CHM and Medicare (part 2)

From the November 2018 issue of Heartfelt Magazine. Read part 1 of this article.

Why should I be a CHM member while I’m on Medicare? As healthcare costs continue to rise, it’s wise to make sure you’ll be ready if a medical event occurs. Though Medicare likely will cover the majority of your healthcare costs, it’s not uncommon for seniors to find themselves with large dollar amounts of unpaid medical bills. As a CHM member, you can be confident that CHM will share the remaining amount of your eligible bills.

Why do I have to go on Medicare? Why can’t I join or continue with CHM only? Christian Healthcare Ministries is always secondary to other payment sources, which means financial provision through all other sources must be used before CHM members can share your medical bills. CHM requires members—of any age—to apply for financial assistance in order to help reduce overall costs and keep membership affordable. When financial gift amounts are low, more believers can afford to join CHM.

Will CHM ever create a program specifically for people on Medicare? CHM has evaluated adding a program specifically for members of Medicare age. However, what we’ve found is that using the Gold program as a Medicare supplement is more affordable than other Medicare supplements and works extremely well for Medicare-age members. There is little distinction between the Gold program for Medicare-eligible members and non-Medicare-eligible members. We highly recommend the Gold program as a Medicare supplement.

What CHM program works best with Medicare? CHM doesn’t have a program specific to Medicare-age members. Membership at the Gold level combined with Brother’s Keeper is the best option for members of all ages.

The Gold program offers the highest level of cost support and helps with medical bills incurred from inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery; medical testing; maternity; physical therapy and home health care (up to 45 visits per illness); incident-related doctor’s office visits; and incident-related prescriptions. After bills from your medical incident total $500 or more, CHM shares up to $125,000 per illness for any of the health issues mentioned above.

Adding Brother’s Keeper to your Gold program means that there’s no limit to the dollar amount of bills eligible for sharing through CHM.

Silver and Bronze, though good programs, can only share surgery bills or medical bills incurred in a hospital (the personal responsibility amounts for Silver and Bronze are $1,000 and $5,000 per incident, respectively).

If I have both Medicare and CHM, what happens when I incur medical bills? It’s easier than you might think. Medicare or your Medicare Advantage Plan pays first. (CHM shares eligible medical bills after all other resources are used.) Once Medicare pays its portion, simply send CHM your Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) form and the CHM forms for sharing medical expenses. Our staff does the rest.

Editor’s note: The CHM Guidelines state that members or prospective members of Medicare-eligible age must have Medicare parts A and B. Members of Medicare age who choose not to participate can only receive help with medical bills in the amount that Medicare would not have paid (typically 20 percent). The outstanding balance will be your responsibility.

Read part 3 of this article.

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