Medical bill discounts: how they help you and all CHM members

From the July 2018 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.

At the CHM offices it’s not unusual to learn of members receiving medical bill discounts of 40, 50, or 75 percent or more, equaling tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings.

In 2017, all medical bills CHM shared were discounted an overall 43 percent by healthcare providers, up from 41 percent in 2016.

Discounts and financial assistance represented over $233 million last year.

And every dollar affects you.

Even if you’ve never submitted medical bills to CHM, the discounts and financial assistance members obtain help keep monthly membership costs low.

In fact, CHM monthly financial gifts haven’t been increased in more than 10 years, in large part because ministry members and staff work with healthcare providers to get the best possible price on their medical care. (Prior to 2008, gift amounts hadn’t been raised since Jan. 1, 2000. At this time no future increases are planned.)

Members sometimes voice concerns that asking for a discount is somehow shortchanging or taking advantage of their healthcare providers.

“Asking for a discount is requesting the same courtesy that insured patients receive due to rates pre-negotiated between their providers and their insurance companies,” said CHM president and CEO Rev. Dr. Howard Russell. “It’s not a special favor; members are only asking that they not be penalized by their providers because they’re self-pay.”

We suggest using the following discussion points when speaking to your providers about discounts:

“I’m a self-pay patient, responsible for my bills. I’m a member of a health cost sharing ministry; it isn’t an insurance company.

“As the person responsible for my bills I’m not asking for special favors; rather, I’m asking for similar consideration as that given to patients with insurance, except in my case you won’t need to take any time for authorizations, approvals, or filing paperwork.

“As I am a health cost sharing ministry member, you need not worry that as a self-pay patient you’ll be dealing with bad debt or charity care. Your bill will be paid. I ask only that you treat me fairly.”

Conversely, we sometimes hear from members expressing regret that they weren’t able to obtain a larger discount. In such cases, please be assured that a discount of any amount does help both you and fellow members. In addition, our Member Advocate team is available at 1-800-791-6225 to assist you if you have difficulty obtaining a substantial discount.

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