Ricky Free, Ashland City, TN

Total eligible bills
$118,014
Provider discounts
$74,814
Total bills shared
$43,200

My family and I joined Christian Healthcare Ministries in 2013 after hearing about it from one of my wife’s co-workers when she worked for Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey.

Contributing an affordable monthly amount to a Christian ministry and seeing it use that money to help other Christians in need was a no-brainer for us. Plus, we knew that Obamacare was looming on the horizon. We much preferred CHM’s solution rather than paying into what we believe is a broken health insurance system.

In November 2014 I experienced significant pain and restricted movement in my left hip. I visited a chiropractor several times and even had an X-ray, but it revealed no problems. For months I dealt with the pain, hoping that a few more visits to the chiropractor would resolve the problem.

I’m a professional drummer, producer and songwriter in the Christian music industry. In May 2015 I was leaving my home studio after working all day. I bumped into a stand holding a heavy keyboard, causing the stand to collapse and the keyboard to fall down and back onto my left leg.

I fell on the concrete floor, causing my hip to break. “Something is very wrong,” I thought. “Most 32-year-olds don’t break a hip when they fall!”

The small hospital near our home transferred me to a larger medical center in nearby Nashville. I underwent a CT scan and an MRI. That’s when doctors discovered a giant tumor in my hip bone—the reason my hip broke when I fell.

I was transferred to another hospital that specializes in the treatment I needed. Surgery was performed to remove the tumor and repair my leg. I now have a rod in my leg going up to the ball and socket of my hip and through the side of my femur, screwed in on the outside.

Thankfully, we learned that the tumor was benign.

However, medical bills started piling up and we had no income since I wasn’t working and my wife, Kelly, is a stay-at-home-mom caring for our two young sons. That’s when we witnessed the Body of Christ coming together. Hundreds of fellow music artists, friends, family members, my publisher and others raised money to help with living expenses while I was unable to work.

Whenever I received a new medical bill in the mail, I submitted it online via the CHM Member Portal, which was easy and convenient. Staff members Terry Lawrence and Joy Spriggs were a great encouragement; Terry kept in touch with me throughout my ordeal and Joy helped answer questions about my bills. I’ve incurred more than $100,000 in medical bills, received over $70,000 in discounts and so far have seen CHM members share nearly $40,000!

Today I’m still undergoing physical therapy—an expense CHM also shares under the Gold program—and am getting close to feeling normal again.

It was a humbling experience to see friends, family and CHM members all working together to help us in a time of great need. I don’t know what we would have done without them. Kelly and I have always tried to be givers and help others, but through their example, God gave us an entirely new perspective on giving and generosity. It reminds me of the chorus of “Give,” a song by my friend and fellow Christian musician Jason Crabb:

If you want to get love then give it
If you want to feel some forgiveness
You’ve got to let go and do some forgiving of your own
If you want a friend then be one
Need a little kindness, show some
You’ll be surprised at how much finds its way back home
It don’t matter what it is
If you want it
Give


Kelly and I have recommended CHM many times over the past two years and several families have joined as a result. They couldn’t be happier to be part of this big “family” of believers.

Editor’s note: Ricky Free spent nine years playing drums with award-winning Gospel artist Brian Free & Assurance. He has produced multiple GMA Dove Award-nominated albums, multiple No. 1 songs and Top 10 songs and has been named Producer of the Year several times. He has written a No. 1 song and several Top 10 songs.

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