Frequently asked questions

Coronavirus
What do I need to know about the 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.

Want the latest information about the coronavirus and how it affects CHM medical bill sharing? Check out our coronavirus page here.

How does the coronavirus affect CHM's operations?

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.

Your medical bills (for coronavirus or other eligible medical incidents) can - and should be – sent to CHM. We encourage you to do so using CHM's Member Portal. The CHM staff will process your medical bills as quickly as we are able.

For complete information, please see CHM's coronavirus page which provides periodic updates and informational resources and the ministry's what's new page that details how we're serving members during this time.



Overview
What is Christian Healthcare Ministries?

Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is a nonprofit, voluntary cost-sharing ministry through which participating Christians have helped to pay each other's medical bills since 1981. CHM is based on Galatians 6:2 and Acts 2 and 4. CHM members have shared over $5 billion in medical bills. The ministry is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

How does CHM work?

CHM is hundreds of thousands of Christians across the United States sharing each other’s medical bills. Members send monthly financial gifts to CHM’s offices and funds are placed in an audited Member Sharing Account. The monthly membership gifts are the funds used to meet members’ medical bills. Please see How it works or the How it works video for information.

What are the advantages of becoming a CHM member?
  • Compassionate and faithful
  • Generous maternity program
  • Choose your own healthcare providers
  • No application fee or annual fee
  • No one is dropped or denied membership due to medical conditions
  • Monthly financial gifts are not increased based on age, weight, medical conditions, etc.
  • Medical bill discounts
  • Longevity, integrity and accountability
  • One free month for each new individual or family you bring to CHM
  • Knowing that each financial gift goes to help a fellow Christian as fellow Christians are standing by to help you! (Luke 6:38)

 

Is Christian Healthcare Ministries included in the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare?

CHM is a federally certified exemption to the individual mandate under the U.S. Affordable Care Act. As such, CHM is an eligible option for individuals and families under the national healthcare law.

To learn more, visit our Affordable Care Act page.

 

Participation & cost
How much does it cost to participate in CHM? Does CHM have different programs from which I can choose?

Christian Healthcare Ministries offers three programs: Gold ($172 per unit, per month), Silver ($118 per unit, per month) and Bronze ($78 per unit, per month). The Brother’s Keeper program for catastrophic medical bills is an optional (but highly recommended) program with a nominal additional cost.

How frequently are monthly gift amounts raised?

While it’s impossible to predict the future health, well-being and medical costs of our members, it is our goal to keep gift amounts as low as possible. Our record shows that we are meeting this goal in spite of rising medical costs.

CHM experienced its first increase in monthly financial gifts in 12 years on April 1, 2020. We are not aware of other healthcare support organizations, of any kind, that in the face of rising medical prices have been able for more than a decade to keep members’ costs stable.

The ministry has carefully analyzed and considered ministry members’ needs now and years from now. We’re confident these new financial gift amounts will benefit all members in the near-term and as time passes.

Are my financial gifts tax deductible?

Your normal monthly gift amount required for membership is not tax deductible; however, all extra giving over and above your minimum monthly gift to Christian Healthcare Ministries (including Prayer Page giving) qualifies as a charitable contribution for tax purposes. Christian Healthcare Ministries, Inc. is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Where do I send my monthly gift?

Monthly gifts (and any extra giving) should be sent to Christian Healthcare Ministries in the following ways:

  • Submitted via the Member Portal
  • By mail to: 
    Christian Healthcare Ministries
    Attn: Gift Processing
    127 Hazelwood Ave.
    Barberton, OH 44203

Financial gifts are placed into a Member Sharing Account, which undergoes an annual, independent audit. Automatic, recurring giving through credit card or bank withdrawal can be set up by calling 800-791-6225.

Maryland residents only: Maryland giving is member-to-member. Learn more about Maryland membership here.

 

Submitting medical bills
What does it mean when you say "share medical bills" or "meet needs"?

As a health cost sharing ministry, Christian Healthcare Ministries members voluntarily contribute to (or "share") one another's medical bills. CHM members reimburse each other for qualifying medical bills through monthly, pre-set financial gifts. CHM members have shared over $5 billion of each other's medical costs!

What kinds of bills are eligible for sharing?

The eligibility of any bill is ultimately determined by the Christian Healthcare Ministries Guidelines and the members' participation level at the time that the signs or symptoms began.

Members in each program (Gold, Silver, Bronze) may submit bills for inpatient or outpatient hospital visits or surgery, provided all other criteria are met. Gold level members also may submit bills for medical tests, maternity, incident-related office visits and incident-related prescriptions if all other criteria are met.

Are maternity bills eligible for sharing?

Christian Healthcare Ministries offers a maternity program at no extra cost to Gold members. CHM members share qualifying bills up to $125,000 (or unlimited sharing support when also a member of Brother's Keeper) per pregnancy for pre-natal care, delivery, home births, midwives, postnatal care and birth complications. The Silver and Bronze levels exclude maternity costs.

What is a pre-existing condition? Are bills from my pre-existing condition eligible for sharing?

CHM has two programs to share pre-existing conditions.

The CHM Guidelines define a pre-existing condition as any medical condition for which you experience signs, symptoms, testing or treatment before joining Christian Healthcare Ministries. (Routine or maintenance medications are considered treatment.)

For example, if you have a stent that was inserted for a heart condition, the stent is considered treatment and your heart condition is pre-existing.

A condition is no longer considered pre-existing if you have experienced one year without signs, symptoms, or treatment (including no maintenance medication) for that condition and it is documented by your official medical records. In contrast, cancer is no longer pre-existing if, after your doctor has pronounced you cancer-free or cured, you have gone five years without any signs, symptoms, testing or treatment.

Learn more about CHM's two programs for pre-existing conditions.

What is the maximum amount that CHM will share for a need?

Christian Healthcare Ministries shares a maximum lifetime limit of $125,000 for each illness that qualifies according to CHM Guidelines. For information about health cost support of up to $1 million or more, see the Brother's Keeper page.

How long does it take CHM to share my medical costs?

In general, eligible medical needs are shared by CHM members in the order they are received at the Christian Healthcare Ministries office. CHM's recent average sharing time is 75-90 days from the date medical bills and all necessary forms are received at our offices.

Monthly financial gifts to CHM are not increased because you become sick or injured. You are not priced out of membership, neither are you removed from participation because you suffer an expensive illness. We will do everything we can to meet your medical costs as quickly as possible.

How do I submit a medical need to CHM?

When you have an eligible medical need, submit the following items to CHM:

1. The CHM sharing request packet

2. Copies of your itemized medical bills –OR– your Medicare Summary Notice (Medicare members) –OR– prepayment agreements from your OB/hospital (expectant mothers).

You have three options to send medical bills to CHM (emailing bills is discouraged because it isn’t a secure method of transmission):

1. Online: Log into your Member Portal account and click “Submit Medical Need Online”

2. Mail: Send your bills and sharing request packet to: Christian Healthcare Ministries / Attn: Member Bill Processing / 127 Hazelwood Ave., Barberton, OH 44203

3. Fax: Fax your bills and forms to us at 330-848-4322.

Please watch our video on how to submit medical bills. Be sure to keep copies of anything you mail for your personal records.

When I have a medical need, how do I know the amount for which I'm responsible?

Faith requires mutual sharing of needs. According to Galatians 6:2-5, every believer should “carry his own load” in addition to bearing the burdens of others. Christian Healthcare Ministries practices this principle through the concept of personal responsibility. Personal Responsibility for Silver and Bronze members is $2,500 and $5,000 per medical incident, respectively. (Bill discounts, health insurance, Medicare, or other assistance can apply toward your Personal Responsibility amount and reduce out-of-pocket costs.) Gold members: CHM shares 100 percent of bills for any medical incident exceeding $500 as long as all other Guidelines are met. (Total bills incurred per incident must exceed $500 in order to be eligible for sharing.)

Can I choose my own healthcare provider?

You may receive treatment from any healthcare provider if the treatment is within CHM Guidelines. A searchable list of providers recommended by members is available by clicking here. We also recommend that you visit www.healthcarebluebook.com or use other cost comparison tools for helpful information on fair pricing for medical services. For help negotiating medical bills, please contact CHM staff at 800-791-6225.

Becoming a member
Do I qualify? How can I join?

The qualifications for joining are simple: Participating adults must be Christians who attend worship regularly as health permits (Hebrews 10:25), actively follow the teachings of the New Testament in its entirety and embrace the CHM Statements of Beliefs.

CHM members follow biblical principles with respect to the use of alcohol and abstain from practices inconsistent with a biblical lifestyle, including (but not limited to) illegal drugs, tobacco, nicotine, any smoking device (including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, herbal cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape pens, etc.), and sexual immorality (as defined in the Scriptures and expressed in CHM’s Statements of Beliefs).

Please see How it works for information.

Will my application be turned down for health reasons?

No. No one is excluded from participating in sharing. However, Christian Healthcare Ministries cannot share bills for treatment of ineligible medical conditions (see the CHM Guidelines). For detailed information regarding pre-existing conditions, visit our pre-existing conditions section or see the CHM Guidelines.

I have Medicare. Can I still be a member?

Yes. Many members use CHM as a complement to Medicare. If you’re Medicare age, you must have parts A and B.

Medicare age CHM members participate in one of the ministry’s cost-sharing programs (Gold, Silver, or Bronze). Whichever program you choose, CHM is always secondary to other payment sources, which means financial provision through Medicare must be exhausted before CHM members can share your medical bills.

For more information, visit our Medicare page.

I don't live in the United States. Can I still be a member?

Yes. But please note that CHM members must have access to a U.S. mailing address or reliable Internet service capable of receiving emails with attached files. All bills submitted must be translated into English and converted to U.S. dollars.

What is a unit?

A unit is defined as one qualifying individual. Monthly gifts are given based on the number of units, whether individual or family. Any family with three or more qualifying immediate family members would be considered three units total. (For example, a father, mother and their four children would be considered three units.) For more information, click here.

 

Telling others about CHM
What is Bring-a-Friend?

Bring-a-Friend is a referral program in which members encourage Christian friends, neighbors and extended family to join CHM and experience the joy of knowing that their monthly giving will also help other Christians with their medical bills.

You will receive a free month for every new membership you bring into CHM. The free month is applied after your friend submits his or her third monthly financial gift. Those who bring a friend each month can be part of Christian Healthcare Ministries for free! Please see the Bring-a-Friend page for more information.

As a professional, how can I promote CHM to my clients?

Since CHM is a nonprofit ministry and is not insurance, we’re not able to offer remuneration to individuals who promote CHM in their profession. Please note that CHM cannot be “sold” by insurance agents or bundled with any insurance product of any kind. However, any individual who joins CHM has the opportunity to earn free months of membership via the Bring-a-Friend referral program when others join CHM as a result of their efforts. Visit our Get more info page to request that free CHM promotional materials be sent to your home or place of business.

How do I submit my CHM story for consideration in Heartfelt Magazine?

Thank you for your interest in sharing your CHM experience with other members! We’d love to consider your testimony for a future magazine article. Simply email editor@chministries.org with your name, a description of why you joined CHM, the events leading up to your diagnosis, the treatment process, how you are doing now, what the medical bill sharing process was like and what God taught you during your medical journey. Additionally, please include a large or high resolution image of you or you with your family. Testimony and article submissions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, are subject to editing by CHM, and will be sent to the person who submitted the request for his or her review prior to printing. Please note that CHM does not feature book reviews, product or service advertisements or stories that do not focus on the CHM member experience.

 

Miscellaneous questions
How does CHM help support its members spiritually?

We at Christian Healthcare Ministries believe that supporting each other spiritually is as important as the financial support members receive. Through the prayer cards accompanying the monthly Member Gift Form billing statement, the Prayer Page and the Brother’s Keeper program, members have the opportunity to reach out to each other through prayer, cards and notes of encouragement. CHM staff also pray daily for members, especially those who have submitted prayer requests by mail, email, or telephone.

Many staff members are prayer warriors available to pray with you over the phone at your request.

Do you have a prescription program? How does it work?

Christian Healthcare Ministries partners with companies that offer discounts on prescriptions. A free prescription card is included in the new member welcome packet. There is no discount guarantee or set discount amount. For more information, see our prescriptions page.

Why do you have legal notices?

The legal notices are the result of discussions with several state regulators and are part of an effort to make sure that members understand that Christian Healthcare Ministries is not an insurance company and that it does not guarantee payment of medical costs. Our role is to enable Christians to help fellow Christians through voluntary financial gifts. Since 1981, CHM members have faithfully provided for one another in accordance with and as demonstrated in Scripture. Members have shared nearly $5 billion to meet each other's medical costs.

What kinds of controls are in place to make sure that CHM operates with integrity and accountability?

Please visit the about us page and read the integrity and accountability section for more information.

Do you have a privacy policy?

Please visit our policies page for more information.

What is the Prayer Page?

The Prayer Page, printed in the monthly Heartfelt Magazine, is another way CHM members carry each other’s burdens. It communicates need amounts from pre-existing conditions, which are not eligible for sharing through the regular CHM program. The Prayer Page does not assist with pre-existing bills; that is, bills incurred prior to joining CHM. Members are encouraged to give to Prayer Page needs (over and above their monthly financial gifts) as they feel led. This portion of our ministry is an amazing testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit to change people’s hearts. In 2019, CHM members donated over $6 million to one another’s medical bills. To make a donation to Prayer Page needs, please call 1-800-791-6225, ext. 5993.

What is the Brother's Keeper program?

Brother’s Keeper is your safeguard against catastrophic illness or injury. Brother’s Keeper is a low-cost, Bible-inspired program enabling CHM members to meet medical bills that exceed the $125,000 limit per illness specified in the CHM Guidelines.

Gold level members: Signing up for Brother’s Keeper provides unlimited cost support per illness (diagnosis).

Silver and Bronze members: Signing up for Brother’s Keeper provides an additional $100,000 of cost support. With each annual Brother’s Keeper renewal, participants receive an additional $100,000 of assistance, up to $1 million per illness.

Learn more about Brother's Keeper here.

 

Still have questions?

Ask a question online or contact us toll-free at 1-800-791-6225. Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm (Eastern time)

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