CHM's advantages from a provider's perspective
By Dr. Mandy Mataya-Pietig, Ankeny, Iowa
From the May 2019 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.
I eagerly recommend CHM to others—particularly young couples—for several reasons: As we planned for the birth of our third son, Maxton, the ministry staff showed extreme kindness and felt like an extension of our family. Too, the ministry saved us thousands of dollars.
Also, as a self-employed eye doctor (afvcweb.com), my experience with the bill sharing process has proven that CHM is a win-win for both the patient and healthcare providers. Patients benefit because they become more aware of charges they incur and ultimately pay less for healthcare costs. Doctors and hospitals, on the other hand, can provide care feeling confident they’ll receive payment for their services.
With 12 years of medical practice under my belt I have seen numerous billing situations and the evidence is clear: It’s more costly to bill services to a third party than to offer a self-pay discount. It’s for this reason that our eye care facility is delighted to reduce the charges if it means skipping the middle man and receiving payment the same day.
The same was true for my OBGYN. When we learned I was pregnant with Maxton, I jumped for joy and scheduled an appointment right away. I explained to the billing coordinator that I was looking to secure a self-pay patient discount if available. They agreed that I could receive a discount if I would make a down payment on the first day of my care and pay the balance about three months later.
I called the hospital next. When I explained that my husband, Todd, and I were self-pay patients and part of CHM, I let them know about the 120-day sharing time frame and that we wanted to plan accordingly. They suggested we set up a payment plan until we received reimbursement from CHM.
I’m so thankful that I didn’t have any complications during my third pregnancy, but because I was over age 35 my OBGYN monitored me more closely. Additionally, I experienced difficulties during the birth of our oldest son, Alex, so I knew Maxton would have to be delivered by C-section.
In all, my expenses totaled $29,928 and I received $16,208 in discounts. CHM shared the remaining amount of more than $13,000. The cost of what we paid out of pocket—which was $0—was significantly less than the charges for the births of our two oldest sons.
As a healthcare provider—and now a seasoned member—I offer CHM newbies the following advice: Build a relationship with your doctors’ billing offices, and don’t be surprised if different providers have varying protocols. Simply tell them you’re a self-pay patient who’s also part of a health cost sharing program. Assure them that they can continue treatment with you like any other patient and that they can expect to receive payment from you directly.
Our family has had a baby with a C-section, a broken leg, two facial lacerations and has treated a set of ear tubes since joining CHM, so I speak from experience when I say that CHM works and I’m confident it will be a blessing to your family just as it is to ours.