Ronald Farabaugh, Columbus, OH

Total eligible bills
$58,280
Provider discounts
$16,416
Total bills shared
$41,864

Several years ago I began evaluating my health care costs. My insurance deductible was so high that the insurance company rarely paid anything toward medical bills. I could no longer justify keeping my insurance and decided I would much rather fund a Christian health cost sharing ministry than send hard-earned dollars to an insurance company. We joined Christian Healthcare Ministries at the Gold level.

My first real encounter with CHM was when my left hip became stiff and painful. The effects were mild at first and I limped without realizing it. Other people kept asking what was wrong and eventually the pain became constant and affected all daily activities. Any motion produced severe, stabbing pain. I knew I had to consult a surgeon.

I’d had a right hip replacement in 2007, so I had an idea of what to expect. I knew what was likely in store: surgery, disability, financial stress and a lengthy recovery. I became very discouraged.

However, the CHM staff was incredibly helpful. They were kind, understanding, patient and informative. Each interaction I had with the staff was basically the same: helpful and caring. Every organization interested in quality customer service should call CHM to see what modern Christ-like customer service sounds like!

Nevertheless I worried how I was going to pay the bills and feed my family. As soon as CHM sent me the first check, however, I felt relieved. God had thrown me a “life-preserver” and I slept better every night after that.

The process of submitting bills was straightforward. In fact, submitting the bills all at once helped me organize and pay them promptly. The total bills related to my hip surgery were over $58,000, which I was able to negotiate down significantly.

Because this was a pre-existing condition, CHM shared $25,000 through the Gold level sharing schedule. I was then listed on the newsletter Prayer Page for the remaining $16,864. I’m well on my way to paying the entire bill in a short period of time.

Surgery caused me to be off work for six months and income for the family has certainly been a challenge. However, the generosity of CHM members has been exceptionally helpful and very uplifting. At first I was a skeptic, but CHM continues to prove faithful. How refreshing it is for an organization to fulfill its mission.

One unexpected blessing was explaining CHM to all of my health care providers and physicians. Most of them had never heard of CHM or health cost sharing ministries. It was rewarding to explain the ministry’s purpose and to provide a glimpse into Christian living and giving. I was able to confidently tell them they had nothing to worry about. I think they knew they could trust me and that I was serious about paying my bills.

Even more remarkable was receiving unexpected notes, cards, letters of encouragement and prayer along with financial donations. The dollar amount of the contributions wasn’t as important to me and my family as the lesson that it taught us, a lesson about Christian giving and helping someone with absolutely no expectation of receiving something in return. Giving for the sake of giving—I was blown away!

My hip is healing slowly but I’m optimistic that I’ll make a full recovery and will be able to return to work.

God has taught me many lessons through my experience. First, humility. The second is to rely on Him and to stop worrying so much. He’s my redeemer, protector and strength.

But the most important lesson is this: stop, listen and accept. Life is full of change, but growth is optional. I was able to slow down, reflect and read the Bible more regularly than I did while running in the “rat race” before my surgery.

I’m overcome by the kindness and generosity of CHM members and I love telling the CHM story! Whether you incur medical bills or not, it’s comforting that our money is going to help other Christians during life’s challenges. It makes me feel good every time I send my monthly financial gift to CHM.

Thank you for all you do.

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