To join or not to join Brother’s Keeper: that is the question
From the August 2018 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.
You’re in the emergency room waiting area. A nurse wheels your loved one through the doors while you nervously pace, unsure of what to do or what will happen next. Something is wrong. Tears flood your eyes and fear grips your heart.
Days later the doctor shares the reality of your family’s future through the coming months: office visits; specialists; various tests; therapy; and medication—as well as reduced income from the unexpected time away from work. Your loved one glances your way, eyes filled with concern. They, too, are afraid to voice the tough question: How bad is it? How much will this cost?
It’s not uncommon for CHM members—even those who lead a very healthy lifestyle—to be blindsided by a serious medical diagnosis. These members rest in the knowledge that each CHM program (Gold, Silver and Bronze) provides health cost support of up to $125,000 per diagnosis. (Editor’s note: Expenses must be eligible according to the CHM Guidelines.)
However, rising healthcare costs spotlight the importance of joining Brother’s Keeper, CHM’s program that safeguards against catastrophic medical bills. “In cases of cancer, transplants, long-term illness and even some injuries, medical costs can quickly surpass $125,000,” said Rev. Dr. Howard Russell, CHM president and CEO. “The future of your health and the costs associated with disease can’t always be predicted. It’s for this very reason we urge members—we plead with them—to consider joining Brother’s Keeper.”
Participating in Brother’s Keeper increases CHM’s sharing limit. Gold members who join Brother’s Keeper receive unlimited cost support per diagnosis. Silver and Bronze members receive an additional $100,000 of cost support. With each annual renewal, Silver and Bronze members receive up to another $100,000 of assistance, accruing up to $1 million per diagnosis.
“Many families tell our staff about their peace of mind because their Brother’s Keeper participation means other program members are supporting them; they’re helping carry the burden of their catastrophic medical costs,” said Russell.
The Standring family, featured elsewhere in this blog, shared their experience of watching their young daughter, Mazy, undergo cancer treatment for more than two years. She incurred more than $850,000 in medical expenses. “As Brother’s Keeper members, the Standring family was able to focus on taking care of Mazy instead of worrying about her healthcare costs,” Russell said.
In the last 12 months Brother’s Keeper members have shared more than $15 million. Costs to join include a $40 annual administrative fee per membership and an average quarterly financial gift of $25 per membership unit.
Since its inception, Brother’s Keeper members have shared nearly $45 million in each other’s medical costs.
“Brother’s Keeper brings tremendous value to CHM membership,” said Russell. “Last year a family incurred multiple millions in medical bills when doctors tried to save their son’s life after an explosion inside the family’s barn.
“In addition to praying with them, our staff encouraged the family by reminding them that their Gold and Brother’s Keeper membership provided unlimited cost support. Thankfully, their son, now 12, is doing well and the family qualified for significant hospital financial assistance.”
For members who are on the fence about joining Brother’s Keeper, it’s important to know that you must be enrolled in the program prior to the onset of a medical incident. (Editor’s note: See CHM Guidelines X and Y.)
More information about CHM’s Brother’s Keeper program can be found here or by calling the Member Assistance department at 800-791-6225, ext. 5993.