"What makes CHM unique?"

From the February 2019 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.

As a health cost sharing ministry, CHM isn’t insurance. Here are five unique attributes that enrich your experience as a CHM member.

1. CHM members are in a covenant—not contract—with each other.

God is in covenant with His people, and His people are to be in covenant with each other. That’s why we have no legal contracts at CHM—a fact we thoroughly explain on our website and in our promotional materials before members join the ministry.

Being part of CHM is being part of a covenant between our members—people who give assurance that they are Christians living by biblical principles and who voluntarily join together to support each other.

And it works: for nearly 38 years members have faithfully shared each other’s eligible medical costs. The ministry is successful because members honor God by following the New Testament concept of sharing each other’s burdens found in John 13:35, Acts 2 and 4, and Gal. 6:2.

Furthermore, program costs remain the same regardless of your health history: we don’t increase your financial gift or cancel your membership if you experience an illness or injury. (The ministry just celebrated 11 years of no increases in member costs.) CHM is also a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity.

2. CHM is a ministry and looks for ways to help members.

Though we must abide by our Guidelines—shared with all members and prospective members before they join—complex situations sometimes arise. In such cases, each situation is reviewed individually.

3. The ministry is not a profit-seeking enterprise.

There’s nothing at all wrong with businesses making a profit, but that’s not what this ministry does. Our purpose is to glorify God and serve His people; our members are our sole concern. Aside from a very low administrative expense (about one percent), your monthly financial gifts go toward helping other Christians with their medical bills. Likewise, 100 percent of all extra giving is applied to members with medical bills.

4. Healthcare providers bill you directly, so there is transparency in medical prices.

Insurance companies are known as “third-party payers,” which means that doctors and hospitals bill them rather than the patient. Therefore, patients often have no idea how much they’re really paying for healthcare. If you don’t know what something costs, or why, you won’t know the reasons when prices to you increase or if they’re justified.

In contrast, as a CHM member you can shop for competitive prices on elective procedures and treatment. Our members’ adoption of this philosophy is one of the main reasons CHM is celebrating 11 years with no increase in monthly gift amounts, even while healthcare costs have increased significantly. (*Editor’s note: See below this article for an example.)

In an advantage distinct to CHM, when you receive a discount on an eligible bill, your personal responsibility (the amount you’re responsible to pay) is reduced by the discounted amount. (At the Gold level, CHM shares 100 percent of eligible bills for medical incidents exceeding $500; therefore, personal responsibility is eliminated once the $500 threshold is reached. In contrast, Silver and Bronze personal responsibility amounts are $1,000 and $5,000 per incident, respectively. To learn more and see an example, visit our Programs page.)

5. Medical treatment is determined by you and your doctor, not CHM.

Care eligible under the CHM Guidelines doesn’t require pre-authorization for any procedure, nor do we limit your healthcare choices (and how much we’ll assist you) by having a preferred provider network you must follow. As a member, you can go to any doctor or hospital and CHM will share your bills as long as they are eligible under the Guidelines.

*Member’s experience with shopping around

Recently I’ve been very conscientious about seeking the best prices for medical services.
My first “ah-ha!” moment came when I needed a lab test that cost $624. I called around and found another facility that quoted $42. I decided to go there even though it was an hour’s drive.

When I got the bill in the mail, the charge was only $21.

I was flabbergasted and called the higher-priced facility to ask if they’d made a mistake when they’d sent me their quote. I was told it wasn’t: “That’s how much it costs us to process it.”

Information about a recent procedure at an outpatient facility was equally surprising. One provider quoted almost $4,000, a second quoted $1,877. When I arrived at the less expensive facility I was only charged $1,655.78.

I wanted to write and share this info with other CHM members to emphasize how important it is to pay attention, ask questions and remain good stewards of our finances.

-Member Rebekah Wiens, Fayetteville, NC

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