Our commitment to you during COVID-19 and always
The news of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and its ongoing impact has captured the attention of our country. And like most of you, Samaritan Ministries has been watching closely as events unfold in rapid succession day after day.
We are all wondering how COVID-19 will impact our homes, schools, and churches. We want to take a moment today to reassure you that we remain committed to serving you in the ministry of health care sharing even in the face of this uncertainty, and we have been busy taking the necessary measures to do just that.
We are fully aware that events like this can inspire fear and anxiety. As followers of Christ, however, we have a better option and would like to offer some encouraging words, communicate the steps we are taking to prepare for a variety of scenarios, and offer some helpful information on what you can expect going forward.
Fix our eyes on Christ
Our God is a sovereign God who executes history according to His will (Isaiah 46:10). None of what has unfolded over the past few months has taken Him by surprise, and He calls us to walk through this the same way He calls us to walk through all things.
We are not to be anxious. Rather, we are called to walk by faith in the power of His Holy Spirit and serve as a witness of the Gospel of Christ to a world that He loves and sent His Son to rescue.
Though the scale of COVID-19 is large—indeed global—the faith walk required is very similar to that which is required of Samaritan members every day. Whether a global crisis like COVID-19 or a personal crisis like cancer, Christ’s words comfort us in both: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Our commitment to you
Samaritan Ministries’ resolve to serve the Body of Christ in the bearing of medical burdens will not wane in the face of the multifaceted challenges that COVID-19 is bringing every day. Samaritan has established a cross-departmental task force that has been assigned to identify core service requirements that must be maintained for service to continue in either a partial or full quarantine environment if such an order is executed by local or state officials in Illinois. We have not been notified that such an order is forthcoming, but we are preparing for the possibility nonetheless.
This taskforce, along with Samaritan senior leadership, is coordinating all efforts ministry wide to develop and then execute an emergency plan should it be required, and includes the ability for staff to work in a remote from-home capacity.
We are also taking measures to keep our staff healthy and minimize risks of contracting COVID-19 through following CDC-recommended workplace hygiene practices and by restricting travel.
These measures, and more like them, are all designed to ensure that our operations are able to continue and our staff are healthy enough to serve you and your loved ones.
Will Samaritan share tests and treatments for COVID-19?
Yes! COVID-19 is no different than any other symptom-related illness that may befall our members from time to time.
Section VII.B. states, “Visits to licensed medical professionals, emergency rooms, hospitals, testing facilities, and outpatient surgery for lawfully-prescribed treatments by a licensed medical professional for injuries and illnesses are generally shareable.”
This means that bills related to the testing and treatment of COVID-19 can be shared by the ministry with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. For example, if you or a loved one on your membership is showing signs of COVID-19, bills for the test, labs, emergency room, hospital, antibiotics, etc., can all be submitted for sharing.
Preventative testing when no symptoms or signs of an illness are present is left to the discretion of each family, and, while not shareable as a regular need, is able to be submitted according to our Special Prayer Need guidelines (Samaritan Classic and Basic Guidelines, Section V. Additional Giving).
We earnestly pray that God will keep all of our members safe from the virus, but should any one of our members contract it, we stand ready to serve one another in the ministry of health care sharing.
Stay informed and up-to-date on COVID-19
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a very helpful website to stay on top of the information and developments surrounding COVID-19.
Information on the site includes descriptions of at-risk populations, steps to prevent the illness, what to do when sick, and symptoms of the virus.
If you begin to show symptoms of the virus, the CDC encourages you to call your doctor first and explain your situation so that he or she can provide the necessary medical advice on whether to seek testing or treatment. From the CDC:
"If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider. Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips of face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested" (accessed 3/13/20).
Also, be sure to frequent your local and state government websites for information regarding specific actions of your local officials including school closures, travel restrictions, and public gathering restrictions.
What we ask of you
Prayer. We are a people called to pray, and in times like these it’s important to lean hard into prayer. Pray for the health of your family, your church, your communities, all our members, the ministry, and our nation and its leaders at all levels of government. Pray also for health care professionals and first responders (police, firefighters, EMT) as they are all facing a very formidable and daunting challenge.
Medical Care. Please make sure you get the medical care you need. As mentioned above, visit the CDC website for helpful information on what to do if you suspect you have contracted the virus.
Utilize Email to Contact Samaritan. The Samaritan cross-departmental task force is busy at work to ensure that the core functions of sharing medical needs can continue under a potential government-mandated quarantine, but you can help us immensely by communicating via email when possible.
Utilize our Member Dashboard. In addition to contacting Samaritan via email when possible, we also ask that you utilize as many of our digitally based solutions as possible. For example, please administer as much of your membership as possible on your member Dashboard or Samaritan Given web app. Also, please utilize PayPal for the sending of your Shares in Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic so that we can reduce the amount of physical checks sent to members that require them to go to the bank to deposit. We understand that this may not be an option for some, but to the extent that it is, every little bit will help the whole membership.
Make sure your email address is accurate and up to date. Since Samaritan Ministries will be communicating with the membership via email, please make sure your email address is up to date. You can update your email address yourself by logging into your Dash account or the Given web app and making the necessary changes.
Patience. There may be longer wait times on the phone or longer response times via email. We humbly ask for your patience and understanding during this time as we diligently work to provide the same Christ-centered compassion that we always strive to provide each and every day.
The need for health care sharing doesn’t stop simply because there is a novel disease that has emerged. Today, there are members who will receive unexpected diagnoses or injure themselves while carrying out daily tasks.
These burdens are heavy and can’t be lifted alone; and that is why Samaritan Ministries is committed to ensuring that we are able to carry on in the service of health care sharing so that the Body of Christ can lift these burdens together.
We, as a staff, are praying for all of you and are walking this trial out in faith alongside you. Our God is a mighty God and He hears the prayers of His, and we will trust Him and His guidance through this event like we are called to trust Him through all of life’s challenges.
Does Samaritan recommend any specific treatments for COVID-19?
Samaritan Ministries strongly recommends following the advice of the CDC and/or your medical doctor for any and all guidance on prevention, testing, and treatment of the virus. The CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions section is a great place to find such information.
If my church cancels services for a period of time, will I still be able to meet the church attendance requirement for membership?
Samaritan Ministries recognizes that COVID-19 is a highly disruptive national event. While we continue to affirm the Biblical belief that gathering in fellowship with other believers to partake in corporate worship is a crucial aspect of every believer’s life, we also understand that flexibility with our church attendance requirement is required to account for the wide diversity of local church responses to the COVID-19 outbreak.
What if I can’t afford my Share?
We recognize that the impact of COVID-19 is larger than just the medical event itself. This virus is disrupting many aspects of daily life for millions of Americans, including their jobs. Through our Sponsorship program, Samaritan has always provided financial assistance to members who are having difficulty affording their monthly Share due to job loss or a bad year for their small business. We do this because we’re a community of believers; we bear burdens, it’s what we do. And we will do everything we can to help our members through temporary financial stress brought on by COVID-19. This includes things like modifying our disaster relief sponsorship program as well as injecting greater flexibility in our standard Sponsorship program.
How can I financially help other members with their membership who are suffering financial stress during this time?
As always, if you feel led to help a member financially, you can do that by donating via MinistryLinq to the Disaster Relief – Power to Act Fund at samaritanministries.org/donate.
I need more information! Where should I go?
If you need information about COVID-19 please visit the CDC’s website or speak with your medical doctor. If you have questions about how we share testing or treatments related to COVID-19 or complications related to the virus, please reference our Guidelines (Section VIII) for Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic, or our Guidelines (Section VI) for Samaritan Given.