and that’s it. No household pays more than $370 to the membership* unless they want to contribute to another ministry and that is tax deductible and goes towards things otherwise not publishable. One is Save to Share, which you can contribute more money for needs above the publishable $250,000 per incidence. For members who fall behind, you can even contribute to a sponsorship program to help cover their monthly share as well.
My health insurance, which is Tufts, was going up to $408 a month next year. As you can see, I am paying LESS and not only that but my monthly share is sent DIRECTLY to another member!* I get their information in my mailbox, see their name and their need, and can send the share right to them so they can pay their bills. I can even put a note of encouragement and pray for them directly! What a blessing! Good luck getting that with insurance.
Anyone you refer, you get $180 off your share for that month as well, so they reward referrals.
For more information and their guidelines, go to http://www.samaritanministries.org. Of course like anything else, there is no free lunch. They do believe in personal responsibility and you are responsible for the first $300 of each need per year for the first 3 (three) needs; after that the entire need can be published. Routine medical exams and tests are not publishable. And folks with prior heart conditions or type 1 diabetes cannot share those needs (but may be eligible for other assistance). There are other things that are not publishable, but the most common things are. So I cannot say it is right for everyone, but it is certainly a far cry from anything the secular world can provide. What insurance company would let you pay others medical bills directly, pay you for referrals, help you pay for bills even if it’s not publishable, and even pray for you over the phone?
If you want more information, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want for info. If you call them please and find they are the right fit for you, please tell them that Joseph Cavallaro Jr referred you, as that would be a big blessing since I do get a referral credit. Thank you and God Bless!
* The first few payments when you start membership, and then the first payment of each renewal year, goes towards administrative costs to pay for the employees of the ministry. The rest goes DIRECTLY to another member’s address for their own personal bills!
** Only the members can VOTE to increase the monthly share rate. See website for more info.