So what are the statistics for uninsured American families? The newest statistics I could find online came from the US Census Bureau for 2007. The results were not published until August 2008 (efficient government?). Anyway, according to the Census Bureau, only about 15% of the US population is UNinsured. That equates to about 45 million people. Okay, so that's alot of people.
There are many reasons WHY people are not insured. For us, it is because DH is a bi-vocational youth pastor. Since he is only part-time, our church doesn't offer health insurance. DH's second job is as a plumber. He is self-employed, so no insurance offered by the employer, ha! We have, in the past, taken out a personal insurance policy for medical coverage. The rates were RIDICULOUS & the co-pays were not that great AND the only thing that was covered 100% was ONE yearly check-up... Fine for adults, not so great for kids under 2. Oh, and maternity coverage? WAAAAY out of reach for most people. By the time you paid the ridiculous monthly premiums and waited for the 12 month waiting period before you'd actually be covered, you may as well have put that money in a savings account & then you could pay your OB yourself!
After much prayer & research, we found Samaritan's Ministries. It was actually recommended to us by a friend, and it was recommended to her family by their pastor. We have been members since Dec 2004, and we have been more than pleased with the service we have received. We have recommended it to several other families that have been pleased as well. Is it expensive? NO. Is it insurance? NO. Then how does it work? SO GLAD YOU ASKED!
Here's the real-life difference... Had AJ with regular medical insurance coverage (through DH's work at the time). The insurance paid 80%, and we were responsible for 20%. We made payments during the pregnancy to my OB for "our part". AJ was over a year old before we got our portion of the 20% paid off. I think we were paying out about $150/mo to the hospital, ped, etc. in addition to our $400/mo or so that was being held out of DH's check for insurance... YUCK!
Fast forward a few years. DH was back to being self-employed. We had signed up with Samaritan Ministries. We found out we were pregnant with AC. I was nervous as to how this would work for us. Boy was I ever surprised?!?! Our OB gives 20% off his office services & 35% off his surgical services (c-section) for self-pay patients(aka, uninsured). Our hospital granted us a 50% discount--not sure if that was because we are "self-pay" or because DH is a minister, or maybe a combination of the two?! We explained that we are members of Samaritan Ministries, a Christian medical needs sharing program, and they were very accepting & helpful. We set up a small personal payment plan for both until we got the paperwork filed. By the time AC was 4 MONTHS OLD--every bill had been paid in FULL!
Why do I recommend Samaritan Ministries to my friends? Because it is, literally, Christians caring for the needs of other Christians. I don't send a check to a big insurance company & HOPE they agree to pay my claims when a need arises. I send a check, along with a note, each month directly to a brother or sister in Christ that has experienced some medical need. I am helping another Christian family, and I am NOT lining the pockets and increasing the profits of some big insurance company that could care less about me as a human being...
Now I am not trying to "dog" any particular insurance company. I am simply sharing my feelings and experiences. I have a great insurance agent that handles my life insurance, home insurance and auto insurance. So I am not ANTI-insurance. I just think Samaritan Ministries is a better way to handle medical expenses.
Oh, I almost forgot--the best part. I was able to write a check at my OB appointment on Thursday for $1754! I didn't cringe & I haven't had to hold my breath hoping it clears the bank. That was the balance left on my OB account for prenatal care, and it was paid completely by other members of Samaritan Ministries!!