Cash-pay patients more likely to receive hospital discounts – study

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News

Axios released a report this morning from Johns Hopkins University highlighting the opportunities for cash-pay patients to receive discounts for medical bills compared to those who pay through a health insurance provider.

The study reads,

Hospitals routinely charge less to patients who pay in cash and seek to recoup the difference from commercially insured patients in markets where they can exert leverage.

The study, conducted across 70 different healthcare services and 2,379 hospitals, found that most hospitals typically lower the price for cash-pay patients because it is often mutually beneficial for both the hospital and the patient to not have to go through a third-party insurance provider.

Axios researchers wrote,

Hospitals routinely calculated cash prices and commercially negotiated rates in increments of a 5% discount from list prices, or “chargemasters.”

Author’s Biblical Analysis

What does this report have to say for Christians?

Let me first share my own experience. I also use only cash-pay options for medical bills, and I can attest to the fact that bills tend to be considerably more affordable for cash-pay customers than for customers paying via health insurance. This report is exactly right.

I do this through an organization called Samaritan Ministries International (SMI). Samaritan Ministries is a Christian health-sharing ministry, where believers become members to share one another’s medical needs. I, along with the rest of the full-time FISM staff, use Samaritan Ministries as our group health-sharing plan for FISM.

SMI members pay their medical fees out-of-pocket before they get reimbursed by fellow believers who are sharing their needs. I would recommend Samaritan Ministries to every believer I know for a plethora of reasons, the greatest of which is SMI’s commitment to upholding the biblical worldview and making much of the name of Christ.

But another reason I would do so is SMI’s affordability. Not only is the out-of-pocket coverage comprehensive and monthly fees far cheaper than most insurance plans, SMI also allows members to be free from the glut of extra fees that often come with health insurance providers and to qualify as cash-pay patients.

So what does all this have to do with the Christian worldview? I believe the answer is simple: Be a good steward of your health.

Your health is a gift from God, meant to be used for His glory, for the good of the Church, and for the spread of the gospel. Like your money, your family, and your time, you have been entrusted with your health for a limited time as a steward. Please your Father in heaven by taking care of the health He has given you.

I believe partnering with a Christian organization such as SMI is a wonderful way to do this. The reality is that many health insurance companies do not care about the morality of the procedures they support and cover. Many health insurance companies will not think twice about paying for such reprehensible acts as abortion, sterilization, and transgender mutilation.

Do not have any kind of fellowship with this wickedness. Instead, look to honor the Lord even with your health by making sure that the money you spend on the bodily wellness of you and your family is being used to bring honor to the Lord.

Lastly, this also means you have a responsibility to take care of your body. This is not a call to glorify your health in idolatry. This is simply to tell you that being healthy, taking care of the temple God has given you, is a way you can point back to His goodness.

Never waste an opportunity to give God glory.

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  – 1 Corinthians 6:20