Joseph McGuire, Metamora, IL

Total eligible bills
$81,989
Provider discounts
$42,308
Total bills shared
$39,681

I’ve always loved art, particularly drawing and painting. I earned an art degree from Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. In time I found myself working in advertising and media management. Despite my successful career, I believed God was calling me to create and teach art.

My wife and I began planning for my early "retirement" so that I could serve the Lord through my passion for art. We calculated our expenses and budgeted for what we thought would be more than enough for our healthcare costs.

Then I made the leap.

Around that time I heard about CHM on The Dave Ramsey Show. Intrigued, I did more research. Some friends and family members thought I was crazy to take a risk by joining a health cost sharing ministry, but I liked what I had read and became a member anyway.

Though I believed in CHM’s values and mission, a part of me intended to remain a member only until I reached Medicare age. Knowing I was in great health, I believed I would skate through the next 18 months with perfect health.

But I was wrong.

Instead, annual blood test results indicated elevated kidney and liver counts and a follow-up ultrasound revealed a large kidney tumor. My urologist deemed the tumor "suspicious" and strongly encouraged me to get it removed.

I was very scared. For so long I had been healthy and taken very good care of myself, but now I had no idea what would happen. It was then I questioned the decision I’d made to trust in a faith-based medical sharing ministry. Would it really work? Were the skeptics right?

God is indeed good and my experience with CHM was great. The staff members were understanding, helpful and thoughtful. Though it took some time, I read the Guidelines and instructions for submitting medical bills and followed them closely.

Many of my healthcare providers were familiar with CHM and gave discounts right away. For those who didn’t, I found it helpful to develop relationships with the billing office staff. When I believed a more significant discount might be available, I "climbed the ladder" by discovering who in the billing office had authority to approve discounts.

Though negotiating took a little more effort, it was worth it—and quite interesting. With a little work, nearly all of my bills were discounted between 20 and 50 percent—and the most costly bills received the deepest discounts. It’s amazing how much money can be saved with a little time and effort! (Editor’s note: To learn how discounts help you and all CHM members, see the July 2018 issue at chministries.org/newsletter.)

I’m fortunate that my cancer was contained within the tumor. My illness caused me to lose 40 pounds, but I’m doing what I can to keep my remaining kidney in good shape. I will have additional testing at my six-month follow-up appointment and, God willing, all will be well.

Second to a positive, healthy outcome to my diagnosis was the thrill of seeing CHM members come through like they say they will. God continues to do amazing things in my life—one of which is being part of this ministry. After $42,000 in discounts, CHM members faithfully shared more than $39,000 of my medical bills.

Making the switch to CHM has enabled me to serve God with my talents. God is good, and so is Christian Healthcare Ministries.

Editor’s note: To learn more about Joe McGuire’s artwork and caricatures, visit joetheartguy.com.

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