A Legit Alternative to Obamacare

Imagine a world where where Obamacare members gleefully sent each other get-well cards with personal notes to the recovering members. Not likely, but that’s what happens with the group my family is involved in. And every last penny of $130,000 of medical bills since 2011 have been covered. Not a penny came from the government or a for-profit insurance company.


Samaritan Ministries is a cooperative group of people who pool their commitment to one another by sending medical reimbursement checks to cover medical expenses. The process makes much more sense, in my opinion, than the solutions given by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) or traditional insurance. One of the coolest things about the process are the handwritten notes of encouragement we receive from other members.

We put this to the test in 2011-2012 when my family was hit with three huge medical emergencies that wracked up $130,000 worth of hospital, doctor and medication bills (Micah cut his finger in a table saw, Wendy had a tumor removed from her throat, and I had a virus that attacked my heart). It was devastating and scary facing the pile of bills. Within a year, all reimbursement checks were in and all the bills paid. Plus we had cards like the ones above to encourage our recovery. We love it!

One of Micah’s checks came from a family with a 5-year-old son. The parents included this boy’s short get-well note written personally to Micah for healing his finger. It came with $1 of the boy’s own money. Micah was so encouraged that he made a custom wooden sword (from the very swords he cut the day he cut his finger) and sent it to him. Isn’t that just great?

Read about Samaritan here.

The pain of those three medical emergencies are two years old, but the pain of the bills are behind us, too. I don’t know of many people in that situation with the best insurance who can claim such a thing. All of the $130,000 has been paid off. Every penny. The stress is gone and we are back to healthy, uneventful living (for the time being).

Standing on this side of $130,000 of medical bills, we can sincerely testify that Samaritan Ministries came through, which is the idea of the “Good Samaritan” principle. The system Samaritan has come up with is effective. Our claims were published to the membership, and the system distributed the payments equitably. We have been sending our monthly checks loyally (as we have since 2004 when we joined), and we do so with a bit of enthusiasm knowing that the money is going to another to help in his/her time of need. Multiply that by 25,000 households and you have quite an impressive group of people taking care of one another.

Are you interested? Samaritan is perfect for self-employed families, but also good for part-time workers or others with no insurance. Great news, too: Samaritan is one of the legitimate exceptions to Obamacare, so you will not pay the penalty that will be charged to those who choose to refuse insurance.

Wendy and I believe Samaritan is perfect for families. Investigate this for your family; it may be just the thing you need to fulfill the federal mandate to get insured. Visit Samaritan Ministries’ Website. They come with my strongest recommendation.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • decathelite

    Samaritan sounds a lot like single payer. And that’s not a bad thing.

    • Samaritan is like single payer? What about it makes you think so?

      • decathelite

        I’m not an expert on healthcare by any means, but it seems like the money is paid to the doctor by Samaritan – a single entity (hence single payer), and not by many different insurance companies. The healthcare is not paid for by your employer (and has nothing to do with your employer), but is paid for by each person/family chipping in (on a national scale this would be done through taxes in lieu of a monthly share). Also, Samaritan isn’t a for profit healthcare provider, and the money goes directly to patient care – this eliminates a lot of administrative overhead and enforces accountability by requiring that limited resources be spent wisely. No one at Samaritan is making a lot of money off of people suffering – that, to me, is very important.

        Obviously there are many hurdles in bringing a single payer system to the national scale, and that kind of legislation has been put forth numerous times and failed, but I just wanted to point out the many parallels between single payer and Samaritan.

        • Well, not really. I pay my bills outright and submit receipts to Samaritan. When I cannot afford the bill, I work with the care giver while my receipts go through. It’s kind of a system that puts the patient in control of covering his/her own medical bills. The Samaritan network is an advocate for the patient.

          I have huge reservations on single payer where the patient isn’t in control at all, but rather a victim of a bureaucratic process. Doctors, too, aren’t respected caregivers; they’re given the shaft by whatever the government decides. And I hardly believe taxing for care is “pitching in,” definitely not “donating.” The government takes and redistributes, that’s taxation. I also have a lot more faith in the free market to eliminate overhead expenses; government guarantees overhead with little incentive to overcome it.

          • decathelite

            Ok. So legitimate question: are you required to donate to Samaritan to partake in its benefits? Because if you are not required, I don’t see how that’s different from taxation – someone requires you to send in money where it is then redistributed to those that need it.

            Also, does Samaritan negotiate bills with the doctor? Part of the problem, in my view, are doctors and hospitals charging whatever they want, even if it’s wildly inflated. In a free market, no one is stopping them – hospitals don’t have to compete for business; folks go to them because in life threatening situations, you can’t just say, “well, I think I’ll go to the hospital across town because their rates are better.” I believe a single payer, or Medicare-for-all system has the benefit of being able to negotiate rates, while our current free market system consists of private, for-profit insurance companies that sacrifice patient care for money.

            Please understand I think this sounds like a great program and am trying to see how it could apply on a larger scale.

            • Hmmm. I think you may be trying to see a similarity that just isn’t there. Samaritan is not a stepping stone to a single payer system, and I’m not following how you are coming to that conclusion. It is as the title suggests, “A Legit Alternative to Obamacare.” If anything, Obamacare is a stepping stone to single payer, not Samaritan.

  • Ryan Rocks

    Single payer is a bad thing because it takes us further away from a “free market” in health care. That means further away from low prices and innovation. Samaritan does not move us away from a free market, it is simply a way to pay for health care within the existing systems.