Barrie Lewis, Rock Hill, SC

Total eligible bills
$120,117
Provider discounts
$77,250
Total bills shared
$42,867

Being part of the CHM family is one very clear indicator of God’s love for us, and the ministry really is much better than insurance!

My husband, Lawrence, and I joined CHM in March 2014. In late mid to late 2015, Lawrence’s occasional neck pain became painfully chronic for the next six months. His left side was exceptionally weak and often went numb.

Various tests revealed that his condition was degenerative and not the result of a particular incident. He underwent surgery in early 2016, and CHM shared his bills totaling $42,867.

Going through the sharing process was “great for my head,” so to speak. Our culture often leads us to believe that we need medical insurance to receive quality care or that it’s the best way to pay for medical expenses.

I learned that self-pay patients have no reason to apologize when we say we’re self-pay and are members of a health cost sharing ministry. Christians sharing each other’s medical burdens better fosters the desire to understand and carry our own personal responsibility. In fact, I learned many things throughout our medical experience, and I’d like—if I may—to offer some advice for those who incur medical bills.

  • Keep thorough records.* Unintentional errors and oversights by providers are not that unusual. Keeping a record of phone calls and receipts goes a long way.
  • Ask away. Surprisingly, some of the highest discounts are offered from those to whom the most money is owed, simply by asking. For example, our bills were originally $120,000, but I was amazed by how willing each provider was to offer us discounts. I’m confident we weren’t “sponging,” but instead gave providers opportunity to make legitimate adjustments to our expenses.
  • Ask CHM to help you take advantage of significant discounts. When I notified CHM that the hospital was willing to give a large discount if paid by a certain date, they worked with me to make the most of that opportunity.
  • Develop a savings account for out-of-pocket expenses. If possible, set aside funds to help you pay on your medical payment plan until CHM is able to process your medical bills, especially if you anticipate further health expenses.
  • Check out the “CHM for newbies” article on page ___. Anything new can be overwhelming, but CHM has tools to help walk you through the process. We love receiving the CHM monthly newsletter. The articles and Prayer Page section are a blessing to us. The articles share helpful tips and stories of fellow members who have had medical needs shared by CHM members.

I found that health cost sharing is the most honest and economical way for people to take care of their medical expenses. Really, it’s much better than insurance! Thank you, CHM staff, for your godly service throughout Lawrence’s surgery and recovery. We’re excited to report he’s doing very well.

*Editor’s note: You can download a free sample medical bill log to keep track of your bills at chministries.org/stepbystep.

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