One thing missing, though, was an agent’s perspective; that is, from how someone who’d actually sold such a plan. Fortunately, I received an email from one such, who’s graciously agreed to let me share her story:
“I’m a financial advisor and licensed insurance agent (since ’97). I moved my family to Samaritans two years ago when that insurance we were promised we could keep was no longer available. It took me some time to get comfortable with the idea of believers sharing burdens like this. In part my skepticism was a result of my training in the industry; insure risk, insure risk, insure risk.
Also, my skepticism was partially anchored in knowing human nature. This year we had a small need, $1,800. The plan worked as explained, and receiving notes of encouragement from all those folks was encouraging. It’s a privilege to pray for and encourage those to whom we send our monthly contributions, so to receive it in return warmed my soul.
We have found that generally telling doctors that we are cash pay affords better treatment, better pricing, easier appointment times and we’ve become much more aware of cost [ed: which tracks with what other commenters have noted] as we don’t wish to burden the group any more than is absolutely necessary. It’s been eye opening to see just how badly and invasive the insurance industry has injected itself between the doctor/patient relationship. Now, even if the ACA is repealed, I don’t think I’ll go back to regular insurance.”
Thank you, this is exactly the kind of input I was seeking.
So, I think at this point that I need to “move on” from my skepticism of this model, at least insofar as this new product is concerned.