Member letters: Members save on medical bills, minister to one another

By Samaritan members  ·  Sep 24, 2020

Members save with Healthcare Bluebook


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After suffering a heart attack last year and having several surgeries, my bills are mounting.

In recovering from a heart attack, my doctor wanted me to have a defibrillator implant. This required me to approach the hospital with no insurance as a self-pay patient and because it was major surgery, I knew it would be very expensive. Using the Healthcare Bluebook website showed me that I had two providers in my area to approach for quotes. I learned from the Healthcare Bluebook team that the cost of the device, the surgeon, and the anesthesiologist were about the same in each location, but the facility cost can be wildly different.  At one hospital I was able to get the facility price of $119,500 reduced to $25,000. The other came in at a self-pay price of $79,000. I would be using my same doctor to do the surgery at the lower-cost facility.

The hospital agreed to the price but needed me to pay 35 percent upfront. I called Samaritan and explained that in order to save the members $94,000 I would need to pay $8,750 right away before the surgery. I had a little-used credit card I could use to pay the fee, and Samaritan staff  told me to go ahead, take whatever steps I needed in order to get the healthcare I needed. They also reminded me that the Guidelines allow three months’ interest charges to be shared when paying with a credit card results in substantial savings. Samaritan Ministries has been the best decision I could have ever made for my health care.


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I was having several disturbing symptoms and my doctor wanted me to have an MRI. I looked on the Healthcare Bluebook site and found a place close to me that offered the MRI for $500 while other providers in the area were charging $4,200. And what a pleasant surprise to receive the $250 incentive check in the mail! 


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I recently had some serious gallbladder attacks and a diagnostic ultrasound. Not knowing where to go locally for it, we looked on Healthcare Bluebook and found one nearby. It cost about $250 instead of the normal $500. Even though this isn’t a huge savings, I received the reward for my efforts to steward our Shares. Bluebook is a great resource that results in significant savings.


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I had to get an MRI on my left shoulder to rule out rotator cuff tear.  I went to Healthcare Bluebook to find the place that offered the best price for the MRI. To my surprise it was my local hospital. According to Healthcare Bluebook, they were charging $495 for an MRI of the shoulder, while other places were starting out at over $500, up to $1,200. We use Healthcare Bluebook to find the best deals on any labs, or CT/MRI/X-rays that I need.

In the past year I have had to have MRIs on my right knee and left shoulder, as well as CT scans of my abdomen. Every time we found the hospital or stand-alone radiology facility that offered the best price by using the Healthcare Bluebook.  I recommend it to everyone we know, regardless of whether they are members of Samaritan Ministries. With insurance deductibles so large, everyone can use Healthcare Bluebook to help them save money on the tests that doctors order.


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When I had shoulder problems, I needed an MRI with contrast. Healthcare Bluebook pointed to me to a provider who performed it for $726 while others in my area could charge up to $4,300. Yikes! 



Samaritan is the Body of Christ ministering to one another

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Our daughter who broke her arm is just 5 years old, so one family sent her a puzzle and book with their Share. They included a note about how they prayed that she would know God’s great love for her. They gave her Jesus in a way that she could understand. They made something that could have been a bad memory into an event that leads her to the heart of the Lord. Now associated with her broken arm memory is the message of God’s love specifically for her. I’m so grateful for the Body of Christ who helps speak truth and life into my children!


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God has richly blessed me in all aspects of my life, including through the members of Samaritan Ministries. The prayers and encouraging notes are precious, and I’m thankful my Shares are sent directly to brothers and sisters in Christ. I also find it reassuring that my medical decisions are between me and my doctor without intrusion from an insurance company. And it’s a huge blessing to know my Shares will never be used to fund the killing of an unborn child, unlike insurance premiums. I thank God for Samaritan praying his continued blessings on the leadership and our whole Samaritan family.


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Through my journey of breast cancer God not only met our needs financially, but He has shown Himself to be a merciful and loving Father by using the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to restore me to health. He used this cancer to bring glory to Himself in so many ways, and I view my cancer as a blessings, not a curse. The trial definitely drew me closer to Him and the prayers and encouraging cards from brothers and sisters in Christ were amazing. It is such an encouragement to experience the Body of Christ pulling together even though we are miles apart!


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It was so encouraging to know brothers and sisters in Christ were praying for my Need. It’s such a valuable part of this ministry, and no insurance company can provide that. I thank God for Samaritan and pray that He preserves it as a beautiful, effective way for Christians  to meet one another’s Needs and glorify Him.


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In 2013 I suddenly lost my 52-year-old husband to a heart attack, and his employer-sponsored health insurance as well. The next two years, coincidental with the final implementation of Obamacare, were a nightmare of trying to find a suitable policy, then losing it as company after company bowed out or went belly-up under the “Affordable” Care Act

Thank God that’s when a family member told me about Samaritan. In November of 2015 I joined. I now take full responsibility for managing and paying for my own health care—by budgeting for ordinary health needs and leaning on the generosity of my fellow members to help when my needs are extraordinary. Although there is no contractual guarantee that my needs will be met, I have confidence in the integrity of my fellow members to give as they have promised, as well as confidence in Samaritan’s board of directors and staff to manage a reliable and sustainable program.

Since I became a member, I have never been concerned about whether the program would be available again next year, or what ways an insurer was going to weasel out of paying a claim—as COBRA did to me when my already-met deductible reset to zero upon my husband’s death.

I’ve always been pretty healthy, but this year I had three unexpected needs totaling over $10,000. I am starting to receive checks from members all over the country, and with those financial gifts come prayers and notes of encouragement. I am convinced those prayers are invaluable, and a significant factor in my recovery. Biopsies for all three issues have all come back normal or benign, praise God!

I am grateful—to God, Samaritan Ministries, and each and every person who prayed for my health and supported me financially.