Because religious organizations such as Samaritan Ministries International are not State-regulated insurance companies, there is no legal guarantee that dues-paying organization members will receive payment for health-related claims, medical bills, and the like.
"It's a matter of faith, and I fully respect why a person or family may choose that option" said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. "However, it's important for folks to know what they're paying for, and that it is not insurance. While for some persons this type of 'coverage' may be an option, most persons want the peace of mind knowing that their Department of Insurance has verified that a company is solvent to pay claims, that the entity is legitimate and licensed and not scamming or embezzling monies, and that the Department has authority to enforce the full complement of consumer protections within the law that are not available with faith-based, non-insurance coverage. If we receive a complaint about a particular practice or error by an entity selling non-insurance coverage of the kind discussed here, then by law there is nothing we can do to help a victim."Goodwin said that, to his knowledge, he is not aware of any formal complaints received from current or former members of Samaritan Ministries.
To learn more about your options and the consumer protections that regulated insurance provides, and to know the difference between regulated insurance and non-insurance, please call the toll-free Consumer Helpline at the North Carolina Department of Insurance: 800-546-5664.