In emergency situations
Immediately seek medical care. Getting well is your first priority. When your condition is stable, you, a friend or a family member responsible for your care can follow the steps under “General information” below.
If you are a Gold member and your condition is not critical but requires immediate care, consider if an urgent care center will meet your needs (emergency rooms are usually more expensive than urgent care centers—and it can take longer for you to be seen).
In non-emergency situations
1. Consider shopping around for healthcare providers in your area. Many healthcare providers reduce their charges for self-pay patients. Though as a CHM member you may go to any hospital or doctor’s office, selective “shopping” helps lower the cost of your medical care because you often can receive the same service at a lower price. Here is a list of healthcare providers that other CHM members have recommended.
2. If it's a general health issue, try using your free access to HealthiestYou™. With HealthiestYou™, you can conveniently talk to a U.S. board-certified doctor 24/7 via phone or video for free. Commonly addressed medical conditions include respiratory infections, cold and flu symptoms, allergies, skin irritations, pink eye, and much more.
3. Follow the steps under “General information” below.
Be sure to also visit our provider interaction page.
1. CHM is not insurance, so inform your healthcare provider(s) that you’re a self-pay patient and present your CHM card. Tell your providers you would like to be billed directly with itemized medical bills.
An itemized bill contains:
1) the patient’s name;
2) the date of service;
3) the place of service;
4) the procedural (CPT) codes (or description of services rendered);
5) an itemized list of charges.
2. Ask for a discount (bill reduction). Build a relationship with your provider(s). Asking for a discount is seeking the same consideration that insured patients receive (due to discounted rates negotiated by their insurers). Many providers will extend a discount to you because it usually means they receive faster payment and experience less hassle and paperwork. Discounts represent roughly 60 percent of all medical bills submitted to CHM, so please don’t be shy about asking.
3. Whenever possible, contact the CHM Member Advocate department before accepting a discount or making a payment on a bill of $1,000 or more. If you have difficulty obtaining a significant discount (at least 40 percent), our staff can help negotiate with your healthcare provider(s) to make sure you get the best possible price for your medical care. Remember that if you pay the bill up-front, negotiations cease. Please don’t make full payment up-front. See #5 below.
4. Apply for any financial assistance available. This practice is valuable because it helps keep monthly financial gifts low. CHM requests, but doesn't require, that members seek out state and federal funds allocated to assist patients whose income falls within a defined economic level and are eligible for assistance.
5. Ask providers to bill you directly and set up a payment plan with your providers. Work with your providers to make whatever monthly payments you can afford until CHM members share your eligible need, at which time their voluntary gifts reimburse your expenditures. Even minimal payments will reassure most providers that the bills will be paid.
6. When you receive your itemized bills, send copies of each bill to Christian Healthcare Ministries, along with the completed sharing request packet. CHM must receive your relevant itemized medical bills and all the necessary forms within six months of the date of service for the sharing "clock" to begin. Send the bills immediately—even if a discount is pending—because bills are shared by CHM in the order they are received by our office. You can submit bills online through the Member Portal.