James Van Wagner, Auburn, NY

Total eligible bills
$78,722
Provider discounts
$28,576
Total bills shared
$41,284

In autumn 2013 I was semi-retired, between jobs and looking for affordable health insurance. None of the Obamacare options were financially feasible. Plus, I was unable to get answers to my coverage questions.

A friend from church suggested I check out Christian Healthcare Ministries. What I found sounded wonderful—and affordable. I joined at the end of 2013, added the Brother’s Keeper option and still was able to make it work with my tight budget.

One of my concerns was my deteriorating left shoulder. X-rays showed that the pain and discomfort was due to a “bone-on-bone” situation inside the joint. I was scared about finances and was contemplating various alternatives. Because it was a pre-existing condition, there was a limit on the amount of help I would receive from CHM under the Gold sharing schedule for pre-existing conditions.

When a CHM staff member suggested I list my need on the newsletter’s Prayer Page, I felt odd. I thought listing my name and asking for help sounded too much like begging. Then, after prayer and urging of some Christian friends, I submitted the information for sharing my bills through the Prayer Page.

Thank goodness I did.

There were some dark days when I was feeling down and still recovering. It seemed that medical bills putting my need over the Gold schedule limit were all I received. Even with discounts and early pay reductions, the bills piled up.

Soon, however, I started receiving cards and letters of encouragement from fellow CHM members. Those notes and Bible verses reminded me of God’s faithfulness to His children, and that He would never leave or forsake me.

I then received my first Prayer Page check from CHM. I immediately teared up as I realized there are true Christ-followers who put others first. My prayers continued to be answered as monthly checks, cards and notes made their way into my mailbox. They helped reduce my angst and financial woes. To date, I have received $19,179 from Prayer Page donations.

All of this support gives me great encouragement as I undergo additional surgeries. I had an infection that required the removal of my artificial joint and replacement with a temporary one. And there will be a third operation to replace that.

I jokingly tell my doctor that my condition is the gift that keeps on giving. In truth, it is CHM members who are the gift! I’m undoubtedly blessed to be among such generous and gracious Christians who share thoughts, prayers and financial gifts with those of us who are in need.

With their help and the surgeon’s care I may yet resume normal activities. My “thank you” hardly seems enough in exchange for the kindness I have received, but it accurately describes my sentiments. That is why I have recommended CHM to many people.

May God continue to bless CHM and its wonderful members.

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