Unexpected birth brings joy, health complications to member family
By member Dinisha Fether, Roanoke, Va.
My husband, Marcus, changed jobs several years ago, but we went from a fantastic healthcare plan to being offered a not-so-fantastic one. We experienced God’s timely providence as we looked for affordable options. I’m a teacher at a Christian school and one day I received an email from a co-worker telling everyone about CHM. It seemed like a great fit; we joined the Bronze program.
A key factor in choosing Bronze—rather than the Gold program CHM recommends for women who may have children—was that we didn’t think I was able to become pregnant. Early in our marriage we’d tried many fertility treatments and procedures, but were unable to conceive.
We assumed that having biological children was not God’s plan for our family. We accepted that and pursued adoption. In 2016 we added our oldest daughter, Lilli, to our family.
Surprisingly, I found out I was pregnant a few months after joining CHM. (Editor’s note: CHM Guidelines state that a mother must join the ministry at least 300 days before the doctor’s estimated due date in order for pregnancy bills to be eligible for sharing. This generally means members must wait at least 30 days after joining before becoming pregnant.)
After the initial shock, I had a sinking feeling that, because of my Bronze membership, CHM wouldn’t share my pregnancy costs. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that even though my prenatal costs couldn’t be shared, CHM would help with the hospital labor and delivery expenses.
I started experiencing complications with my pregnancy, including gestational diabetes. I also had to undergo extra ultrasounds and non-stress tests to make sure the baby was healthy. A month before my due date I developed preeclampsia and was in the hospital twice. My doctor decided to perform a C-section.
Our second daughter, Marielle, was born Aug. 27, 2018. Her oxygen and blood sugar were low, so she spent five days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). After bringing her home we were both fine for a little while, but two weeks later I developed an extensive blood clot in my leg and two clots in my lungs. I landed back in the hospital for four days.
After a couple more weeks and no signs of improvement from taking my blood thinner medication, I started experiencing chest pain and thought I might have another clot in my lungs. Sure enough, emergency room doctors confirmed I had another pulmonary embolism, which led to yet another five days in the hospital.
In all, our medical bills totaled over $97,000!
When I got home I called CHM and asked if my hospital bills and Marielle’s NICU bills were eligible for sharing; the answer was yes. (Editor’s note: Members who call CHM asking about sharing eligibility and detailing their circumstances will be given an opinion, not authorization. CHM staff must have your itemized medical bills and medical bill processing forms to make an accurate determination according to the Guidelines. In some cases, your medical records may also be requested.)
The CHM representative was very helpful and we felt a tremendous weight lifted off our shoulders. We felt a little stress when we received phone calls and notices saying our medical bills would be turned over to collections, but we received a check from CHM just before that happened. Praise the Lord; He has excellent timing! (Editor’s note: CHM recommends that patients set up a payment plan with their healthcare providers to keep your accounts in good standing and to provide assurance that the bills will be paid. CHM reimburses you for the eligible portion of any payments you’ve made.)
We’re so thankful that CHM members shared over $54,000 in charges after $43,000 in discounts. Even as Bronze members, I believe we ended up paying less out-of-pocket than we would have with a different healthcare organization. Without CHM’s help we would’ve been in debt for many years. It’s a great blessing to be part of the body of believers caring for one another.
Today Marielle and I are both doing well. Our family is so grateful for how God worked in our lives and the lessons we learned during our health crises. We recommend CHM’s maternity program to other couples who may have children.