Christian Healthcare Ministries – An Alternative to Health Insurance

It’s that time of year where many people are looking at their options for health insurance.  If your employer does not provide insurance or you feel the insurance offered does not work for you or you are just frustrated with your insurance plans then you are probably looking in the market place for a plan that meets your needs but doesn’t break the bank.  Last year we were in the same boat.  My husband and I both work for the same small business.  After what we would pay for our premiums and deductibles we would be shelling out almost $18,000 in one year before insurance would pick up anything!  I started researching our options and came across Christian Healthcare Ministries.Christian Healthcare Ministries is a sharing ministry.  It is not health insurance but thankfully it is recognized and approved as an alternative under the Affordable Healthcare Act.  Which means come April 15 there are no penalties when filing taxes, just fill out a simple form saying you have CHM.

Christian Healthcare Ministries is very affordable, thankfully!  Your payment each month is based on “units”.  Units are people in your family with a max payment of 3 units which covers all family members.  Plans range from $45/unit for the bronze program, $85.00/unit for the silver and $150.00/unit for the gold program which is also CHM’s most extensive financial support program.  For example, we are a family of 6.  We belong to the gold program and we pay $450.00/mth to be enrolled in CHM.  You can find more information about programs here.  When we go to the doctor we mention we are self pay and pay for the visit at the time of service.  Being self pay doctors offices and other health care facilities typically offer a discount to you!

With our Gold Program, Christian Healthcare Ministries shares 100% of our bills that are over $500.00.  So basically we have a $500.00 deductible per incident.  Your personal responsibility depends on which program you chose to be on.  Sick visits to the doctor would not be covered because typically they do not exceed $500.00.  I recently found a lump in my breast and needed to have it biopsied.  I contacted the hospital to find out how much it was and asked for a self pay price.   I was able to set up payment plans or pay in full.  I paid approximately $4,000.00 for this procedure.  I filled out the necessary paperwork and sent my itemized bills to Christian Healthcare Ministries for review and within a couple weeks received a check for the full amount!  Without the discounts for self pay my bill would have been over $10,000.00 and I would have been responsible for our $8,000.00 deductible if we went with our employer’s health insurance that was offered.If you have a pre-exiting condition you will want to read about CHM’s pre-existing conditions guidelines.  Basically if you have signs/symptoms/diagnosis before joining there is a waiting period before they will cover/reimburse you for any medical procedures you have while being a member if you are in the active phase and not a maintenance program.   I was having back issues before joining that were not resolved.  A month after joining I had a spinal injection for pain.  This was not covered because I was considered in the “active” phase and not “maintenance” phase.  This was approximately $4,000.00 that we paid (this includes a self pay discount) and CHM did not reimburse us.  But, again still cheaper than going with regular insurance.Prescriptions are not covered unless they are incident related, then they would be apart of your $500.00 deductible.  CHM does however offer a discount card that you can present to your pharmacy.  There is also a website they direct you to so you can shop around and find the best price for your meds.   I take a daily medicine, took it when we had traditional insurance and take it with CHM, funny thing is – it’s cheaper now that the pharmacy is not running it through insurance.  Yeah, read that again.  Wow!!!  Cheaper being self pay then running through regular insurance and paying your co-pay for a prescription.How does Christian Healthcare Ministries work?  CHM is a biblical based company where Christians voluntarily share each others medical bills.  As I mentioned before CHM is not health insurance.  There are qualifications to join.  Participating adults must be Christians living by biblical principles including abstaining from the use of tobacco and illegal drugs and attend group worship regular, as your health allows you to.  You can see more about this here.  To join you simply fill out the online application and pick your start date.  Christian Healthcare Ministries has no waiting period and you don’t have someone come out to your house with questions and asking for your first born.  After joining you will receive a welcome packet in the mail along with your membership cards.Christian Healthcare covers maternity care if your due date is more then 300 days from the date you joined.  You can not be an unwed mother and participate in the maternity program.    What they cover depends on which program you are enrolled in.   You can find more information about it here.We love Christian Healthcare Ministries and will be with them for at least another year!  The only downfall that we have come across is it can take up to 120 days for reimbursement.

If you decide Christian Healthcare Ministries is for you I’d much appreciate if you used our member number, 295277.

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