At first I was skeptical about health cost sharing ministries because there were so many unknowns. After seeing how well CHM worked for our family, though, our perspective changed.
My wife, Tamara, our two children and I joined the CHM Gold program in November 2013. The following March Tammy noticed a lump in her throat. It was a growth on her thyroid and the entire gland had to be removed. Thankfully it was benign, but our charges still surpassed $27,000 after discounts of about $21,000.
We experienced some anxiety while waiting for CHM to share the remaining charges—after all, we’d never submitted bills to the ministry. It was worth the wait, though, because when the checks arrived we realized CHM was an answer to prayer. We were also very pleased that the end result was owing nothing out of pocket!
In April 2017 I experienced chest pains that convinced me I needed to head to the emergency room. Thankfully, it wasn’t a heart problem and doctors suggested acid reflux or a possible muscle strain. I had no further symptoms but incurred over $10,000 in bills. The charges were discounted down to about $3,000 and CHM members shared the remaining expense.
The following April my shoulder started hurting and I couldn’t raise my arm above my head. I was diagnosed with arthritis and two small tears in my tendon. The total charges (after discounts) for X-rays, an MRI, doctor visits and prescriptions were about $3,500, which CHM shared.
In August 2018 I went to a neurosurgeon after suffering severe back pain. I was diagnosed with a bulging disc and incurred bills for an MRI, physical therapy and epidural shots. I was able to obtain significant discounts on about $9,000 in medical bills and CHM once again shared the remaining amount.
One thing that has surprised us about being CHM members is that healthcare providers are often willing to extend generous discounts. For example, while getting treatment for my bulging disc, at one point we paid the hospital (a Catholic medical center) and were subsequently refunded about $4,000 due to the fact that I’m a pastor. As per CHM policy, we sent the money back so it could be shared to meet other members’ medical bills.
Today Tammy is doing well, though she has to daily take prescribed medicine. I’ve been able to keep my shoulder pain at bay through exercise and medication. I’m still undergoing treatment for the bulging disc in an attempt to avoid surgery if possible. I appreciate your prayers for healing.
We learned many important lessons from our medical challenges. We’ve come to trust God on a whole new level and we’ve discovered that health cost sharing really works. There was a time when I would not have sought medical treatment due to the aftermath of financial worries and out-of-pocket expenses. With CHM we don’t worry about medical costs. It really gives us peace of mind.
We also like the sense of freedom we have being CHM members. For example, when I needed an epidural for my bulging disc I called to schedule the procedure. The healthcare provider said they were waiting on approval from CHM. I said, “You’ll never get it because you don’t need it.” After I explained why, they immediately scheduled the procedure.
We’ve referred a number of families to CHM and so far we’ve received four free months of membership because four of the families joined. Thank you, Christian Healthcare Ministries, for offering us an affordable solution and giving us a new perspective on how to handle healthcare costs!