Health Care Stewardship: Little decisions add up

By Bryan Rudolph, Director of Program Management-Innovation  ·  Feb 20, 2023

From mastering a skill, to paying off a debt, to meeting a weight loss goal, some of the most important outcomes in our lives are the result of the collective weight of a thousand small decisions.

It takes discipline to make those decisions the right decision over and over again. We tell ourselves that a particular choice is inconsequential, and perhaps it is. Then so is the next one and the next.

It’s only once we view them altogether that we see the enormous impact of small decisions.

Small decisions, big impact

Small displays of kindness, grace, and forgiveness shape the culture of our families, our churches, and our workplaces. It’s important to make the right decisions that contribute to the sort of communities we want to live in.

It’s the same with health care sharing. We want to bear one another’s burdens while keeping our financial costs low. The decisions that each of us make when pursuing medical care contribute to making sure that happens.

For example, members like you account for 83 percent of the total discounts that we secure each year on medical bills.

By being savvy consumers of health care, we keep costs down. Eventually, that translates into a slower growth of monthly Shares for everyone. Insurance rates have risen 20 percent over the past five years and 43 percent over the past 10 years, but health care sharing has been able to beat that trend thanks to the faithfulness of members practicing daily stewardship.

Good stewardship

Being a good steward doesn’t mean that we avoid going to the doctor when it’s necessary or seek substandard care. In reality, pursuing care early can head off issues before they get worse, and sometimes the highest quality provider also offers the best price.

Being a good steward means taking small, practical steps to control costs:

  • Before seeking treatment, log in to your Samaritan Ministries Dashboard and use Healthcare Bluebook to search for providers offering specific services in your area. Based on market data, providers are ranked by care quality and whether they charge a fair price. Often, the provider that delivers the highest quality care also offers the best price.
  • You can ask your provider if they offer cash-pay discounts. Some members hesitate to do this because they feel like they’re asking for charity. In reality, the chargemaster rate that providers typically bill is grossly inflated. Asking for discounts is a way to avoid being taken advantage of.
  • Check out the health resources page on the Dashboard for immediate assistance with prescriptions, labs, telemedicine, and more.

Being smart with our health care dollars takes intentionality but it’s worth it because the small decisions we make add up. Samaritan Ministries is committed to providing members with the tools they need to be successful. Doing so not only limits the amount you might be expected to pay out of pocket, but also keeps Share amounts lower for everyone. The decisions we make together matter.

Health Care Stewardship appears monthly in the Samaritan Ministries newsletter.

Bryan Rudolph is Samaritan Ministries Director of Program Management­–Innovation.