Rich Barker, Lancaster, PA

Total eligible bills
$51,676
Provider discounts
$12,929
Total bills shared
$38,747

I am a pharmacist who decided to work part-time in Jan. 2016 with the goal of retiring three or four years later. The big (but common) hurdle was what to do about healthcare coverage.

In more than 40 years as a Christian I’d never heard of health cost sharing, but an internet search revealed several options. Careful research showed me that CHM was the best option. My wife, Diane, and I were in good health, so making the “leap” didn’t seem like a big risk. The cost was reasonable and the ministry has a sound track record, so we jumped in with both feet.

I experienced a severe case of heartburn 11 days after we joined the ministry. After treatment with over-the-counter medication, it subsided.

Two days later I was working at the pharmacy when my heartburn returned with increased intensity.

Even after working so long in the medical field, I was in denial about what was happening to me. On her way to pick me up, Diane called a nearby hospital to let them know she was bringing in her husband who was suffering a heart attack. I tried to talk her into taking me home instead, but she took one look at me and proceeded to the emergency room.

Within 20 minutes, I was in the operating room having a stent inserted into an artery that was 100 percent blocked. Thankfully, a cardiologist who had just left was only blocks away and quickly returned to the hospital when he heard about me.

The ministry staff was extremely helpful and coached us on what to do with our nearly $39,000 in medical bills. Our first call was to the hospital. The bill was immediately reduced by 25 percent and we were able to set up monthly payments until CHM shared our bill. We received an even larger discount from the cardiology group.

The CHM sharing process was much easier and less stressful than I expected. The forms we had to submit were straightforward and simple to follow. We also received confirmation that the ministry received our paperwork, which was comforting.

I returned home and soon started receiving cards and words of encouragement from CHM members all across the United States. The love and peace I felt each time I opened a piece of mail was a huge source of comfort and strength. I’m convinced it helped me heal more quickly. Brothers and sisters in Christ, please don’t ever underestimate the power of prayer and encouraging words!

Physically, I’m growing stronger every day and exercising regularly. Spiritually, my walk with Christ has deepened. When we experience a setback or trauma in our lives, we tend to question, “Why me, God?” However, I’ve learned to hold on to Christ even more tightly during such times because I know His love will never fail me or leave me. Experiencing this truth is worth everything I went through.

I recommend CHM to anyone. I was conditioned to rely on health insurance but God showed me a different way. The meeting of our needs—financial and spiritual—by our brothers and sisters in Christ is something for which we’re forever thankful.

Editor’s note: CHM acts as a supplement to Medicare; Medicare participants need not discontinue their CHM membership. For more information, please see the “CHM: a great option for Medicare participants” article series in the January, February and March 2017 newsletters (www.chministries.org/newsletter).

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