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AnnaSofia

NYT on Christian Health Care Cost-Sharing Ministries

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Tired
AnnaSofia

{I did a search and didn't find anything on this, my apologies if it's a repost.}

It Looks Like Health Insurance, but It’s Not. ‘Just Trust God,’ Buyers Are Told.

Quote

Eight-year-old Blake Collie was at the swimming pool when he got a frightening headache. His parents rushed him to the emergency room only to learn he had a brain aneurysm. Blake spent nearly two months in the hospital.

His family did not have traditional health insurance. “We could not afford it,” said his father, Mark Collie, a freelance photographer in Washington, N.C.

Instead, they pay about $530 a month through a Christian health care sharing organization to pay members’ medical bills. But the group capped payments for members at $250,000, almost certainly far less than the final tally of Blake’s mounting medical bills.

“Just trust God,” the nonprofit group, Samaritan Ministries, in Peoria, Ill. , said in a statement about its coverage

Several other ministries (Trinity, Medi-Share, Liberty) also mentioned in the article.

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Giraffe
26 minutes ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

Looks like Mark Collie and Scameritan aren’t too happy about the article. 

https://samaritanministries.org/blog/samaritan-member-responds-to-negative-new-york-times-article

(This comment is from the link to Scamaritan that was in the article) “Yet, we chose hope.” Hate to break to you buddy, but hope isn’t what saved your kid. 🙄

Edited by Giraffe
Clarifying
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clueliss

One of the LDS family vloggers I follow uses Christian healthcare ministries.  I thought it sounded  lot like descriptions of scammairtan I’ve seen here.  
 

they claim they’re saving money because they’re insurance costs so much ( which is what happens when you ditch the job to be a vlogger/influencer no employer to pay for part of the health insurance). 

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Tired
AnnaSofia

IMHO health care in the US has MASSIVE problems, and I can sympathize with people (though not necessarily the professional blogger class) struggling to afford adequate insurance.  Scamaritan, however, is NOT the answer, and it enrages me that it's allowed under the ACA.

I've talked to a handful of non-fundies who heard about the through Facebook groups and the like. One was an acquaintance I ran into at a grocery store. She described them enthusiastically, and asked if I'd ever heard of it. I'm pretty sure I blurted out "OMG DON'T DO THAT" so loudly it's amazing no one called the manager over.  I'm not sure she would have qualified for most of them anyway, but I really don't think she had any idea what she was getting into.

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Becky
17 hours ago, JermajestyDuggar said:

Looks like Mark Collie and Scameritan aren’t too happy about the article. 

https://samaritanministries.org/blog/samaritan-member-responds-to-negative-new-york-times-article

Don't get me wrong, I am truly delighted that his child is recovering and well - but I am frustrated and angry that people are able to skirt the legitimate system, and it sounds like he will continue to use Samaritan - and why not?  Medicaid will pay, as well as those who do pay into the legitimate system and have increased costs to cover the write-offs for cases like this.   These "cost-sharing" programs should be abolished!  

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anachronistic

I don’t understand what that guy is so angry about. His story wasn’t misrepresented. Scam artist refused to cover the costs, he didn’t know what to do, Medicare stepped in. Yet somehow scamaritan is still the good guy? I’m confused. What am I missing?

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hoipolloi
7 hours ago, anachronistic said:

His story wasn’t misrepresented. Scam artist refused to cover the costs, he didn’t know what to do, Medicare stepped in.

This is pretty typical for these people.

(1) Loudly boast about how godly you are for not taking gubbmint aid or for getting medical coverage* from "Christian" insurers.

(2) Experience a major, catastrophic illness or accident that requires expensive care, often including ER or ICU.

(3) Costs of treating the illness or accident are huge and predictably only a fraction of them, if anything at all, will be covered by Scamaritan.

(4) At the urging of Scamaritan, "negotiate" the doctors' & hospital charges downward, ultimately paying cents on the dollar for the medical care you received in your time of need.

(5) Hold a fundraiser to cover the balance of negotiated costs.

(6) Take the money from the fundraiser & pay off the reduced bills you negotiated, and continue to boast about how godly & fiscally prudent you are because you use Scamaritan.

I keep bringing it up, but see the FJ discussion of the case of "Little Tait" Zimmerman from some years ago, which follows this typical path. In Mr. Collie's case, I'm very glad for his son that Medicaid eventually went into effect. Too bad the child still has a self-righteous fundie asshat for a father.

*Scamaritan & its fellow evildoers notwithstanding, the way medical care & insurance are handled in the US is fucking criminal. 

Edited by hoipolloi
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SPHASH

This past week our AFLAC agent came to our work to help with renewing our disability and accident insurance policies.  Even though I have health insurance through my employer I also take out extra policies for cancer and critical care due to annual high out of pocket, we are a small company.  The agent said a major reason hospital costs are so high is due to the uninsured and underinsured negotiating lower prices since they are self pay and that cost gets passed on to the rest of us.  Cuz of that insurance companies cut back on the services they pay and raise their premiums.  In the Maxwell forum we have been discussing Anna Marie's cancer and Scamaritan.

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hoipolloi
15 minutes ago, SPHASH said:

The agent said a major reason hospital costs are so high is due to the uninsured and underinsured negotiating lower prices since they are self pay and that cost gets passed on to the rest of us.  Cuz of that insurance companies cut back on the services they pay and raise their premiums. 

Figures. The insurance companies are going to get their money, one way or the other.

 

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kmachete14

There is a woman popular on YouTube (maybe she has a thread here?) called Farmhouse on Boone that said in a q&a they have a Christian insurance and that she didn't know how it worked because they hadn't made any claims on it yet. She since that video has given birth, but did not report on how it worked out. Anyways, she is not too outspoken but follows the typical path: was raised Catholic, married right out of college, has 6 kids, homeschools, obsessed with fermented foods, husband quit his job and now works on the farm, now attend Baptist church and follow John Piper, etc. 

 

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Waffle Time
JMarie

I have a lot of thoughts about Scamaritan and similar programs. No, the US system is not perfect, but these programs are not the solution.

1. Families sign up because the monthly premiums are lower than with traditional insurance (TI).  I'm guessing many or most of these families could not afford TI if they have a passel of little blessings. But they're also sending checks to other Scamaritan families.  Do they send checks to one family at a time, or multiple families? Because if it's the latter, the premium plus the checks might equal what they'd pay for TI, and they'd have the security of having reliable payment for any medical emergency.

2.  I'm guessing many of Scamaritan's families would qualify for Medicaid, if they could stop seeing it as a government handout. Again, a reliable payment.

3. For a significant hospital bill, Scamaritan pays the up to their self-imposed limit, then the family negotiates the remainder with the hospital and hopes to pay for it via other member families' checks and possibly fundraisers and/or GoFundMe.  Am I getting this right? So a hospital could be waiting months or years for payment? No wonder hospitals are closing.

4.  "It's such a blessing to have others pray for us." Praying for someone else doesn't have to involve money. Have your name added to the sick list at your church.  Your name will be published in the weekly bulletin. People in your congregation will pray for you.

5. There's a link on Scamaritan's Facebook page from February 7 from The Citizens' Council For Health Freedom (can't link it). "Members... are not forced into Medicare when they turn 65..." Nobody is forced into Medicare.  My uncle worked until his early 80s and didn't sign up for Medicare until he retired. Nobody forced him to do anything.

Edited by JMarie
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Aine
6 hours ago, SPHASH said:

This past week our AFLAC agent came to our work to help with renewing our disability and accident insurance policies.  Even though I have health insurance through my employer I also take out extra policies for cancer and critical care due to annual high out of pocket, we are a small company.  The agent said a major reason hospital costs are so high is due to the uninsured and underinsured negotiating lower prices since they are self pay and that cost gets passed on to the rest of us.  Cuz of that insurance companies cut back on the services they pay and raise their premiums.  In the Maxwell forum we have been discussing Anna Marie's cancer and Scamaritan.

It's also because hospitals, medical equipment companies, and pharmaceutical companies charge patients and healthcare providers in the United States far more than they charge in other countries with more inclusive healthcare systems.

The governments in countries in Europe, Canada, Australia, and NZ are not covering $100,000+ for a fairly simple surgery. They are covering the real cost of the medical professional's time/expertise, equipment, and drugs. Part of the appeal of a more universal healthcare system is that the government can bargain companies down to a cost that doesn't put their profit margins at 1000%.

When healthcare can be such a widespread "for profit" business, you get the insanity that happens in the US health system.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/12/17/21024614/us-health-care-costs-medical-prices

But all of my frustration at the healthcare system in the US through private insurance and who does and does not qualify for Medicaid pales in comparison to my fury at supposed "Christian" organizations capitalizing on people's faith and trust in religion and mistrust of companies/government. That's particularly on the nose.

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MamaJunebug
5 hours ago, JMarie said:

There's a link on Scamaritan's Facebook page from February 7 from The Citizens' Council For Health Freedom (can't link it). "Members... are not forced into Medicare when they turn 65..." Nobody is forced into Medicare.  My uncle worked until his early 80s and didn't sign up for Medicare until

Forced, my hind foot. A couple of friends who retired from federal government jobs don’t have Medicare. There’s a different program for retired feds. The scare tactics (used by so many nowadays) just keep on coming.

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feministxtian

I have medicaid. When David died, I was given the choice between Medicaid and CHAMPVA. Medicaid was a better deal. I'm not ashamed of it. I'm glad I have it. But then again I'm a shameless lazy bitch who will take whatever gubment handout I can get, like that survivor's pension I get from Uncle Sam because my husband was a disabled veteran. 

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clueliss

FFS - MediCARE is for people who have a disability (and have to prove it) and senior citizens.  It's not a handout.  If you (or your spouse) have a work history - you paid into it (won't go into the Federal Government borrowing from Medicare funds).  

MedicAID is for the poor.  And yup - I ran my mom's money out and applied for medicaid when I needed to put her in memory care due to dementia (also won't go into how crappy medicare/insurance is about caring for folks with dementia).  

Re what the vlogger I follow said about Christian Healthcare Ministries - in the video she was babbling about this (and older one) she had two kids that needed to go to the doctor.  Both wound up on meds.  Between the doctor visit & the medications she paid over $300.  Their 'insurance' won't cover until it is over $500 (per incident).  And it sounds like they have to pay the bills and then accumulate them (per incident) and submit them for reimbursement.  So they end up doing the bookkeeping that the rest of us rely on our insurance to do.  And who the heck has the cash laying out to cover even a basic take two kids to the doctor and get meds for say strep all out of pocket?  

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Waffle Time
smittykins

I get both Medicare and Medicaid(disability), but I have to pay a $160/month spenddown for the latter.

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Waffle Time
JMarie
7 hours ago, clueliss said:

FFS - MediCARE is for people who have a disability (and have to prove it) and senior citizens.  It's not a handout.  If you (or your spouse) have a work history - you paid into it (won't go into the Federal Government borrowing from Medicare funds).  

MedicAID is for the poor.  And yup - I ran my mom's money out and applied for medicaid when I needed to put her in memory care due to dementia (also won't go into how crappy medicare/insurance is about caring for folks with dementia).  

Re what the vlogger I follow said about Christian Healthcare Ministries - in the video she was babbling about this (and older one) she had two kids that needed to go to the doctor.  Both wound up on meds.  Between the doctor visit & the medications she paid over $300.  Their 'insurance' won't cover until it is over $500 (per incident).  And it sounds like they have to pay the bills and then accumulate them (per incident) and submit them for reimbursement.  So they end up doing the bookkeeping that the rest of us rely on our insurance to do.  And who the heck has the cash laying out to cover even a basic take two kids to the doctor and get meds for say strep all out of pocket?  

https://medicare.com/original-medicare/can-i-get-medicare-if-i-am-under-age-65/

Quote

Medicare eligibility before age 65

If you’re under 65 years old, you might be eligible for Medicare:

If you receive disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) for at least 24 months in a row

If you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease)

If you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD). ESRD is permanent damage to the kidneys that requires regular dialysis or a kidney transplant

The special needs kids I work with are all on Medicaid.  As if my patients weren't vulnerable enough, today Trump said he'd be cutting Medicaid so he could increase military spending.  I worry every day. But I guess it doesn't matter, since my patients will never be able to vote for a Trump, right? (thinking of that Time magazine meme with signs for Trump 2020, Trump 2024, Trump 2028, and so on and so on)

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AmazonGrace

I think these scams should be called unsurance. 

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formergothardite

Samantha Bee did a clip on christian health care sharing ministries and mentioned Scamaritan. 

Spoiler

 

 

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Jasmar

I remember looking into Scamaritan when I was still married and fundie-lite. I was taken aback to discover that we didn't qualify, because of my mental health issues. One of the first cracks in the Wall for me.

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fundiefan
On 2/9/2020 at 3:43 PM, hoipolloi said:

*Scamaritan & its fellow evildoers notwithstanding, the way medical care & insurance are handled in the US is fucking criminal. 

This. I've never been so deeply entrenched in the clusterfuck that is the US medical system as I am right now. It is absolutely insane how little any of it has to do with caring for an individual person and their needs. It's about contorting that person into a very specific box that exists to contort a human being into a set of conforming guidelines that protect the doctors & insurers from liability first and foremost. 

I swear to Zeus next time I need surgical care I will find a way to go to Mexico or some damn thing. 

The US is a complete and utter failure at medical care. 

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meep
Posted (edited)

A "friend" (conservative friend from my upbringing) and I were discussing current healthcare and he was trying to convince me to join one. I didn't even respond, I don't have time to debate this time of stuff, nor the patience anymore to withstand his headache. But it came after I told him my sister needs very high cost monthly medication and supplies that most insurance refuses to cover. "JUST JOIN A CHRISTIAN HEALTH CO-OP!" he shouts. Do they take on people with pre-existing conditions? High monthly medical costs? (Because you can't just decide to randomly cut someone off when they need these things to sustain their life every month....) It is limited to just medication or also supplies? What about required yearly tests and visits to specialists that are quite costly? Honestly, I don't know the answers to these questions but he is an "I'm always right" type of person and I wasn't in the mood to discuss this. 

EDIT: I now I went back to see the conversation in facebook and he is, in fact, a member of Samaritan ministries. I almost want to contact them with my questions, telling them I was referred by this friend who is a member, to see what they tell me. But maybe they watch this thread and it's too late now. lol

 

EDIT EDIT: Sorry for all the edits. But I just checked it out and most pre-existing conditions are considered a Special Prayer Need. So you don't get automatic coverage. It's an option where members can send extra money to your Special Prayer Need if they want to. That seems really risky if that's your only insurance? But I can see it being attractive anyways if you don't already qualify for any other insurance because I guess it's better than nothing. I wonder realistically how many of these Special Prayer Need members actually get extra money and how much they receive. 

Edited by meep

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