How to Exempt Yourself from Obamacare


Many of us are very concerned about Obamacare and its impact upon us, the economy and the culture. We've read about how Congress has gained exemptions for elected officials and their staff, but what about you and me? What about the people that actually employ them? While I am all for a good fight to rid ourselves of this monster either through nullification or a complete repeal (not a replacement), there are other courses of action that can be taken. Perhaps this one might just get you an exemption from the UN-Affordable Care Act.

My friend Dr. Joel McDurmon wrote on the subject today at American Vision. He introduced Samaritan Ministries to many who have never heard of it, and I thought I would do the same today. I have been looking into the ministry as well for some time. The company I work for offered me insurance at literally double the cost of what Samaritan charges.

samaritan-ministriesSamaritan Ministries accepts Christians in a local church and they then pay a monthly fee (in my case all of my family would cost about $350 per month, yeah I'm the guy with 10 kids). This is not insurance, but what it is is a way for Christians to bear each other's burdens by sending their monthly payment to other Christians who need the money to pay medical bills. It's really a simple concept and a lot more personable that merely sending in a check.

McDurmon wrote:

Many people are still not aware that health care sharing ministries like the one run by my friends at Samaritan Ministries lobbied and debated with Congress hard during the 2009 fight over ObamaCare. As a result of their efforts, and the nature and track record of the ministry, they earned an exemption from the individual mandate in ObamaCare for members of the sharing ministry.

Long story short, join Samaritan Ministries and you are exempt from ObamaCare's individual mandate.

And this comes among the many other advantages of Samaritan, including the facts that sharing costs are in most cases much lower than insurance premiums, and that no money whatsoever ever funds or helps fund abortions, other planned-parenthood activities, or a variety of other sinful lifestyle consequences.

Samaritan is willing to stand by those of the Christian faith in order to help them and also provide a means to helps others in the process. "If you are a committed Christian, you do not have to violate your faith by purchasing health insurance from a company that pays for abortions and other unbiblical medical practices," the website reads. "You can live consistently with your beliefs by sharing medical needs directly with fellow believers through Samaritan Ministries' non-insurance approach. This approach even satisfies the Federal health care law's (Affordable Care Act) requirement that you have insurance or pay a penalty-tax (see 26 United States Code Section 5000A, (d), (2), (B))."

Jim Epstein wrote a piece at Reason.com at the first of October. He is somewhat pessimistic as to whether Samaritan will last under Obamacare as he wrote, "Samaritan may soon become a casualty of new incentives created by Obamacare, which does virtually nothing to reduce third-party payments in delivering health care. When their bills are mostly covered by insurance companies or the government—which may also be heavily subsidizing their premiums as well—patients aren't discerning shoppers."

However, that did not keep him from giving it a fair review. Epstein writes:

Under Obamacare, most Samaritan members will be able to purchase health insurance policies that offer richer benefits for lower prices, thanks to significant taxpayer subsidies. Take, for example, the median Samaritan household, which has three members and an annual income of about $40,000. Under Obamacare, that family will pay around $2,500 dollars a year to buy a middle-of-the-road "silver" plan on the new health care exchanges. Why so cheap? Because taxpayers will pick up two-thirds of the total cost of the insurance premium. Compare that $2,500 price tag to the cost of an annual membership in Samaritan, which comes to $4,440, and that average family will save nearly $2,000 per year for quitting Samaritan and signing up for a subsidized insurance plan that's more comprehensive. About 90 percent of Samaritan members have incomes low enough that they'll qualify for at least some federal subsidies on the exchanges. Depending on a variety of factors, households making up to 400 percent of the poverty line may qualify for premium subsidies.

Samaritan's executive vice president, James Lansberry, is optimistic that most Samaritan members will stick with the ministry because of its theological mission. He's also convinced that the biggest threat from Obamacare is already out of the way. Lansberry led a successful fight to get language inserted into the law that specifically exempts health care sharing ministries from the individual mandate, which would have required that members buy a traditional health insurance policy or pay significant penalties. "We look at our exemption from the individual mandate as a miracle from God," he says. Regarding the exchanges, "members will stick with us even if it doesn't make financial sense, because by belonging they're expressing their religious beliefs."

Lansberry points out that many members care deeply about what Samaritan doesn't cover. "Do you support abortion, sexual immorality, drug & alcohol abuse with your health insurance?" reads the cover of one Samaritan pamphlet. Joining with "unbelievers" to cover the "health consequences of sinful living," it warns, "is not a way of showing the love of Jesus Christ."

There's also the conscientious approach to wheeling and dealing that takes place in health care. Our family often does this because we always pay out of pocket for doctor visits when we go, which is quite rare.

"Now if you're a doctor and you know the patient that you have to look in the eye will never have to pay a single penny of the cost of these procedures," said Lansberry, "you're going to try and raise your price because there's no reason not to." 

Samaritan members have a vested interest in making sure the costs are a low as possible. They are frugal, just like the Brown household.

"If my best friend gives me his credit card and says go out to dinner on me," says Lansberry, "I'm probably not going to have surf and turf because I want to look him in the eye later."

Epstein gives an example of such a scenario that took place regarding a member of Samaritan:

Take Roger Stuber, a Samaritan member and residential contractor in Tremont, Illinois. He experienced a series of seizures last year that revealed a leaky vein in his brain that required surgery. Even in the midst of this terrifying episode, Stuber went to lengths to insure that he wasn't overcharged. The hospital initially was going to bill him more than $63,000 for his surgery, which he negotiated down to just over $36,000. When he was billed $5,000 for a follow-up MRI, at first the hospital refused to offer him much of a discount. So he marched down to the finance office and demanded to see the manager in charge. She eventually agreed to accept just under $1,500 dollars if Stuber paid cash on the spot.

If he hadn't gone to all of this effort, the bills would have been covered almost entirely by other members. "But I'm part of a body there at Samaritan," says Stuber, "and if I can keep costs down, I'm helping the group."

167055312_640The ministry helps share roughly $6 million monthly in medical need directly to more than 25,000 households. Encouraging notes and prayers are often shared among members and the 94 member staff of Samaritan. They provide for singles, couples and single-parent families and so far the cost has not exceeded $370.

Obamacare demonstrates the twisted, tyrannical approach to government "charity," while our friends at Samaritan Ministries demonstrate how Christ's followers voluntarily care for one another.

Is Samaritan Ministry right for you and your family? Click here to find out more information. Tell them I sent you!

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  • Jon Slater

    video shows how obama makes sure the public accept obamacare - http://youtu.be/52aFfMCYTrQ

  • reggiec

    I have heard that there are scores of people "testing" the enrolment system for Obamacare. They go to the site enroll to see if it works and then cancel that enrolment. Some have tested the site numerous times. I am sure these Americans are trying to help Obama by continually enrolling and then cancelling to help identify bugs in the system.
    I just hope that the tests do not require the input of all their information. Maybe they stop short of that level while attempting to "test" the system to help Obama. For the trolls, this is sarcasm.

    • CreepyUncleSam

      I'm a health insurance broker and have been "testing" the system for 16 days just so I can compare ACA rates vs. what we offer. I have set up eight accounts and can't get past the login page after 200+ attempts. This is not just incompetence--they don't want people to know how expensive the plans are and how bad the coverage is, especially with conservatives trying to delay the individual mandate.

  • Andrea

    We have been members of Samaritan's ministry for sometime. I have NOTHING but GOOD and wonderful blessings to report, as a result.

    Catastrophic claims, as mentioned by someone below, happen. They are shared just as easily, because one key thing to remember is that with the folks that are members, they use much responsibility in health care, and most folks do not have high health care needs on a monthly basis.

    In addition, if one is concerned about a claim higher than what Samaritan's can publish, they do offer an additional sharing option for HUGE potential medical costs.

    It's a blessing to join with Christians, who are responsible about their health care needs, frugal, and non overly doctor dependent, and pray for one another and then, as in Galatians, bear one another's burden.

    All this, and we have NO affiliation with abortion, STD testing, birth control, etc., OR OBAMACARE!

  • pookieamos

    Because Obamacare was ruled Constitutional as a tax under the power of Congress to levy taxes , once Americans are taxed , we do have a way out !!! The Constitution says all tax bills must originate in Congress, the current Obamacare law originated in the Senate. We Americans who are outraged should band together and file a massive lawsuit against the federal government once the actual tax kicks in !!!

  • DON THE BRITTON

    The problem is if it works the government will outlaw the practice. They will not allow the public to live outside the ACA. So be prepared to pay the fines in addition to your other costs.

    • Andrea

      Samaritan's is highly active in protecting our rights both with teh gov't, and college campuses to be counted as "insured independently". I have faith that God will continue to preserve our rights in this area.

    • DON THE BRITTON

      Sorry God isn't making the law Obama is and he is Muslim. Christians are his enemies

    • Andrea

      Yeah, I understand that part. I fully agree with you! God hasn't been part of our laws for sometime, which is why we are in this mess.

      As for now, Samaritans is exempt from Obamacare compliance.

  • http://twitter.com/rulken kenneth russell

    Any unjust law passed by Congress is null and void! This law is unjust from the start and only Congress can make or change, or repeal any law. We all know that Obama has made changes to the law without congressional approval and that is a direct violation of the Constitution, for which he swore an oath to uphold!
    No one is above the law, if Obama has decided to exempt himself from Obama care, then so can we!

    • f8tule

      just by being in our white house, the KENYAN BORN ILLEGAL-ALIEN is breaking our Constitution and not ONE CONGRESSMAN or woman cares.. so we are done for... unless WE THE PEOPLE along with God take this country back

  • CreepyUncleSam

    While I like the Ministry concept, and it probably works great for many people, my biggest concern would be in the case of catastrophic claims. According to the article, 25,000 families cover the costs of $6 million in monthly medical need. A handful of catastrophic claims in the millions each could render this program insolvent. If someone in my family needed millions of dollars in care, I would worry about rationing and insolvency. Insurance companies are required to have a a certain level of reserves in the bank to cover claims that these organizations are not.

    • Andrea

      Samaritan's offers a catastrophic share option, as well.

      Most people will never top the upper limit, and we've never had any issue having our needs met.

    • CreepyUncleSam

      What is the upper limit out of curiosity?

    • Andrea

      On the regular share plan, an individual need (which is defined differently than most insurances I've been familiar with, which usually cap at "per person" or "per family" or "per benefit period/year") is $250,000 that will be published. The Save to Share program is an additional program that shares the needs of members who have needs above the $250,000 mark.

      One thing to keep in mind, is that because this is a ministry, there are many instances of folks sending in monetary gifts for anyone in need. Additionally, if you join with a pre-existing condition, or are currently pregnant when joining, etc., the ministry shares your needs as a special need, and people charitably give at that point.

      We charitably give on the special need publication each month, in addition to the general payment to a published need. When we know our dollars are actually helping responsible Christian people, and not funding sin, we feel blessed to do it..and still pay far less than insurance would cost us for premiums, not to mention co-insurance, deductible, etc.

  • kalli

    Here is another website, Christian Healthcare Ministries, I became aware of several years ago which offers similar healthcare as Samaritan.

    http://www.chministries.org/default.aspx

    • Andrea

      It does operate differently than Samaritan's in that you send your share to the company, rather than to individuals. I have not had experience with CHM, however, only Samaritans.

  • Kai

    While commendable, such a plan would only be effective if they developed a network of physicians who totally operated outside of the traditional medical system, setting their own prices based on "cash payment" basis. If Samaritan Industries chooses to help participants with bills based on the outrageous price schedules set by the government and insurance companies, there is no way it can be sustainable as prices will continue to be driven higher with inflation and crony capitalism. If they instead choose to setup a separate and independent system, complete with physicians, nurses, etc., they can offer a viable alternative to Obamacare.

    • celticreeler

      Please visit the website of the excellent physician's group, in its 70th year, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS):

      http://www.aapsonline.org

      They have a listing of no-third party paying physician practices, listed and sortable by state, specialty, etc.

      AAPS has been the standard-bearer for the free market in American Medicine.

    • Andrea

      We have never had an issue working with a provider. We have had cash pay reductions ranging from 10% to 65% of the billed price, based on cash pay.

      Additionally, Samaritans has staff, as well as an independent company, to negotiate reductions in fees if a member has need issues that are not getting worked with or resolved.

      We've had babies, and a few medical sharing needs that were published very quickly, and we received full payment promptly, as well as cards and the blessing of prayer. With insurance, we paid outrageous prices for years, never got all our bills covered even close to fully, and of course helped support abortion and the like.

    • reggiec

      Some physicians are doing just that.

  • CreepyUncleSam

    There is another way to grant yourself an exemption depending on the state that you are in. You can get a short-term major medical policy that doesn't include maternity, prenatal care, mental health, drug/alcohol rehab--stuff most people don't care about, for 1/3 the cost of an Obamacare Plan. If you want details shoot me over an email and indicate what state you are in and I will run a quote for you. [email protected]. Greg Hovey--Nationally Licensed Health Insurance Broker. If you earn more than 400% of the federal poverty level (no subsidy for you) and don't want an Obamacare Plan, we really need to talk. Here is the calculator to see if you are at or above 400% of the FPL: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/healthpolicy/calculator/

    • Kai

      Insurance plans are a scam. If reducing the costs of healthcare was such a concern, the easiest way to drop prices through the floor would be to make it a cash-and-carry system. The reason medical costs continue to skyrocket is because insurance companies work with the government through programs like Medicare/Medicaid to set prices. Combine this with rampant inflationary policies set by the Federal Reserve and there is no stopping increasing medical costs no matter what program the government wants to implement. Completely do away with ALL insurance and prices will go through the floor and quality will go up as physicians and hospitals will need to compete for patients like it should be in a free-market. As it is now, quality is going down because of guaranteed payment by insurance companies, prices go up because they charge as much as they can, and because doctors are protected behind a wall of liability coverage preventing them and the hospitals from being held accountable.

    • CreepyUncleSam

      You would be correct Kai if you could afford to pay for whatever healthcare you require out of your pocket. The problem arises when your potential risk exceeds your resources. When your potential risk exceeds your resources, that is when you buy insurance, whatever type it is. Yes there are many things we could do to address the high costs of healthcare in the US, and Obamacare does NOTHING in that regard, e.g., tort reform, reigning in Big Pharm, allowing people to buy across state lines, reducing fraud and abuse to name a few possibilities. The way to make private insurance work, is to make people responsible for a portion of their healthcare costs (like with coinsurance) and give them the ability to shop around for services. High deductible HSA's are a great option too. But to say that insurance a scam per se is pretty naive. To say Obamacare is a scam would be dead-on CORRECT!

    • Tony Donaldson

      You have to ask yourself who stands to make money off this Act? As a tax, the feds will rake in a ton. The IRS will rake in millions of fines and foreclose on property. Who will benefit from this Act? No one. The worker will continue to pay for the non workers. This won't help the economy any more than any of their other cock a mamy ideas. You want the government to know everything about your life? Let them get hold of your medical records. Kill this law now before it takes root. Abolish the unaffordable care act. No fixes. No substitutes. Leave our health care alone. You mess up everything you touch.

    • Andrea

      Exactly. I'm in 100% agreement. Samaritans was our choice for responsible health care planning, long before Obama made his wildest dreams to deconstruct the nations medical care into a single payer system, true.

    • reggiec

      All the raised premiums decrease what in some cases might be "disposable" income. You know the money people have left over after paying for everything in their budget.

      Now that "disposable income" is no longer there or reduced because of higher premiums. It is now earmarked for O'Vomitcare. When it is not there it cannot be spent for a nice dinner, some repairs around the house, some needed new
      appliances, a vacation away from home or some nice steaks instead of chicken for the BBQ.

      Another sneaker is that if you have an excellent health care
      plan that somehow you are able to keep, it will be labeled a “Cadillac” plan. What happens then? The worth of that plan, calculated by the IRS, will be added onto your “taxable income”, raising your taxes and possibly kicking you into a higher tax bracket. More what was "disposable income" now earmarked for a single egregious reason.

      What is the result? All those people that produce, furnish
      service or sell anything associated with any of the above will have a shrinking demand for their products or services. So when their income is reduced because others can no longer afford what they supply; how will they pay for their own
      increased premiums? That is an easy question. They will also cut back on other spending, further increasing the downward economic spiral.
      Ant fool can realize that if you only have so much money and some of it must be used for something added to your budget that was not there before or has increased in cost; something else will not be purchased, repaired or some service will be eliminated.

      You cannot fix stupid!

    • Andrea

      Yeah, for our family the high deductible, maternity/catastrophic plan was $789 per month the last time we were members. We are all very healthy, yet the deductible per person was 5,000 and a separate 5,000 for maternity with an 80/20. It made no sense, as we ended up paying far more out of pocket than we ever do with Samaritans. It just doesn't make sense. Besides, then you are in the Obamacare system, and supporting a lot of sinful coverage, in my own opinion. I don't want to pay for a woman's STD testing, or for abortifacient birth control and abortion. Not when they then ream me for an unmedicated natural delivery! The available plans also rarely reward healthy behavior and those who don't live to go to the doctor...rare to have homebirth midwife coverage, no "alternative" therapies.. No thanks. Keep your insurance, we'll never go back!

    • Andrea

      We did that, for maternity and catastrophic care. The costs were OUTRAGEOUS, and we never had coverage for things that were related to the actual issue at hand (maternity coverage that wouldn't cover labs because the overall plan didn't cover labs). We joined Samaritans a long time ago, and have never had anything but blessing and MUCH cheaper costs.

  • David Risselada

    Its good to know that there are options out there. I have to confess though, I have exempted myself from the law anyway. As long as I have representatives in congress that are exempt I am exempt. Case closed.

    • http://FreedomOutpost.com/ Tim Brown

      I tend to agree, but should you be looking for an insurance alternative, Samaritan seems like a really good option.

    • Andrea

      It really is. We are blessed by it...I never thought writing a check to someone would bless me so much. However, when we get a need share (and the monthly amount is always the same no matter how many children we have, they don't penalize for being blessed with children that may also require some type of sharing at some point someday) that a family just had a baby, or a child has cancer, or an adult is suffering from a condition, and we get to pray for them, and send them a check to meet their financial need..I tell you what..it makes me blessed. Then, to be on the receiving end? The cards that come, the prayers...nothing like it, and it's NOTHING to do with insurance and Obamacare. Enough said. :)

    • f8tule

      ya, I agree. but what are you going to do when they take your money out of your account anyway?? are you still exempt then?

  • fliteking

    Excellent article. Outstanding.