What you need to know about CHM and COVID-19

Christian Healthcare Ministries members have nothing to worry about when it comes to incurring COVID-related medical expenses. CHM members have exercised their faith by sharing one another's costs - including those incurred during the global pandemic. In 2020, 696 CHM members who were diagnosed with COVID-19 received cost support, totaling $2,845,830 after discounts. These members - like all CHM members going through a medical event - received spiritual support each step of the way. Learn more about how CHM staff minister to members on a daily basis.

Losing six weeks of work during COVID-19 was hard, but as a CHM member, I had confidence knowing CHM would share 100 percent of my eligible hospital bills.
Grateful for CHM, COVID-19 patient says “God’s love can move mountains” Grateful for CHM, COVID-19 patient says “God’s love can move mountains” Keith Weitermann, Aurora, Illinois
100 percent of our eligible medical bills were shared—and that was in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic when many CHM employees were working from home!
COVID survivor finds ‘peace because of CHM’ COVID survivor finds ‘peace because of CHM’ John Dondero, Ponte Vedra, Florida
CHM has always been very easy, fair and wonderful—and this incident was no different. [...] CHM shared my COVID-19 medical bills very quickly. I highly recommend CHM!
Q & A with COVID-19 survivor Q & A with COVID-19 survivor Steven Thompson, Bonita Springs, Florida
As a CHM member, I knew I was lifted in prayer, too. CHM staff are always praying for members and trusting God to know the details.
Member says “God—not COVID-19—is in charge” thanks CHM for standing by her Member says “God—not COVID-19—is in charge” thanks CHM for standing by her Roberta Donnell, Belton, Missouri
COVID-19 exposed profound weaknesses but has also allowed the beauty in those around us to be on full display. […]we would not have made it without our small, fierce community.
Mom of five is a coronavirus survivor, says “we found beauty in hardship” Mom of five is a coronavirus survivor, says “we found beauty in hardship” Kari Baragrey, Johannesburg, Michigan
I believe there was a reason I had COVID, and I know I’ll recover. I lean into God now and throughout the whole process—He kept me going.
During 30 days in isolation, COVID survivor finds God’s blessings During 30 days in isolation, COVID survivor finds God’s blessings Valerie Magalhaes, Alamo, California
It’s a blessing to be a part of this community, and to be supported through our medical difficulties even as we support others through their medical difficulties!
CHM supports missionary through COVID-19 illness CHM supports missionary through COVID-19 illness Scott Wallace, Puyallup, Wash.

Medical bill sharing for coronavirus

Testing and treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19) is shared under CHM’s Guidelines, just as are costs for any testing or treatment for a confirmed illness, with Personal Responsibility amounts that depend upon the member’s participation level. As with other medical issues, Personal Responsibility amounts can be reduced based on discounts arranged with providers.

You've got questions; we've got answers!
Will my medical bills, whether coronavirus-related or otherwise, be shared? Can CHM financially support the effects of this pandemic? Will I be taken care of? These are just a few of the questions that might be on your mind. CHM's Chief Financial Officer, Charity Beall, shares with you the answers to these questions and provides an update on CHM's medical bill sharing time.

Five things you should know about CHM and COVID-19

The Church is the hands and feet of Jesus. We're praying for you... We continue to serve you. CHM continues to share eligible medical bills... How to get COVID-19 updates

As a CHM member, you’re part of a body of believers who serve as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Even when there’s no crisis at hand, every day we see members caring for each other. During extraordinary times, we've seen CHM members make extraordinary gestures of Christian love and goodwill. It’s our honor to glorify God by continued service to you, just as we have done for nearly 40 years.

…and we haven’t stopped since all of this began. We know that God has a plan and purpose for everything, but we also know that many of you are suffering physically and financially right now. Our hope is that CHM can be a beacon of hope for you in the midst of challenging times.

Please know that we’re still working diligently behind the scenes to serve you, even though some processes and procedures look a bit different. For example, some of our employees are working from home. Others are working in-office hours following strict health protocols that will keep our staff safe, so they can continue to share your medical bills and perform other essential ministry functions.

…and we can financially support any bills submitted for COVID-19—along with bills for other health conditions. The ministry employs strong financial principles, including operating within a debt-free mindset, analyzing and adjusting monthly costs to make sure medical bills are shared despite rising healthcare costs, and working with members and healthcare providers to secure the best prices for medical procedures. In addition, CHM's recent sharing time average takes 75-90 days once the ministry receives all necessary forms and itemized medical bills.

There are a number of ways:

  • Our coronavirus page contains the latest updates, including almost-daily “situation report” videos from CHM Medical Director Dr. Michael Jacobson.
  • Join our social media community @iheartchm for updates and encouragement.
  • Sign up for email updates about COVID-19 and other ministry news.

What you need to know about COVID-19

Preparations What is it? Symptoms Risk levels Recommendations
Preparing for coronavirus

By Dr. Michael Jacobson, CHM Medical Director

Last January Americans watched with growing concern as a virus that began in China spread to over 50 locations across the globe. On January 31, 2020, concern turned to alarm when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) a U.S. public health emergency.

By the end of March 10, 2020, worldwide the death toll exceeded 2,900 and over 85,000 cases were confirmed. Through the U.S. public health surveillance system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified multiple confirmed cases in the U.S., the majority of which were travel related.

Of the 49 Americans who tested positive while traveling abroad, three traveled to Wuhan City in Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus, and 46 were on the cruise ship Diamond Princess. Japan health authorities prevented passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess from disembarking for two weeks. While quarantined onboard near Yokohama, the positive cases among ship occupants climbed from only ten to over 700. Eventually, over 300 American passengers, including 14 newly confirmed cases, were returned home on February 16 on a flight chartered by the U.S. State Department.

Global efforts were focused on limiting the spread and lessening the impact of the virus. In the U.S., the CDC purposed to prepare local communities to respond to the virus and minimize the potential of a COVID-19 pandemic.

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses typically found in a variety of animal species. The virus causing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) most likely originated in bats and spread to intermediate animals such as cattle, cats, and camels. Coronaviruses have the ability to jump from animals to infect people. This particular virus demonstrates capability of spreading person-to-person; however, the CDC confirmed at least two cases in California in which they have no idea how the individuals contracted the disease, the individuals having no known travel or contact with another infected person.

Symptoms and risk

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and include fever, cough and shortness of breath, indicating a lower respiratory infection as opposed to an upper respiratory infection or common cold. The incubation period (time between exposure to infection and the appearance of first symptoms) ranges from two to 14 days. Note that it’s possible to transmit the virus to someone else even when the infected person has no symptoms.

Determining your risk level

Individuals at high risk include those who travelled to the Hubei Province, China. Also, those who have not followed recommended precautions while living in the same household or being within close contact of an infected person are at higher risk. An example of unsafe contact is being coughed upon within six feet.

The risk of infection drops to “medium” If proper precautions are followed. This holds true even if in close contact with an infected person. Air travel with an infected person poses only medium risk as long as there is six feet, or two seats, in any direction between you and the infected person. Sitting in a waiting room or classroom with an infected person does not confer higher risk.

If someone is exposed to COVID-19, but has no symptoms presenting (asymptomatic), he or she should adhere to specific protocol recommended by the CDC, according to risk level.

Recommended precautions
HIGH RISK individuals should:
  • submit to quarantine as directed by local public health authorities
  • receive daily monitoring from public health officials
  • avoid travel, unless approved by public health authorities
MEDIUM RISK individuals should:
  • remain at home
  • avoid congregating with others or going out in public
  • practice social distancing (i.e. maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others)
LOW RISK individuals should:
  • monitor themselves for 14 days to ensure no symptoms develop.

If symptoms of COVID-19 should develop in a person who is medium-to-high risk, he or she should immediately isolate himself or herself from others, wear a face mask, alert healthcare authorities of their concern and arrange for testing and transport in a manner that will not expose others. Low risk individuals who develop symptoms should similarly avoid public transportation and contact with others and reach out to healthcare authorities for advice regarding whether testing is warranted.

As of this writing, COVID-19 has taken the lives of several thousand people, the majority of whom were in the Hubei province of China. Based upon reports from China and the World Health Organization (WHO), out of more than 100,000 confirmed cases, over 96 percent of infected persons will survive. Risk of death increases to a near ten percent when other diseases, particularly diabetes and heart or lung disease, are present. Age can be a contributing risk factor; risk of death increases to 22 percent in the very elderly, while no children under the age of ten have died from the virus. Although COVID-19 does not appear to be as deadly as the 2002 SARS virus, which had a 9.6 percent mortality rate, in less than two months, the number of those infected with COVID-19 exceeded that of SARS by 10-fold.

CDC recommended measures for preventing infection
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or going to the bathroom. Use hand sanitizers when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Wear a facemask if you show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone at home or in a health care facility. CDC does not recommend facemasks as protection from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19, for those who are well.

While this information is presented specifically in reference to COVID-19, it is useful instruction for the prevention and containment of any infectious agents.

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