Referral # 112373
Today, I want to tell you a little more about how this Christian Cost-Share ministry works. Please note, this information is specific to Christian Healthcare Ministries. I have no experience with any other cost-share program. We have been with CHM since 2006. They have seen us through major medical bills and the death of our daughter, 4 live births (including a c-section) and 2 miscarriages, as well as ER visits, blood tests, and a heart echo. While I do not claim to be an expert, I do feel like I can speak to how we personally handle using this kind of program. Any specific questions you have will need to be asked of the helpful people at Christian Healthcare Ministries
Referral # 112373
No matter how many people are in your family, you never pay for more than 3 UNITS of coverage. Each unit has a specific level – bronze, silver, gold. You can mix and match these. I am on gold because I am still of child-bearing age and we birth in a hospital. Everyone else is on silver. We pay $320 a month for coverage for all 9 of us. (There is catastrophic coverage available through a program called Brother’s Keeper.)
Every month we pay in to an account that is then divided up amongst the needs of others in the program. We have the opportunity to pray for others and give more than our allotted amount.
When we have medical bills of our own, here is how we handle them:
1. We tell the hospital/doctor that we are self-pay. Christian Healthcare Ministries is NOT insurance. We are the ones responsible for our bills. You do not want to tell hospitals/doctors that this is insurance because it cannot be filed as such.
2. You try to work to reduce your bills. We ask for discounts for being self-pay (many offices have significant discounts available). If we can get a significant discount for paying some up front, we will do that. CHM will also work with you to get your payment quickly if you need to make a lump sum payment to get a large discount. Any discount you get goes toward your “personal responsibility”. More often than not, you reach this amount without ever paying a cent.
One thing to remember here is that medical markup is HUGE. Sometimes hospitals mark up services/supplies as much as 700%! You are NOT asking for anything that the insurance companies are not already receiving. You CAN negotiate as an individual!
3. Set up payments if need be. Some offices will put your bill on hold knowing you will be paying within a few months, but others will need to have a payment plan in place. We always ask to pay the least amount possible just to keep everyone happy until the shared amount comes from CHM, and then we pay the entire bill off.
4. Keep a file for each incident with careful records. I have an envelope for each medical incident we incur. I label them and then put every bill, notification, etc in that envelope. I’ll explain more about how we notate these bills here in a moment…
5. Submit bills to CHM for sharing. For every incident, you will need to fill out some general information for CHM to start processing bills. Those papers can be found here. As soon as you have an itemized billing from the incident, you should make a copy and submit it for sharing. You DO NOT have to wait until you have every bill from the incident in hand before submitting the incident. As you receive bills, simply send them in as Add-Ons.
6. Make notes and file. Every bill that comes, I make notes on. I write Submit to CHM if I am needing to copy and send. Once a bill is sent, I put a checkmark beside that notation and mark the date sent. I write any payment plans on the bill, I make note of the names of people I’ve spoken with about the bill and the date I spoke with them. I also note any discounts received.
7. When payment is received, pay off bills as needed. Checks from CHM are made out to you. If you have already paid the bill in full, then you simply pay yourself back. If you have an outstanding bill, you deposit the check and pay off the bill from your own account. Keep track as you go with your file of bills.
When we first joined Christian Healthcare Ministries 7 years ago, payment took about 7 months. There are so many people with CHM now that payment is most often received within 3 months!
We tell everyone about CHM because it has been such a great way to handle medical costs without paying into a system that encourages sickness and immoral decisions. This type of program may not be for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, I’d encourage you to get a Free Information Packet. And if you choose to go with Christian Healthcare Ministries, I’d be grateful if you would use our referral number
If someone we refer joins CHM, after 3 months, we receive a free month!
And in case you were curious, CHM does qualify as an eligible option under the Affordable Care Act. I really do hope you will take a serious look at cost-shares as a way to handle your healthcare if you find yourself wanting or needing something besides traditional insurance.