Samaritan Ministries & Medical Professionals
Welcome to Samaritan Ministries' online reference for medical professionals. The following information describes how patients who are members of Samaritan Ministries International (SMI) should be billed, and how your office will be paid by the member.
Health care provider: Interested in exploring the possibility of working together? Click here to fill out a quick survey.
Samaritan™ Classic and Samaritan™ Basic
If the patient does not have a membership card, or presents a membership card that resembles the following, use the information and instructions for Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic as described below:
General Program Information
Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic do not have a network. You do not need to register with us in order to treat a patient.
No preauthorization, prior notification, or precertification to the provider is required.
Payment at Time of Service
The member is not required to make any payment at the time of service.
Please bill the member directly.
Do not send bills to Samaritan Ministries as such bills will not be processed. Members participating in Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic must submit their own bills to be considered for sharing.
Samaritan Ministries members are responsible for paying their own medical bills. As cash-pay patients, it is essential that members receive fair and reasonable prices for medical services rendered. It is customary for members participating in Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic to ask their providers for discounts in the competitive free-enterprise market for cash-pay patients.
For a member to have eligible medical bills shared with other members, they are required to submit itemized statements for services rendered that include:
- Provider Information (name, address, and phone number)
- Patient’s Name
- Date(s) of Service (when the service was actually rendered)
- Description of the services provided
- Charges for the services provided (both the initial price and price after discounts)
- Account number, if available
We require this itemization from our members to check for accuracy of services and to ensure the services provided align with the sharing guidelines of the member’s sharing program.
Once eligible member-submitted itemized bills are received in our office, the patient will generally begin receiving shares from other members within 60 to 90 days. Patients then use these funds to pay their provider’s office.
Members participating in Samaritan Classic or Samaritan Basic do not have premiums or coinsurance. However, there are thresholds the member must meet prior to receiving shared funds from other members. These amounts apply per person, per medical condition or injury.
Initial Unshareable Amount (IUA): For each eligible condition/medical issue for which the member is submitting bills to be shared with other members, there is an initial amount that is not shared.
- Members in Samaritan Classic have a $400 IUA not offset by discounts.
- Members in Samaritan Basic have $1,500 IUA which may be offset by documented discounts received on eligible bills.
Co-Share: the percentage of eligible charges that are not shared once the IUA for a specific medical issue has been met (until the max co-share is reached).
- Members participating in Samaritan Classic have no co-share.
- Members participating in Samaritan Basic have a 10% co-share, max co-share of $13,500.
Samaritan members participating in Samaritan Classic or Samaritan Basic pay their providers directly. The member may receive money for eligible bills directly from other members.
Where does the money come from? Members send money directly to one another, either by online funds transfer or by check, in order to help pay for eligible medical bills.
How does my office receive payment? Members pay their own medical bills directly to the provider. Members may ask to be on a payment plan and make payments until they have received shares to pay the bill in full.
Learn more about Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic in the Guidelines for Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic.
Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic do not have fee schedules or allowed amounts, but in accordance with the Guidelines for Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic (see Section X.F.),
"Samaritan reserves the right, on behalf of its members, to determine what charges or parts of a charge are unfair or unreasonable based on techniques, criteria, and standards adopted by Samaritan Ministries. Samaritan will limit the sharing of charges determined to be unfair or unreasonable and will advocate on behalf of sharing members against any health care provider demanding payment of unfair charges. This guideline empowers Samaritan members to refuse to pay excessive charges, while also committing Samaritan to contend for fair prices on members’ behalf. Samaritan Ministries and third-party services will work with members and their providers to reach a resolution on excessive charges through negotiation and, if necessary, protect members through legal action. Samaritan will not leave an open bill dispute unresolved."
Samaritan Ministries members are committed to paying a fair and reasonable price for the services rendered. If the provider attempts to bill the member unfair or unreasonable charges, the member may engage Samaritan Ministries and/or third-party services to work with the provider to reach a resolution. In these situations, the member will submit a fair and reasonable payment, according to the resolution agreed upon by the provider and/or an Explanation of Payment.
The third-party service, Samaritan Ministries, and/or the member will assist the provider with details regarding how the recommended payment amount was reached, and why it should be considered payment in full on accurate and valid charges.
No. Samaritan Ministries International (SMI), its sharing programs, and/or membership levels are not insurance. Samaritan Ministries members are responsible for paying their own medical bills. Members participating in Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic ask for voluntary help from one another, receive shared funds from other members, and then pay their own bills directly. SMI is a 501(c)(3) religious charity that administers a health care sharing ministry that enables Christians to help one another with medical needs without using health insurance. See 26 U.S.C. 5000A (d)(2)(B)(ii). SMI has been in operation since 1994, and its membership has more than 270,000 individuals worldwide—sharing $340 million in medical needs in 2019 alone—who depend on God to minister to all aspects of their health care needs.
All bills must be submitted to any applicable insurance or responsible third party prior to being submitted to Samaritan Ministries by the member for sharing. Samaritan Ministries is not legally responsible or liable for any medical bill that the member may have.
Because the ministry is not an insurance company, some of the terminology and processes are different than what you may be familiar with. SMI members do not pay "premiums," and money is not collected by SMI to "cover" members’ medical expenses. Instead, members send monthly shares directly to other members with medical needs. Share notifications are sent out monthly by Samaritan Ministries which inform the members who they’ll be sharing with and the recipient’s prayer request. Once members receive their share notification, they are encouraged to send their designated amount and a note of encouragement directly to the member with the medical bill.
NOTE: Since Samaritan Ministries is not insurance, none of the terms and language on this site should be interpreted as insurance terms. They should not be taken to imply, directly or indirectly, any guarantee of payment or transfer of risk.
More details about the program are available in the Guidelines for Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic.
All questions regarding what medical expenses may be shared and when to expect payment for services should be directed to the patient. You may also reference the Guidelines for Samaritan Classic and Samaritan Basic.
If you wish to speak with Samaritan Ministries staff, or would like further information about Samaritan Ministries, you may call us at 877-605-5450. Please understand that due to the sensitivity of medical information, Samaritan Ministries staff are limited in their ability to discuss a member’s medical bills. However, we can provide proof of membership should your office require it.