Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Samaritan Ministries’ health care sharing program or CMF CURO some kind of Christian health insurance?
No. insurance involves a contract whereby one party agrees to be legally responsible for and accept another party’s risk of loss, in exchange for a payment called a premium. Health care sharing is an arrangement whereby Christians share, to assist one another with medical expenses through voluntary giving. We are not licensed or registered by any insurance board or department since we are not practicing the business of insurance. We do not assess applicants’ health risks, because neither the ministry nor the members are assuming financial liability for any other member’s risk. Unlike insurance, the focus of Samaritan Ministries’ need sharing is not on what you might receive financially if you have a need, but on how you can help others with the needs they have right now (Acts 20:35).
2. What is the relationship between Samaritan and CMF CURO?
First and most importantly, CMF CURO and SMI members share the same love of Jesus Christ and his teachings. We strive to become more like this even through our health care decisions. CMF CURO is a Catholic member-representative of Samaritan. All members of CMF CURO are members of Samaritan, and must be enrolled in the SMI Save to Share program. CMF CURO is managed by the Christ Medicus Foundation (CMF) fully consistent with the Guidelines and administrative requirements of SMI and Catholic teaching. In addition to being a member of SMI, CMF CURO members are provided with additional tools and resources, spiritual, educational, and technological, a rich, uniquely Catholic health care sharing experience, and the CMF CURO Fund.
3. What are the Asset Health wellness tools on the CMF CURO site?
CMF CURO members are empowered to take active stewardship and responsibility for their health and wellbeing with the help of the wellness tools, available on a variety of devices. The CMF CURO wellness tools focus on comprehension and active knowledge as the foundation of improved health and wellbeing. Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health, and physical activity is a pillar of good health. The tool set includes nutrition goal setting, tracking, and team challenges. CMF CURO includes exercise tracking, goals, and challenges, and integrates with a variety of fitness tracking devices.
4. How does the CMF CURO card work?
The CMF CURO card doubles as a health care membership id card and a debit card. First, it informs medical service providers that you are a member of a health care sharing ministry and instructs them on where to send your pricing information. Be sure to tell your provider that you are a direct pay patient. The provider enters in the 5 digit EDI Payor ID on the front of your CURO Card and CMF CURO’s service pricing administrator will then generate an itemized bill statement and member provider pricing agreement. This form has a suggested price on it (125% of the Medicare rate), so you can take this form to your provider and have them sign off on the reduced price. If the provider does not accept this price, you can use the price to negotiate a better rate.
The CMF CURO card also serves as a debit card, allowing you to receive shareable funds on your card and pay your providers with ease and convenience right from your card. When a member has a medical need, Sharing Members will send their assigned share to a PO Box for the Member in Need, along with the SMI share slip and a brief note of encouragement. The shares are then deposited into an account allocated to the Member in Need and are available for use on the Member in Need’s CMF CURO card and the prayer letter is scanned and available online. The Member in Need can then pay his or her medical bills using the CMF CURO card as they would any other debit card. Members can only use the CMF CURO card to pay for medical services. You are never required to utilize the card sharing process and can always choose to receive checks in the mail as reimbursement for shareable medical needs. When you initiate a need by calling Samaritan and receiving a Need Processing Form, you will be asked whether you wish to have shareable funds allocated to your CMF CURO Card. Since the CMF CURO Card was intended to pay the provider directly, please do not have shareable funds placed on your CURO Card if you prepaid and want reimbursement.
5. What is the CURO Fund used for?
The CURO Fund has essentially three purposes: (1) support the mission of CMF CURO and our uniquely Catholic health sharing option; (2) help fund the Christ Medicus Foundation (CMF) which promotes individual rights of conscience, religious liberty, and ethical and religious directives in health care through work in education, public policy, and the marketplace. CMF supports pro-life and pro-family initiatives such as crisis pregnancy centers and NaPro technology; (3) assist CURO Members in exceptional cases with non-shareable needs provided that the Board of the Christ Medicus Foundation approves and the amount of support is no more than 5% of the total CURO Fund.
6. What do members share and what do they not share?
CMF CURO Members share medical expenses incurred for providing medical care to the membership households. Most needs are shared but we recommend that you review the SMI Guidelines. Needs resulting from conditions that existed prior to your membership are usually not shared (see Section VII of the SMI Guidelines for details).
Routine checkups and preventative care are considered items that can be included in your budget and are not shared. There is limited sharing of maternity needs related to a conception prior to membership.
Most dental, audiological, and optical related needs are not shared through the ordinary SMI sharing process.
If any of these needs that do not qualify for sharing should become a burden to your family, the Special Prayer Needs ministry may be able to provide assistance. See Section V.A of the SMI Guidelines. A detailed explanation of the limitations on needs shared is found in Sections VIII and IX of the Guidelines.
7. Is there a deductible?
The concept of a deductible indicates that there are some amounts for which you are responsible, and some amounts for which an insurance company is responsible. In a sharing ministry, each member is always responsible for all of his or her own medical expenses.
Within SMI’s sharing ministry, a medical need of less than $300 is not shared among the members. When the need goes over $300, the amount from $300 to $250,000 is shared unless the need is preventive care, a pre-existing condition, or mental health. The amount of a need that exceeds $250,000 can be eligible for sharing through Samaritan’s Save to Share™ program. CMF CURO members must enroll in SMI’s Save to Share Whatever discounts you receive as a direct pay patient reduce your $300 family contribution per need dollar per dollar.
8. Am I free to choose my own health care providers without penalty?
Yes. While the SMI website provides information regarding providers that welcome direct pay patients (sometimes referred to as cash pay, self-pay, or private pay), there are no “preferred providers,” or required networks. Thus, there are no “out of network” penalties.
9. What kind of requirements do members have to meet?
Members must live in accordance with the Samaritan Member requirements in Section I of the SMI Guidelines.
10. Is there a limit on the number of needs I can share or the amount of such needs?
No. There is no limit on the number of needs that an individual member or household may have. Furthermore, through the Save to Share Program, there is no cap on needs shared. Neither your membership nor your monthly share is affected by the amount of medical expenses you have.
11. Is there an Annual Unshared Amount or a waiting period?
No, there is no annual amount you must pay before your needs are shared, nor is there a waiting period to share needs once you are fully enrolled in SMI.
12. What if I receive more money from members’ shares than the total amount of my final medical bills?
Sometimes reductions in charges are obtained after the full amount of a need has already been assigned to the members, and the member with the need receives more than he or she still owes on medical bills. Because these shares were given in trust that they would be used only for the medical need being published, a member receiving money has the responsibility to be faithful to that trust by seeing that any extra is sent to another member with an unmet need or to the Samaritan Ministries’ office to assist with the cost of negotiating the reductions. The SMI administrative office directs the members where to send any extra shares they receive.
13. What if someone assigned to give towards my need does not send their share?
SMI will send you a checklist (also available online), so that you can keep track of which members were assigned to send you shares to help with your need. If Samaritan learns that someone on your list has stopped sharing and will not be sending to you, that amount will be reassigned in the following month to a member who is sharing. You must be current in your sharing responsibilities and other member requirements to have a need published.
14. What happens if there are more shares than needs?
When there are more shares available than the amount of needs submitted for a month, needs already received for the following month will be shared a month early. If there is still a surplus of share money when it is time to prepare the monthly newsletter mailing, the share amount for that month will be reduced to the amount needed.
15. What happens if there are more medical needs than shares in a month?
In months when more needs are submitted than the amount of share money that is available, Samaritan prorates needs to evenly distribute the burden. For example, if $1,000,000 in publishable needs are submitted, but there is only $900,000 in share money available, then only 90 percent of each need will be published.
If there is extra share money available the following month, the surplus will be used to help with the prorated needs. Other members are also encouraged to give additional gifts, if they are able for the member assistance fund. In addition, many members whose needs have been prorated have found that their health care providers will reduce their charges to the prorated amounts, or the members may receive additional money from unexpected sources. God has many ways of providing. SMI has discovered through its over 20 year history that even prorated needs are met through generous extra giving and through the many other ways in which God provides. If prorating occurs three months in a row without being reversed, the SMI Board must propose a share increase to the members for a vote. See Section VI.D “Balancing Needs and Shares/Proration” of the SMI Guidelines for more details.