Tell people to look for the Bubble People
By Rev. Dr. Howard S. Russell, CHM President & CEO
I’ve said it before—and recently—but certain events render it important to say it again. This is particularly true for members who are using, or will use, our Bring-a-Friend program to earn free months of membership.
After my January 2019 column about the importance of the Bubble People as an identifier and the frustrations we’re experiencing with people confused about which organization is what, we received an email on the subject from a CHM member. He was commenting on other organizations that incorporate words into their promotional efforts that mirror, or are very similar to, CHM terminology.
The member wrote, “I just read in the monthly magazine where Rev. Dr. Russell was explaining how so many other organizations try to imitate and use CHM’s named programs and other catch-words. I have been complaining to my wife about this for a number of years. And also on Google when you want to locate CHM, so many other things come up because, like he said, they pay for this top billing.
“I was enrolling a friend with CHM, gave him all the information and because [another entity] used so many slogans and similar words as CHM, he actually enrolled [in the other organization] by accident!”
And there’s the problem. You tell a friend or family member about CHM. They go home and search online. But these prospective members aren’t well-versed in the language and descriptions of health cost sharing. They see the similar words to what you describe, see names or titles ever-so-close to CHM’s, assume another organization is this ministry, and they sign up for the wrong one.
It’s possible for people to join something that has little or no resemblence to a true health cost sharing ministry. The consequences of doing so are significant once it becomes clear—when a medical need arises—that the focus is far more on health costs than it is on ministry. Unfortunately, we routinely see such results of what’s called “consumer confusion.”
Of course, we think CHM is the best choice for health cost sharing. It’s a biblically-based ministry with the longest track record of sharing members’ medical bills. But this isn’t just about getting more people to join CHM.
The most important thing is to protect people from confusion or misinformation that can cause them harm.
Here’s an example: We get a sizable number of new members each month who first made the mistake of joining an organization they didn’t intend to join and, after several months—or after submitting medical bills for reimbursement—they realized that the organization they chose isn’t the one they wanted to join.
At the very least, this creates an administrative headache for the members who decide to drop their other membership and join CHM. At worst, they find the support on which they counted isn’t there.
That’s why we encourage you, prospective members, and anyone who reads this, to look for the Bubble People whenever you tell someone else about CHM.
If the Bubble People are on the website, it’s from CHM.
It’s possible for others to use words or titles that appear very much like CHM’s without running afoul of copyright laws (though we do, when necessary, act to stop those who get too close, or who outright lift our name or program names).
The Bubble People, however, are trademarked. No one else can legally use them.
Though some say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, there is nothing flattering about knowing people are being misled or given wrong information. CHM is working with experts to do all we can to correct consumer confusion. But we need your help, too.
Please tell your friends and family to look for the Bubble People, who will guide them where they want to go.