Christian Healthcare Ministries CHM

About CHM - Programs - Cost - How does it work? - Tips 

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About CHM

Founded in 1981, Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is the original health care sharing ministry for Christians. CHM is a nonprofit, voluntary cost-sharing ministry through which participating Christians meet each other’s medical bills. CHM members have shared more than $1 billion in medical bills. The ministry is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

 
 
Compare CHM programs & cost

Maximum 3 family members ('units') have to pay this premium. If you have a family of 4 (or more) you would only pay only for 3.

Ch

Sharing Limit

 

Sharing limit with Brother's Keeper

Hospitalization (in/out patient)

 

Surgery

 

Doctor's office/ Specialist visits

 

Prescriptions

 

Physical therapie/home health care

 

Maternity

 

 

 

 

Alternative care

Christian Healthcare Ministries

Gold program

 $150

  per month

  per person

Max out of pocket

  $500 per year

$125,000 per illness

 

Unlimited per illness

 

 

Included

 

Included

 

Incident-related

 

Incident-related

 

Up to 45 visits per incident


 

Unlimited with Brother's Keeper or $125,000 without

 

Not Covered

 

Christian Healthcare Ministries

Silver program

 $85

  per month

  per person

Max out of pocket

  $1,000 per incident

$125,000 per illness

 

An additional $100,000 per illness, per year, up to 1M

 

Included

 

Included

 

Not included

 

Not included

 

Not included

 

 

Only hospital treatment up to $125,000 per pregnancy or up to $2,500 for midwife services per pregnancy

 

Not Covered

 

Christian Healthcare Ministries

Bronze program

 $45

  per month

  per person

Max out of pocket

  $5,000 per incident

$125,000 per illness

 

An additional $100,000 per illness, per year, up to 1M

 

Included

 

Included

 

Not included

 

Not included

 

Not included

 

 

Only hospital treatment up to $125,000 per pregnancy is eligible for sharing

 

 

Not Covered

 

How it works

In short: Christians share each other’s medical bills by the monthly share (premium) they put in. It is not an insurance company. CHM is based on Galatians 6:2 (“Carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”) and on the actions of the New Testament church found in Acts 2 and 4.

All members pay their monthly 'share' (premium). When a member has a bill over $500 for the Gold plan, $1,000 for the Silver plan and $5,000 for the bronze plan -before discount- he/she can submit this bill to CHM. Any bill within the Guidelines of CHM will be paid from the monthly share (premium) every member puts in. 

Personal responsibility

All three participation levels are for medical cost exceeding your personal responsibility amount:

(It's like your insurance deductible)

$500 Gold plan, per year

$1,000 Silver plan, per medical event

$5,000 Bronze plan, per medical event

Please note the difference of the Gold plan, which is per year, while the Silver and Bronze plan are per medical event!

With each program, you receive credit toward your personal responsibility when you obtain a (self-pay) discount from the healthcare provider, of any amount on your eligible medical bills. This means that your personal responsibility can be zero, no cost, if you obtain a discount of $500 or more for the Gold plan, $1,000 or more for the Silver plan or $5,000 or more on the Bronze plan for your eligible bills.

Each program has a per-illness limit off $125,000, this limit can be exceeded if you have Brother’s Keeper’s program (The Gold plan combined with the Brother’s Keeper’s program has no limit amount per eligible illness!

Differences between plans

The most significant difference is that the Silver and Bronze programs are essentially for hospitalization (inpatient and outpatient services) and surgery. In contrast, the Gold program includes:

1. Hospitalization and Surgery

2. Medical testing

3. Most (if not all) maternity cost

4. Physical therapy and home health care (up to 45 visits per illness)

5. Incident related doctor’s office visits

6. Incident related prescriptions

An incident could be an illness or accident, a medical event.

The Gold level’s personal responsibility is $500 per person per calendar year. Silver and Bronze members are responsible for the first $1,000 and $5,000 per medical incident, per calendar year, respectively. This amount can be reduced by obtaining self-pay discount.

The Gold level offers many additional advantages such as an enhanced maternity program, more cost support for pre-existing conditions and some assistance for certain medical equipment and transportation cost. The CHM guidelines explain these in more detail.

Gold members who also join Brother’s Keeper have no limit on the dollar amount of medical bills that can be shared. Silver and Bronze members with Brother’s keeper see their per-illness limit increase by $100,000 per year until they reach a cap of $1 million per illness.

 
 
 
Gold Plan Example:

You receive treatment early in the year for a gallbladder problem. Your bills total $7,500 which include doctors visit, specialst visit, lab work and a procedure. CHM shares the total amount less your personal responsibility ($7,000). If you negotiate discount you pay less than you $500 personal responsibility (all the way down to $0!!) and therefor CHM will reimburse you all the way up to $7,500 -depending on the discount you negotiated).

 

In the middle of the same year you have some blood tests done (for an unrelated illness) that cost $400. CHM does not share these bills because the total cost of the incident is less than $500. At the end of the year, you break your arm and the treatment amounts to $2,500. CHM shares the entire amount of $2,500 because you have already paid your $500 personal responsibility in the beginning of the year.

 

 

Doctors Visit

Regular doctors visits (wellness/routine) are not covered (unless they are related to a medical event). 
This is what you can do to save money:

  • Talk to the billing department and explain that you are "self-pay", before your visit

  • Most doctors offices have significant reduced fees for self-pay patients as they don't have to file a claim 

         and wait for their money. Doctors offices love self-pay patients!

Medicine

Medicines are not covered (unless they are related to a medical event). However CHM provides a great discount card for medicine. 
I also compared a lot of the discount cards out there (whether they were free or not). CHM's discount card was actually one of the best! My wife is taking two different medications (one for seizures) and because we are self-pay we are only paying
a fraction of the actual price. Our total for both medicines is around $75.00 for a 3 month supply!

 

Money saving tips:

  • Use your CHM's discount card

  • Ask the doctor to prescribe  90 day supply

  • Ask the doctor to prescribe 'generic' medicine when available

  • Use the money you save on 'premium' in a savings account to pay for medication (see tips below)

  • Use great Apps like "GoodRx" which let your compare prescription medication prices from Publix, Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens etc.

       and give you great discount coupons

  • Check out the manufacturers website, often they offer coupons and offer low cost programs if you don't have insurance (CHM is not insurance)

Lab work

Lab work is not covered (unless they are related to a medical event). However there are great websites like www.firstchoicelabsusa.com which has significant reduced pricing on their lab work (up to 80% off). They work with Quest Diagnostics Labs all over the nation. I investigated many lab discounted websites and this was the best I could find, saving me the most money and making it easy to get my lab work done.

Sometimes going directly to the lab stating you are self pay will save you even more money! Find the 1-800 number and call them, talk to the billing department. They will ask you for the CPT codes the doctor prescribed for the bloodwork. They will give you patient-pay pricing which is significantly reduced. 

Tip: See also the money saving tips below on how to utilize money for these type of expenses.
 

Gold Plan '$500 Maximum out-of-pocket- explained

With the 'Gold plan' you have a maximum of $500 out of pocket expenses per year. Obtaining discounts on your bills may reduce or eliminate your $500 personal responsibility amount. If you can't negotiate a discount call CHM and they will be happy to negotiate a discount for you. However most facilities have a discount for self-pay patients -which you are, until you receive the check from CHM. Most facilities love self-pay patients because they don't have to file a claim with the insurance and deal with all their hassles, rules and write-off's.
 

Please note: you have more out-of-pocket expenses with the 'Silver' ($1,000) or 'Bronze' ($5,000) plan, however the premium is less.

Self Pay explained

A small disadvantage with Christian Healthcare Ministries is that you have to negotiate your own discount. 
It turns out that this is not a hassle at all, if you follow these steps: 

  • Tell the doctor's office / facility that you are a "self-pay patient"

    • Tell them you are a member of a Christian Organization who will help pay with the bills 

  • Ask them for a self-pay discount, as they don't have to submit a bill to the insurance

    • Most doctors / facilities already have a self-pay amount program setup 

  • Setup a payment plan for now until you receive the check from CHM 

 

Last year, I had to go to the ER. I told them I was self-pay. They said their self-pay amount is $450.00 for the hospital part.. Later I got a separate bill from the doctor in the ER and a bill for the CAT-SCAN. I called the medical facility who sent me the bill and explained I was self-pay. Again they already had self-pay discount policy in place which reduced my bills in half. 

The out of pocket expenses added up to nearly $1,300 which I submitted online to Christian Healthcare Ministries (total bills added up to over $6,000, but after self pay discount it was around $1,300). Since I got discounts over $500, my out of pocket expenses were $0.00!

I received my check from Christian Healthcare 3-4 months later for the full amount of around $1,300)  

I had to setup payment plans until I received the check (all expenses paid) from Christian Healthcare Ministries.
 

Will Christian Healthcare Ministries really share / pay for my bills?

Yes, but it has to be within their guidelines (which are pretty straight forward), and the total of the bills (after discount) have to exceed your out-of-pocket (Gold plan $500 per event, Silver plan bills need to exceed $1,000 per event, Bronze plan bills need to exceed $5,000 per event, all before any self-pay discount from the medical facility/doctor etc. 

 

The $150 every member put in each month will be used to shared the medical bills members submit.  You have to be a Christian and attend Church on a regular basis. You have to have a faithful marriage. You can't smoke and have limited alcohol use. Click the button below to see their guidelines (which are in my opinion very reasonable and fair, as a Christian).

 

Also, with the Gold plan you can not submit any bills under $500.00 (before discount). Any bill before discount of over $500.00 you can submit to CHM.

 

Personally I have had 3 claims in the last two years with CHM. One time my wife had her baby and two times I ended up in the ER due

to kidney stones. All three times CHM paid in full (I had the Gold plan, which means I have a $500 out of pocket, however I obtained over $500 discounts from my healthcare providers, as I stated I was self-pay. I ended up paying $0.00 out of pocket and the full claims A to Z were fully reimburse to me by Christian Healthcare. I did had to setup a payment plan for the time being until I received the money back from CHM.
 

Brother's Keeper explained

Brothers Keeper is a 'no-brainer' addition you can add to the Gold, Silver or Bronze level.

(The Brothers Keeper cost was included in the price comparison on the previous page.) 


Brothers Keeper is a low cost addition which give you an unlimited coverage amount per illness to the Gold plan and more coverage to the Silver and Bronze level. Additional cost is $20-25 per quarter and a membership fee of $40.00 per year. So for about $125.00 per year you can have amazing coverage, a piece of mind knowing that you would be covered in a catastrophic event.

Money Saving Tips $$

Setup a savings account from the money you save from your current insurance.
Knowing that the monthly share is only $150.00 with the Gold plan, it typically would leave (a lot) of money left over to visit the doctor.
Get a savings account and put money in here what you saved on insurance premium

(I would have been paying $338 for commercial insurance, so I save $188 per month on premiums -that's per person!)

I put this $188 in a savings account, and in one year It will ad up to be $2,256.00! 
So in the event you need to see a doctor, or need to pay for medicine, you'll have a nice 'health savings account' 
which you can use without it effecting your monthly budget.

Now the real fun begins in a couple of years, you'll see how much money you saved from commercial health insurance!

Who can be a member?

To become a Christian Healthcare Ministries member you must be a Christians living by biblical principles.  You have must have a church home and attend regularly (as health permits). You can not smoke or use illegal drugs, and follow biblical teaching on the use of alcohol.  There are no restrictions based on age, weight, geographic location or health history. 
 

Adult children can be a part of your membership until their 26th birthday as long as they meet all of the following qualifications:

  • They must be Christians living by biblical principles.

  • They must be single.

  • They must be your legal dependents (i.e. they must be reported as dependents on your income tax forms).

Pre-existing conditions

Definition: A pre-existing condition is any medical condition for which you experience signs, symptoms or treatment before joining Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), even if you have not been diagnosed. CHM cannot share medical bills incurred before you join the ministry.

Active vs. maintenance: CHM distinguish between pre-existing conditions in “active” treatment and “maintenance” treatment. Medical bills cannot be shared if, at the time you join CHM, the bills are for pre-existing conditions that are actively undergoing treatment other than with maintenance (routine) medications. After the incident is over and your doctor states that you are on a maintenance treatment regimen, bills for any new incident related to the pre-existing illness are eligible for sharing according to the information below.

 

If these criteria are met, Gold level members can receive assistance with medical bills for pre-existing conditions according to the following schedule:

  • In the first year of participation, bills incurred for a pre-existing condition are eligible for sharing up to $15,000.

  • In the first two years of participation, bills incurred for a pre-existing condition are eligible for sharing up to $25,000 ($15,000 during the first year plus $10,000 during the second year).

  • In the first three years of participation, bills incurred for a pre-existing condition are eligible for sharing up to $50,000 ($15,000 during the first year plus $10,000 during the second year plus $25,000 during the third year).

  • After the third year of participation, the condition will no longer be considered pre-existing.

 

Prayer Page: Bills exceeding the three-year schedule listed above may be eligible to appear on the ministry’s Prayer Page printed in the monthly CHM newsletter. All CHM members are invited and encouraged to give to Prayer Page needs (above regular monthly gifts) as they feel led. Members’ names, addresses, medical need explanation and gift updates are included on the page. 

Maternity: If a member joins CHM while she is pregnant, bills for that pregnancy cannot be shared through the regular CHM sharing program or through the Prayer Page. Members must have a due date for delivery at least 300 days after joining CHM for bills to be eligible for sharing. 

Medical Incident

An incident includes medical treatment or testing that lasts until one of the following events occurs:

1) a certain medical condition is cured according to official medical records;

2) treatment is at a routine maintenance level; or

3) you experience 90 days without any kind of treatment for that particular condition.

The medical bills incurred from the first test to the last treatment before the doctor releases you to a regular, routine maintenance regimen are considered a single incident. If 90 days pass and you receive no further treatment, any future bills you incur will be considered a separate incident. Personal responsibility amounts for the Silver and Bronze participation levels are per incident (Gold personal responsibility is per unit, per year).

Example: You go to the doctor due to pain in your side. He examines you and gives you some instructions before sending you home. The next week you return because the pain has continued. The doctor orders a blood test and an ultrasound. After reviewing the results, he diagnoses you with appendicitis and sends you to the hospital. He performs an appendectomy.

 

The hospital releases you with instructions to visit the doctor’s office in one week for follow-up. At that visit the doctor tells you come back again the following week, at which time he pronounces you cured.

 

All the medical bills you incurred for each of these situations fall under the category of a single incident.

Your total cost will be your personal responsibility (Gold: $500   Silver $1,000   Bronze $5,000).

If you obtained self-pay discount, this might be deducted from your personal responsibility. So if your total bills added up to be

$8,500 and you obtained a total discount of $4,000 you would get fully reimbursed for the Gold and Silver plan, if you have the Bronze

plan you would still pay $1,000.00.

What's not covered by CHM?

Like most alternative and commercial insurances, the following is not covered by Christian Healthcare:

* Any bills before you join are not covered

* Dental expenses, unless related to a medical event/incident

* Regular doctor/specialist visits, unless related to a medical event/incident. What to do when you need to see the doctor

* Medical transportation (ambulance ground or air), unless in a life threatening emergency

* Medicine, unless related to a medical event/incident. What to do when you need medicines

* Just like most regular commercial insurances, the following items are also not covered: 

Fertility, Gestation, Surrogate or Sterilization procedures/treatments, regular dental, vision, audiological expenses, cosmetic surgery,

weight reduction, chiropractic and alternative treatments/medicines.

If you have pre-existing conditions, you are covered, click here for more information

What is a Medical Event?

I recommend you read the CHM Guidelines for more information or you can always contact me to ask any questions.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ReviewHealthCare.org     Reviewing Commercial Insurance to Alternative options - Christian Healthcare Ministries VS Medi-Share

Disclaimer: please note: I am the maker of this website and promote CHM due to the results of my research. I do not work for CHM and I don't get paid by CHM. For complete details on how CHM works, please review the CHM Guidelines on this  page or on the official website.

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