Are you Samaritan Ministries member who has questions about how to fill out your tax forms regarding health care sharing membership?

We’re not from the government, but we are here to help.

Watch this video featuring Josiah Candler of Member Services as he explains Affordable Care Act exemption instructions for members of health care sharing ministries. You can also get the IRS form you’ll need and instructions at samaritanministries.org/tax.

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Dr. Matthew Davis, an orthopedic surgeon in Birmingham, Alabama, and a Samaritan Ministries member, is trying to make his practice, Davis Orthopedics, more patient-friendly. He opted out of the Medicare system in 2009 and last year adopted transparent pricing for the procedures he performs. That means the prices he charges are public, consistent and right on his website. We talked to him about his approach to charging patients.

Why did you decide to stop participating in Medicare in 2009?

I don’t see it as a sustainable model for health care services.  The natural result is going to be restricted access to medical care for people that are in that system. I didn’t want to be a part of that. I realized if I was outside the system that I could provide whatever care I felt was appropriate and whatever care my patients wanted to pursue without having to worry about violating any rules or regulations. My patient and I could together decide what kind of treatment we felt was appropriate. I was very drawn to that. I didn’t feel that anyone else should dictate what kind of treatment I could provide or what kind of treatment my patients could get.

When did you adopt transparency for your pricing and why?

Federal law allows me to privately contract with my patients so that I can continue to service them and they pay me directly. So (when I opted out of Medicare) I had to determine what I wanted to charge for my services since I was going to be directly dealing with my patients. Over time I have continued to use that price structure for other patients that I have taken care of. In our community we have a population that doesn’t have insurance for various reasons. As an orthopedist I take care of a lot of injuries. Many of these patients would go to the emergency room or urgent care clinic with an injury and they would be diagnosed and told that they had to have follow-up orthopedic care. But without insurance they were having a very difficult time finding someone that would take care of them. Since I was a little bit more prepared to charge a reasonable price for the services I provided, I took it upon myself to go around to some of these different facilities and make sure they were aware of my pricing structure and that it was typically more affordable than other practices in the community.

Probably the biggest change was about a year ago. I went to the first annual Free Market Medical Association meeting in Oklahoma City. At that conference, there were a lot of discussions about price transparency and what impact it had. It resonated with me that I was already doing some of those things but I did not fully appreciate some of the other advantages of promoting it to the public in a more proactive way. That’s when decided to put my prices on my website.

What regulated how much you were charging before that point?

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Remember the Persecuted Church

Hebrews 13-3

Few Western Christians truly know what it means to be persecuted for their faith. While most of us enjoy religious freedom, our brothers and sisters in more than 40 nations around the world are being brutally punished for believing in Jesus Christ. International Christian Concern’s March 2015 newsletter reports that 100 million Christians around the world were discriminated against, beaten, imprisoned or even beheaded for their faith in 2014.

How can you help? Here are some ways.

  • Various organizations share the names of persecuted Christians across the globe and how to pray for them. You can sign up for alert emails at icommittopray.com, prisoneralert.com and persecution.org.
  • Some offer opportunities for members of the Body of Christ to write personalized letters of encouragement. The Voice of the Martyrs provides these resources on  prisoneralert.com.
  • Samaritan Ministries offers updates and prayer points on persecuted Christians in our monthly newsletter.
  • You can financially support Christian workers on the front lines of persecution through Voice of the Martyrs or International Christian Concern.

Ministries that serve the persecuted Church include:

Please don’t forget your brothers and sisters in chains.

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Member letter: God has blessed this ministry

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What a blessing this has been to experience God using His people to meet the needs of His people. We were skeptical of how this would work if we ever had a need. But, the process was so smooth. Most important to us was when the prayer cards came rolling in—one came with little games and pictures for our son to do. He experienced a full recovery shortly after his procedure, but the prayers that continued for him were so neat to see. I can only imagine how uplifting they would be for people still recovering. God has truly blessed this ministry and has blessed us by being a part of it. What a privilege it is to be able to pray for others and be a part of healing someone’s body and spirit!

Brian and Shari

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We are so thankful for Samaritan Ministries and its members! With my husband being self-employed, there were few options available to us for maternity needs. We are pleasantly surprised over and over again with how pleasant Samaritan is to deal with. One month we were to send our share to a member who lived across the country—a member who happens to be an old friend from long ago! Sure makes “paying bills” so much more pleasant when you know that one is sharing the burden of a fellow brother in Christ.

We loved how everything with our pregnancy was handled. What an answer to prayer!

Thanks so much,

Andrea

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The combination of rapidly increasing baby boomer retirees and possible financial shortfall of Medicare and Social Security poses a vital question for all Americans: how to care for the aging in our families and churches. Christians have an advantage in dealing with this challenge.

The first national Christian Family Eldercare Conference in Denver, Colorado, on March 27-28, presented by Generations with Vision, will offer answers to that question that aim to encourage, enable and equip families and church leaders to care for their elderly.

We hope that if you live in the Denver area you’ll be able to come. You have to register online at https://christianfamilyeldercare.org/conferences/1/registrations/new. Cost is $59 for individuals, $79 for a couple, and $99 for a family (immediate family members only).

Samaritan Ministries is pleased that we’re a part of the mix. Executive Vice President James Lansberry will speak on solutions for what he calls a “pivotal issue … what are we going to do when the freight train actually gets here, when the Medicare and Social Security problem starts to come to fruition.”

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