Why SMI? Health care sharing is flexible

Mike Miller  ·  Jul 01, 2015

Why SMI-

Phil Newton applies the flexibility and initiative that comes with being an entrepreneur to providing health care for his family. When he left his job running an inner-city mission and co-founded a two-man business, he and his family turned to Samaritan Ministries.

“Entrepreneurs are naturally people who take initiative, and Samaritan Ministries is one of these organizations that thrives on that,” says Phil, co-founder of Perennial Partners. “I can take initiative with my own and with my family’s health care. I can call doctors and find out who’s got the best rate. When my daughter needed an MRI recently, we were able to call around all over town to find out who does the cheapest MRI. It didn’t matter if they were in network or not. We did the same thing recently when another daughter needed to have some blood drawn.”

Health care sharing “makes it really easy for me to be an entrepreneur,” Phil says. “I was working full-time jobs for 23 years and always had insurance through my regular employer, but both my business partner and I went with nontraditional health care plans, and it became that much easier to become entrepreneurs knowing there were some great choices out there.”

He says he was “nickeled and dimed to death” by health insurance plans through employers.

“We would pay a co-pay and then sooner or later, you get these follow-up bills for things that weren’t covered, and then you’d pay those, then you’d get more and more bills, and pretty soon you didn’t even know what you were paying and when. You just took the insurance company’s word for it. At least, I did.”

Samaritan, Phil says, is an “easy button.”

“It’s one check,” he says. “We know what it’s going to be for every month.”

Cash-pay discounts have been a pleasant surprise, Phil says.

“We showed up to Walgreens the other day and some kindhearted pharmacist said, ‘Now, you do know we have a prescription card, don’t you?’ I said, ‘No.’ So now we’re on this Walgreens prescription card that has paid for itself over and over and over.”

The better informed a health care sharing ministry member is, the better deals they’ll get, he says.

“There are lots of discounts out there that people don’t even know about. If you take a reasonable amount of initiative in your own health care questions, you can discover those.”

Another thing Phil was happy to discover as a Samaritan member was the ability to choose a health care provider without worrying about it being “in-network.”