The following is an excerpt from Sharing the Burden: The Samaritan Ministries Story by Senior Communications Specialist Michael Miller. You can buy the book here.
Health care sharing is counterintuitive. After all, there are no guarantees. In its place comes trust . . . trust in God and the Body of Christ. Longtime members insist this is a better way of taking care of health care needs.
Illinois Samaritan Ministries member Robert Rutan said he and his wife, Kelly, joined despite the lack of a guarantee from SMI that their needs would be met. This trust proved reliable, with their needs met even in the face of steep medical expenses for cancer treatments. “We know the stability and the dependability of the members,” Kelly said.
And it’s a “more responsible way to manage our own health,” she added, referring to the freedom Samaritan grants her to visit whichever health care providers her family chooses. Still, participation in a health care sharing ministry includes responsibilities. Members must learn to negotiate lower charges for medical services, something people with health insurance rarely think about. But when you’re responsible for how much money other brothers and sisters in Christ will have to send, you become more aware of what you’re spending, whether it’s necessary, and whether the treatment is available elsewhere for a lower cost.
That freedom to choose and the encouragement to take responsibility for one’s choices impresses Grace-Marie Turner.