May
07
2007

What kind of health insurance do you carry?

This is our second-most popular blog post ever. No surprise, really. People are looking for alternatives. We wrote this post before we racked up nearly $200,000 in bills from three medical emergencies in the past year. The first two have been reimbursed 100%, and the third is in process. Samaritan still comes with our highest recommendation.


Samaritan Ministies has always come through for the Jeub family. We highly recommend them.

Visit the Samaritan Ministies website for information on this exciting network of Christians taking care of one another. We highly recommend Samaritan Ministries!

Health insurance costs are at an all-time high, and being self-employed is definitely a challenge for us in this regard. Being employed full-time for years, we took health insurance for granted. After becoming self-employed, our views since then have changed considerably.

We now are happy members of an innovative gathering of Christian folks at Samaritan Ministries. The concept, we believe, returns to the fundamental idea of what insurance used to be, a group of people paying premiums for two purposes:

  • to insure themselves from large medical expenses
  • to assist others from large medical expenses

Most health insurance options aren’t that way anymore. Folks on health insurance often see their insurance as “free medical care,” and such views are quite common. Unfortunately, when this common view is carried out, it exhausts the entire system and costs go up for everyone. When so many are trying to get the most out of their insurance, premiums sky rocket. This isn’t stellar economics; it makes perfect sense that this happens.

Samaritan is different. When we have a medical expense, we pay cash for it. This often results in 40-50% off the sticker price of medical care (interesting…another problem with the health care industry…bloated prices). We then submit the claim to Samaritan, and we receive checks from others who have joined the cooperative.

We, in turn, regularly give to people on our list. We are required to send one big check every month. We are also sent a prayer list for published needs in a monthly newsletter. We sometimes send checks to people in need based on the published needs. We have also received checks from people who have read of our medical needs. This builds the sense of community among everyone involved.

We love this community. Some cynics have doubted whether such a system could work, that eventually the system would be taken advantage. We suppose some abuse does penetrate the system, but we have yet to witness it. God has been faithful in the development of this network. The folks at Samaritan do a great job monitoring the network and weeding out those who are attempting to soak its resources. It is all very good.

Sure, we have to pay cash for our medical expenses rather than paying a co-payment, but we have found this to be a most liberating method of fulfilling our medical needs. Visit www.samaritanministries.org/works for more information on the nuts-and-bolts of how it works. And mention the Jeubs referred you!

UPDATE: 2011-2012 has been a real test to Samaritan Ministry’s sustainability. We submitted over $200k in medical bills between three emergencies: (1) our son’s fist fight with a table saw, (2) Chris’ myocarditis, and (3) Wendy’s throat tumor. Samaritan has come through beyond all expectations. We’ll keep posting on this wonderful network of good people, like this one: How We Cover Our Medical Bills Every Time.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

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  • http://www.ChristianPhoneSource.com Darla S.

    Did you look into Medi-share (a similar Christian program) and compare it to Samaritan? Just wondering if you had any thoughts there as we’ve looked into Medi-share.

    Also, what if everyone sent checks to the same person for a medical need? What if one person got, say, $1000 when they only needed $465 but another person needed $767 and they didn’t get anything? How is this managed in Samaritan.

    Thanks!

    ========================
    No, we did not look into Medi-Share, so I can’t comment on that group.
    Samaritan lets members know the amount and recipient for their monthly gift. They do post information on “needs,” usually consisting of emergency health needs or needs that don’t fall under the guidelines. People are free to give to these as they wish.
    -Chris
    ========================

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Jason

    # Jason
    May 15th, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Sid raises a valid concern, because not everyone has a big chunk of money sitting around that they can use to pay a massive medical bill. Some Samaritan Members do what Chris is suggesting – pay their bills and then look to Samaritan members for reimbursement, but most people just tell the hospital to bill them and then pay the bill as soon as they have the money in hand. My family had a $10,000 hospital bill about a year and a half ago, and the hospital was very gracious with us. They gave us a couple of months to pay, and when we said we were paying cash, they gave us a discount.

    With Samaritan, you can turn in any medical need (that falls with the guidelines)that’s over $300 all the way up to $100,000, and there’s a separate program you can sign up for called Save to Share for medical needs that are over $100,000. It’s the little bills (under $300) that you can’t turn in to Samaritan.

    And Sid, regarding surgery, cancer treatment, diagnostic testing, etc.; those are all typical needs that Samaritan publishes every month, and the ministry works. I know because I work there. :)

    …so maybe I’m biased…

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com sid

    # Sid
    May 14th, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    What happens when someone has a medical cost that is more than they can afford? Diagnostic testing, surgery, cancer treatment? Or is this just for routine health care costs as opposed to something catastrophic?
    Enjoyed looking at your website. Good wishes to all of you.

    Sid

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris J

    We haven’t had a “catastrophe,” but I suppose you would have to pay some or make the claim and pay later. The nice thing about paying cash is that the health care facility usually drops their price considerably.

    Wendy went into the hospital recently for dehydration and she had to spend the night. The total bill was over $7000, but because we paid cash, we only paid less than $3500. We are now filing the claim with Samaritan and, in the end, we’ll receive much of it back.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_256424ZCOANQ62QEMCOKFMLCIA First NameS

      You have had a serious incident since this post and comment were written. I have to admit that I was holding my breath wondering about your medical bills. I was shocked that Samaritan Ministries paid the bills. I was a little ashamed of myself about it actually. I should have had more trust that you and Wendy wouldn’t gamble with your family’s health. It really has made me think – especially when I write the check for $1500 every month to insure my husband, me and one child. I don’t trust my health enough though not to have insurance. I’m the perfect customer :(

  • http://family.kentuckystudio.com Amber

    How does this work when you have a child, such as mine, who has incurred over $1,000,000 worth of medical expenses in less than 13 months. She was born with a battery of birth defects all of which require intensive surgeries… including open heart. Not only do we incur the cost of the co-payments but the cost of traveling to other states to find the best hospitals. We are struggling to make payments on the very small percentage that we owe … I cannot imagine being able to make it on this system especially considering ONE of her surgeries / stays was $350,000….

    I truly admire your family for being able to participate in this.

  • http://www.greasyjoan.blogspot.com Anne

    Amber, The costs for insured people are hugely inflated. Hospitals will almost always give those paying cash substantial discounts, sometimes 75%. A friend has a c-section and the initial bill was in the neighborhood of $30K, and the hospital billed her $5000 because they were paying cash. You just need to ask.

    Secondly when you are paying with your own money, I bet it encourages folks to maintain healthy lifestyles, not overuse antibiotics or run to the doctor for every little thing. In short the responsibility is on the family, not the system.

  • http://spoiled-pups.com Nelson

    I love the concept of Samaritan, but no one answered Amber’s question? What is the best answer for a $5 million dollar bill? Or a hospital that won’t give you expensive treatment because your credit is bad and you don’t have insurance?

  • http://daniellesdailylifeblog.blogspot.com Danielle

    Conventional health insurance isn’t going to do much for someone who incurs 5 million dollars in expenses, either. By that point, most of them would drop you.

  • http://thejoyfulmother.blogspot.com/ Karen

    I’m not sure how this will work with Obama’s new laws about health care. Last I heard and from my understanding, it won’t be long before health insurance is required by law. I haven’t read the whole 2,000 page document, but I don’t think co-ops are considered health insurance by the new policy – unless they are government approved ones of course. It’s really sad because my family was looking into this plan. It sure would save us a lot of money.

    So far we have spent about $32,000 on insurance premiums in the past 6 years. That’s not even including co-payments – which are high! I often wonder why we even have it. It seems like a waste of our $$ but my husband feels we need it just in case and I know he’s right. It’s just literally our biggest expense. Thank you so much government for taking away our options! I hope that they modify that at least!

    Anyway, Wendy, I posted a lil review of your cookbook I just got on my blog. :)

    http://thejoyfulmother.blogspot.com/2010/05/love-in-kitchen.html

    • Benjamin Stafford

      Incidentally, this program is an exception in the law. That is, if one is a member of Samaritan’s (or another group like it) they are exempt from the requirement to purchase health insurance

  • Angela A.

    While we’re on the subject of medical bills, just out of curiosity, have you gone the homebirth route or do you have your babies in the hospital?

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris & Wendy

    Home birth.

  • Hols

    The medical providers aren’t giving you a discount. Self-payers are charged much higher amounts for services than insurance providers are charged. The so called “discounts” you are getting for paying cash are still more than what insurance providers are charged for those same services.

    • Anonymous

      Not true, Hols. We start with the same bill that is sent to the insurance company, and the medical providers discount it significantly for us self-payers. Not sure what else to call it other than a “discount.”

  • Anonymous

    Not true, Hols. We start with the same bill that is sent to the insurance company, and the medical providers discount it significantly for us self-payers. Not sure what else to call it other than a “discount.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_256424ZCOANQ62QEMCOKFMLCIA First NameS

    I’m wondering about Obama Care and your situation. Will you forced to buy regular medical insurance or will the Samaritan Ministries be acceptable?