We are not insurance. Not now. Not ever.

By by Greg Feulner  ·  Sep 20, 2023

For many people, “health care” is synonymous with “insurance.” It’s the default mindset. But health care and insurance are not the same thing at all.

Insurance is an agreement between an insurance company and an individual who agrees to pay for covered events in exchange for payment from a policyholder. Typically, the company has agents who represent the company, but the agreement is between the policyholder and the company, not an agency.

Health care, however, describes the medical treatment people need to bring about healing and restoration.

Because of this, we refer to care for people as "health care" (two words) and not "healthcare" (one word). Healthcare has become a term weighed down by political and bureaucratic connotations. But health care is about just that: care. Care for health, care for people.

At Samaritan Ministries, the very terminology and processes we use reflect the fact that we are not insurance: “Prayer Guide,” “sharing burdens,” “sending Shares,” “member Needs.” This is because Samaritan Ministries exists to honor the Lord Jesus Christ through health care sharing, cutting out the obstacles many Christians face with insurance, and doing that in such a way as to build the Body of Christ.

At Samaritan Ministries, the very terminology and processes we use reflect the fact that we are not insurance: “prayer guide,” “sharing burdens,” “sending Shares,” “member Needs.”

Because of this, a noninsurance approach to medical care is not incidental to Samaritan Ministries. Noninsurance is, in fact, central to our very identity and mission as a health care sharing ministry (HCSM). From the beginning, Samaritan Ministries has operated on the foundation that the Church—as a community of believers in Jesus Christ—should help one another with their medical burdens, with each member sending a Share every month directly to a brother or sister in need to help that person with their medical bills.

You may have been asked what insurance you have, only to be met with bewilderment when you explain you don’t have any insurance. The following provides four key features of Samaritan Ministries: how we care for one another’s health care needs and how that practice of caring distinguishes us from insurance.

Assurance, not insurance

We trust that God has provided sufficient means, through His people, for us to help one another with the challenges we face in life (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37). That includes health care. With insurance, you pay a premium to an insurer that agrees to take on the risk of any illness or injury you might incur. At Samaritan Ministries, we trust God to provide for our needs, with the assurance that He does all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), even when things don’t turn out the way we planned.

Sharing based in faith

When you have a health insurance policy, the money you give that company can go to fund unethical practices. HCSMs offer Christians a way to pay for medical treatment that does not go directly against Christian faith and practice.

As Christians, we believe in a God who has revealed Himself to us in His Word. In revealing Himself, He reveals who He is: His values and values that are contrary to His. As followers of Jesus, our lives are to reflect His revealed will, and that mission plays a role in how we view health care and to what we give our money and support.

As an expression of religious freedom, HCSMs like Samaritan Ministries allow Christians to participate in health care according to biblical values, with a clear conscience.

Member-to-member sharing

Samaritan members share directly with one another. They don’t share from any legal obligation, but voluntarily. Samaritan Ministries has no cash reserves from which they make payments for medical services. Instead, Samaritan Ministries relies entirely on member-to-member sharing where the money that members send to one another is from their own money, sent each month directly to another member in need. Samaritan's reserves are the faithfulness of God through our members.

There are no third parties involved in health care sharing with Samaritan Ministries. Instead, we cut out the middleman, facilitating a direct connection between patient and doctor without interference. And it’s our firm conviction that this is what health care should be about: human-to-human connection, caring for one another.

Because we are not mere physical beings, health care is not just physical. Each individual, made in God’s image, receives not only direct financial assistance for medical care but also prayers from other members and notes of encouragement. There’s nothing “insurance” about these things, and they are at the very heart of Samaritan Ministries.

Medical freedom

While the industry has redefined healthcare to include free access to abortion and sex-change surgery, Samaritan Ministries offers true medical freedom. Samaritan members have the freedom to use any licensed medical provider they choose for their health care needs. With insurance, you have a network of providers determined by the insurance company you are with, limiting which providers you can see and which providers you can’t. If you have a complicated or sensitive health history and you want to see a specialist that is not within your company's network, you’re on your own! With Samaritan Ministries, you have the freedom to choose the medical care you receive for your own body with your own well-being in mind.

These are only a few of the things that make Samaritan Ministries the noninsurance choice for health care it has been for three decades and continues to be.

If it was not obvious enough, it should be known by all: We are not insurance. Not now. Not then. Not ever.

Greg Feulner is assistant editor of the Samaritan Ministries newsletter.