Verity will need open-heart surgery. We can’t afford open-heart surgery.
We have no health insurance of any kind, including from the government. We used to have health insurance. Yep, we had insurance when the twins were born, and were left with so many bills that we had to refinance our mortgage. In our experience, the purpose statement of insurance companies should be, “Try NOT to cover medical bills.” Oh, the hours and hours of wrangling Joe had to go through with insurance companies over the years! Grrrrr!
In January of 2008, we turned our back on health insurance and became members of Samaritan Ministries, a Christian health-care sharing ministry. It is not insurance, thank the Lord. It is Christian brothers and sisters praying for one another and willingly giving toward one another’s medical expenses. We are considered self-pay, since we have “only” God backing us up, and apparently nobody has space for Him on their forms!
According to the (ridiculous, meaningless) federal guidelines, we have been living below the poverty line for years. I say “meaningless” because we are actually wealthy. God has given us all we need and plenty to share. What would we do with more than that? Besides, He has abundantly blessed us with Himself, His Word, and relationships with other people, including our ten children. We’d rather have these than all the stuff that will burn up in the end, anyway.
Given our financial information, most people would say we are faced with an impossible situation.
But, no fear. Our God moves resources around to where He wants them to be. He can afford a little thing like open-heart surgery. Just a matter of waiting to see what He would do. (Mind you, “waiting” is not a code word for “sitting on lazy, self-indulgent haunches hoarding our stuff.” Just to clarify.)
So. The story.
Three years ago, I took the twins to Penney’s to have their pictures taken. (To commemorate turning 7 months old on 7/7/07.) In the parking lot, I met a pregnant mother loading many children into her 15 passenger van. We chatted and exchanged contact information. They had missed our first annual Big Families and Friends picnic by only a few days.
We had them to our home; they had us to their home. They couldn’t come to the 2008 picnic…but they did come in 2009…
…and brought another large family with them. I met the mother of this new family briefly and later remembered only two things about her. One, she had a very sweet spirit. Two, she had a toddler boy with Down syndrome.
I remembered these two things in the weeks after getting Verity’s ultrasound results, and eventually gave her a call. She made time right then to listen and answer many, many questions. One of these questions was who they used for a doctor for their little boy. I jotted her answer in my notebook, “Dr. Morton in Strasburg,” and didn’t think about it again for months.
Then back on June 7th, I made two phone calls, and wrote the post, “Jumping for Joy,” that very day. We could see God’s hand leading us to this place, the Clinic for Special Children!
At the time, we still didn’t know for sure whether we would choose Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania, or A. I. DuPont in Delaware for Verity’s surgery. We knew it would depend mostly on the comparative costs. Samaritan will be publishing Verity’s entire medical need to the rest of the membership. We do not want to put an unnecessarily excessive financial load on our brothers and sisters in Christ.
On Thursday, we found out that Dr. Morton told Hershey that he would send them his self-pay patients, but that they would have to come up with a pretty good deal for them. They are still considering this suggestion. He already has a similar agreement with the Children’s Hospital in Philly. So far, DuPont hasn’t responded to his offer.
If we took Verity to Hershey on our own, without going through the Clinic for Special Children, Hershey would give us their usual 15% self-pay discount.
Going through the Clinic, if Hershey makes this agreement with them, we would be given a 70% self-pay discount!
Our family’s strategy for financial security?
“More secure is no one ever than the loved ones of the Saviour;
Not yon star on high abiding, nor the bird in homenest hiding.
What He takes or what He gives us shows the Father’s love so precious;
We may trust His purpose wholly, ’tis His children’s welfare solely.”
P. S. That initial doctor visit cost $100. When we arrived home that day and opened our mail, there was a card from a relative, with a $100 check enclosed to put toward Verity’s medical expenses.