Why SMI? ‘It sounded like it would do the job’
Mike Miller · Jan 01, 2016
When Ken Raney was laid off in 2009 from his advertising job, he needed to figure out how to handle health care for his family.
A severance package allowed him to keep his health insurance for a while, but when that period was up he started asking fellow artists what they did for insurance.
By that point, insurance rates “started going through the roof,” Ken says.
“All the stuff we tried to check on was going to be way, way higher than what we had been used to paying.”
Then Ken and Deborah heard about Samaritan Ministries. He contacted the ministry, then called up several references from Kansas.
“Everybody was positive about it,” he says. “They said, ‘Yeah, it works.’ When the time came, to be honest with you, we couldn’t afford anything else. But it sounded like it would do the job, so we went for it. We’ve been very happy with it.”
“The thing we love the most and that surprised us the most about it was that we send our check each month directly to another person,” Deborah says. “It’s truly a pleasure to write that check knowing that it’s going to help someone meet their needs rather than we’re sending that check to a big corporation that doesn’t know us from Adam and doesn’t care.”
Samaritan membership has been a family affair. Two of their daughters, Tobi and Tavia, have been members as well.
The Raneys have only had to submit one need in nearly six years of membership, but they “had just a great experience with it, no problems,” Deborah says.
“Everything you said you would share you shared,” she says.
The only problem encountered in the need-sharing process was with hospitals sending late bills, Ken says, but even that was worked out in their favor.
“One thing that opened our eyes was that because we were with Samaritan, we told providers that we had no insurance and asked them ahead of time how much the bill would be,” Deborah says. “It was so interesting they would be willing to cut the bill in half if we were willing to pay in 30 days. It was very eye-opening to how they inflate prices when they know insurance will pick it up. The late bills they waived because they had not told us about those. It was a long, drawn-out process, but we didn’t have to pay anything beyond what Samaritan shared. We like the whole concept of it and we told a lot of friends about it.”