Thank You Christian Healthcare Ministries For The Featured Newsletter Article

CHM July 2016 NewsletterI’m happy to report that all of our hospital costs have been paid for under the Christian Healthcare Ministries plan guidelines. We received our last check in the mail a few months ago which was about 4 months after our last submitted medical expense. We are now on the giving end of the ministry!

I have to admit I was nervous in the beginning because CHM isn’t health insurance, but rather a group of people (Christians) who share each others medical expenses. I knew we would have to pay out of pocket some of our expenses but it was still better than the ObamaCare plans we qualified for.

Through this experience I learned that the average (healthy individual) can get decent discounts from healthcare providers as long as you are self-pay (un-insured), and that they ask for those discounts. Instead of the hospital dealing with an insurance provider they deal directly with you. In most cases you can obtain discounts of at least 50% of what would have been billed to insurance.

This alone saved us more money than if we had insurance. I remember paying out of pocket thousands of dollar before insurance kicked in back in 2011-2012. I understand that some individuals need insurance and traditional health insurance can help truly sick people who have no other ways for paying their medical bills.

I would like to thank Christian Healthcare Ministries for their recent article regarding our experience and we look forward to the future as loyal members and Christians of this health sharing group. You can read the July 2016 Newsletter Here.

If you join Christian Healthcare Ministries and wish to use us as your referral, please let me know and contact us! We receive credit for referring others to the ministry, which is a month free for us. You can either click this link or use our referral ID – 200300 when you join! – Thank you from our ‘growing’ family!

*The views expressed within this article and website are my own. These are my personal experiences and may be different than what you experience.

Christian Healthcare Ministries Helps Pay For Our Newborn Hospital Fees

I have to admit, I had my doubts about Christian Healthcare Ministries and how they would pay for our hospital delivery fees. I grew up having traditional health insurance, it was something we always had but once I was out of the house and on my own I no longer had health insurance. You can imagine the stress of raising a family without health insurance.

As I wrote in a previous blog post, through my wife’s work in Alaska she had health insurance, but it felt like we were paying for everything with our first pregnancy/delivery of our son. What was the point in having traditional health insurance? We were paying $220/month and had a $7,000 deductible, sadly that is pretty good compared to some of the current ObamaCare plans. I checked what my family would have to pay through ObamaCare for 2016 = $704/month with a $7,600 Deductible (I was trying to find something similar to what we had when my wife worked at her nursing job in Alaska)

Christian Health Share ObamaCare Plan 2016I also wrote how Christian Healthcare Ministries sent us the full amount of my wife’s maternity care, which covered all of her office visits and one ultrasound. We had to pay for additional blood test out of pocket but we were eventually reimbursed by CHM.

Our beautiful daughter was born on December 7th, 2015, it was a super fast delivery and we thank God there were no complications. Looking back I’m amazed at God’s timing, He knew we needed to get to the hospital quickly, so my wife went into labor around 11pm, we left our house at 12:07am and by 1:28am our daughter was born. I think about how stressful it could have been had my wife gone into labor during rush hour, we probably wouldn’t have made it to the hospital in time.

How I Prepared For The Hospital Costs

Months before my wife was due, I called the hospital and told them we were uninsured and asked for their self-pay rates. They gave us an agreement with their pricing structure based on how long we would stay at the hospital and the cost if my wife had to have a cesarean section. I immediately sent that form off to CHM via their online portal and then I waited. CHM can take between 3-4 months before sending a check. Since this was a hospital delivery, we had to pay the full balance before we left the hospital, otherwise we would not receive their ‘Cash’ pricing.

In mid-October I called CHM and asked about the payment for the hospital fee and told them I had to make the full payment before we left the hospital. I had guessed that we would have stayed 2 days at the hospital so CHM cut us a check for $3,800. The base fee of the delivery was $3,300 and $500 for each additional day you stay. (Compare this to the $15,000+ billed to insurance for our son to be born in Alaska). By the first of November I received a check for the entire hospital stay along with a few other reimbursements.

Christian Healthcare Ministries Delivery Check

We actually only stayed in the hospital for 1 day, which means we had an extra $500 from CHM. I contacted them and they gave me the address to send the over-payment back to.

What Other Cost Should You Expect From A Delivery?

Within the hospital cash agreement, they tell you that additional bills will come. We received a few additional bills, one was possibly fraudulent and I’m only telling you this because you should always keep record of what bills you receive and why you are receiving them.

If something doesn’t feel right, you need to start calling the right people. We received an additional bill for $2,589.00 with a doctor’s name on the bill of someone we have never seen or even heard of (fraud? possibly), which also stated “Treat Humerus Fracture“.. Am I missing something?

This was for a delivery, not a humerus fracture! I’m wondering had we had insurance, would our insurance have paid that bill.. is this insurance fraud? I was frustrated and started calling people, trying to get to the doctor who billed us. Of course it was nearly impossible to reach her and when I finally reached someone in ‘her office’ they said they would take care of it.

I called the billing company who sent us the bill and told them I believe this was fraud.. After a long conversation they said the bill would be sent back for clarification.

To make a long story short, they canceled that bill and never said why it was sent. The doctor in question works for the hospital so maybe she came into the room when my wife was in labor and then left.. We never remember seeing her, meeting her and yet we receive a bill from her… and they wonder why traditional healthcare cost are so high!

A few weeks after the delivery you will receive a bill from the hospital’s pediatric unit. The people who come and check on your new born, who also do the hearing test. We received a bill for $1,215 which I was able to get nearly 50% off by paying the full amount up front. I ended up paying just over $600 which I have submitted to CHM for reimbursement.

My Strategy For Getting The Biggest Discount Possible

One thing I learned about asking for discounts is that you want to ask two different questions.

The first being, “We are uninsured and I was wondering what your self-pay rate is?” To this question I found that most companies will say yes they have a self pay rate. They might put you on hold to get approval or they have a base discount they can offer.

For one of our bills the guy came back and said he could take off 50%.. this is where you ask the second question, but only after you get an answer to the first question. “If I pay the full balance now, do you offer a paid in full discount as well?” Most companies would rather you pay the full amount NOW, rather than paying in payments.

For many people payments might be the easier thing to do. For us, we just put the full amount on credit and pay it off with the next billing date. The guy who gave us 50% off came back and said that if we paid the full amount now, he could take off another 5%. So a 50% discount now became a 55% discount. I paid that bill and asked for them to send me what I needed to submit it to CHM.

Almost 3 Months After Delivery

You have to be prepared to do a lot of the leg work with regards to getting your hospital bills paid. Its been almost 3 months since our daughter was born and I just submitted the last bill to Christian Healthcare Ministries for reimbursement. Some bills come immediately while other bills take time. We really didn’t have many bills from the delivery. I believe we only had the pediatric’s bill. My wife ended up going to the ER a few days after delivery for pain and bleeding, which thankfully wasn’t too serious. We did receive many bills from that ER visit which we have submitted to CHM. This makes me so grateful to be apart of a ministry that shares other people’s healthcare bills. I often think what we would have done had we not been with CHM. Making our monthly payment to CHM is so easy when you know  you are helping other people.

While being on the receiving end of that for this past year, we hope to be on the giving end for the rest of 2016. Knowing that we are helping people who were in our situation makes us feel like we are actually doing something for people we may never meet. Unlike traditional healthcare, you pay an excessive amount of money every month for what?

If you have any questions regarding Christian Healthcare Ministries, please contact me here.

If you join Christian Healthcare Ministries and wish to use us as your referral, please let me know and contact us! We receive credit for referring others to the ministry, which is a month free for us. You can either click this link or use our referral ID – 200300 when you join! – Thank you from our ‘growing’ family!

Christian Healthcare Ministries Sends Full Payment For Maternity Care

If you haven’t read yet, my wife is pregnant and we don’t have traditional health insurance. We also decided to sign up for Christian Healthcare Ministries in December 2014 as a way to help pay for any of our healthcare costs. We knew at the time that we wanted more kids, just didn’t know when that would happen.

If you haven’t read my other post, click the links above to read why we chose Christian Healthcare Ministries and how we are using the ministry to pay for our second child, due to be born in December 2015!

About two weeks ago we had another appointment for my wife’s pregnancy. When we checked in for the appointment, they were asking if we could pay the $700 payment due by the end of June. I told them I would pay it online or call their billing department.. as I was trying to buy us some time. When you submit your ‘eligible’ healthcare cost to CHM, it can take between 60-90 days in order to receive a check. I submitted our first bill on May 1st for our maternity care (cost $3,500 – split up into $700/monthly payments).

60-90 days
Since our payment was due by June 30th, I called CHM and told them that $700/month was kind of high for our family.  I was told that they would see if they could speed up the distribution of funds for us. On June 27th I received this check for the full amount of our maternity bill as well as for another cost we paid in late April:

CHM Maternity Check
Being apart of this ministry makes you realize how you are actually helping other Christians with their healthcare cost. Unlike traditional health insurance where most of your funds go to high overhead cost, with Christian Healthcare Ministries your funds actually go to helping other individuals and families.

This is proof of the help we have received. It makes paying our monthly share so much easier, now that you actually know you are helping another family as well.

When we first joined CHM, I was a little nervous because you technically don’t have ‘insurance’, and based on how much we had to pay for our last pregnancy I knew it could get expensive. I’ve been surprised at the low cost of being a ‘self-pay’ patient as well as surprised at how much we have saved in ‘healthcare’ costs overall.

With traditional health insurance you not only pay a large monthly premium (ours would have been $683/month with a $7,000 deductible, had we joined ObamaCare), but you also have to pay the ‘insurance’ rates to your healthcare provider.

We chose Christian Healthcare Ministries in-part because of their maternity program. The other Christian Health Sharing ministries have their own ways of dealing with maternity care and pregnancies, but with CHM you pay the first $500 in cost (your deductible) and all other eligible cost are shared. Other ministries like ‘Medi-Share’ treat health sharing like traditional insurance where you pay a monthly premium and have a specific deductible.. which we did not like, mainly because we don’t like ‘traditional’ health insurance and were trying to get away from it. But for some people Medi-Share might be for them because your deductible covers your whole family, while CHM has a different way of handling your ‘deductible’.

If you join Christian Healthcare Ministries and wish to use us as your referral, please let me know and contact us! We receive credit for referring others to the ministry, which is a month free for us. You can either click this link or use our referral ID – 200300 when you join! – Thank you from our ‘growing’ family!

My Wife Is Pregnant & We Have No Health Insurance!

What Do You Do When Your Wife Is Pregnant And You Have No Health Insurance?

When my wife and I left behind our traditional health insurance in July 2014, we had no idea where we would end up almost one year later. It can be scary not knowing how you will pay for something like a pregnancy if you didn’t have insurance, which is one of the biggest reasons why we joined Christian Healthcare Ministries.

When my wife was working as a NICU nurse at a hospital in Anchorage, Alaska we were blessed to have traditional health insurance. And when she was pregnant we knew that the health insurance would pay for the majority of the doctor visits as well as the hospital stay.

What we didn’t know was how much we would still pay out of pocket! It felt like every time we had a ‘checkup’ appointment we were paying $180+ out of pocket, not only just the checkup appointments but all of the testing, ultrasounds and stress test towards the end of her pregnancy.

We had a large deductible but it felt like our health insurance wasn’t really doing us any good. What was the point if we are paying a monthly premium and still paying for every single visit. We hit our out-of-pocket maximum at the birth of our son, but even then we still had a few more bills that came through.

With as much money we paid for all of the doctor visits it got me curious how much we would have paid if we were ‘self-pay’. You see, most clinics/doctors have a set ‘self-pay’ rate for those who are uninsured. Since they don’t have to mess with the insurance companies they give you a larger discount on the cost of services. I wonder how much the insurance companies take from the doctors, which makes them raise their rates?

Fast forward to April 2015

…and we find out that we are having another baby! Since we don’t have traditional health insurance we are now self-paying for all of our care with the ‘hopes’ that Christian Healthcare Ministries will back us up on the cost of this pregnancy. We could have signed up for ObamaCare, but our monthly premium was $683 with a $7,000 deductible, something we felt was a huge burden (not to mention the morality of supporting abortions when the new healthcare law passed, but was recently amended).

Be Bold & Ask For Their Self Pay Rates

As soon as we found out we were having another baby, my wife started searching for a few different women’s clinics near our home. It was my job to call their billing departments and ask what their ‘self-pay’ rates were.

At first it was kind of odd asking for discounts or what the clinics ‘self-pay’ rate was, but each person I spoke to was courteous and nice to talk with. I wrote everything down and after we looked over our options we chose the clinic we felt was best for our family.

What I found was most clinics have a set rate for those who are self-pay. I’ve asked for a discount, but they say the rates they give are set and cannot be modified. They do however help lower the cost of any additional test (blood test, urine test, ultra sounds, etc.) Be sure you ask about any programs they may be involved in that will help lower the cost of the ‘lab’ work.

Our First Experience With Being Self-Pay Patients

It’s standard policy to have blood work done when you are in the early stages of a pregnancy. At our first appointment, the clinic gave us a form that said we were self-pay/uninsured, and we were supposed to give that form to the blood lab.

The woman who was helping us at the blood testing facility at first didn’t see that note and told us our bill was going to be $498! I was about to see if we could get a discount or what their policy was for uninsured/self-pay patients, when she looked at the form again and noticed the note. She then apologized and re-calculated the total and said it was $189 a difference of $309!

When you join Christian Healthcare Ministries, any discounts you receive that you can document are put towards your ‘personal responsibility‘ amount. Since my wife is a Gold member, we have to pay the first $500 of the maternity cost. If I could have gotten this blood facility to show that discount, we could have had that amount taken off of our $500 member responsibility amount.. lesson learned.

Be sure to always get documentation of discounts applied to your bills! Since we are self-pay patients it will help lower our health care cost as well as there could be a benefit depending on what Christian HealthShare Ministry you join.

This was our first time dealing with being self-pay patients and now that we have had to file a claim with CHM I want to document our experience with the whole process.

Be Sure You Know Your Numbers/Costs

The women’s clinic we chose charges a self-pay rate of $3,500. That includes all of the pre-delivery visits as well as 1 ultrasound. Extra cost include your first check up and blood test. Additional test are also sent to a lab, but are also discounted. You may want to check with your clinic to see if they can work with you regarding these extra test.

The clinic we are going to joined a plan with the testing facility where they give discounts to uninsured patients. I only found this out after we received 2 separate bills for $84.36 and another for $58.41. I called the facility and asked them if that rate was for self-pay patients, I was told ‘Yes’. I paid the 2 bills and a few weeks later they refunded them.

I called back and they said that someone didn’t post the correct amounts as they didn’t give us the uninsured rates. They said the clinic we are going to was apart of a program with them that helped uninsured patients. They revised our bills and sent 2 new ones for $30 and the second for $25, another savings of $87.

So far with the self-pay rates and the discounts we have obtained, we have saved $396 and owe $3150 to the women’s clinic before my wife is 28 week along.

Maternity Self-Pay Rate ExampleThe above image is an example of a self-pay rate for maternity care. If you pay the full balance before the 28th week of pregnancy you are given a discount of $1,150. Had we been paying for ObamaCare, we would have spent $4,098 just in premiums so far this year, not to mention the other cost of going to the women’s clinic and the blood test.

Do you believe we would have been given the discount of $396 so far? … Probably not! We would have to pay for those cost as well.

I will be updating this section with a link to our experience with Christian Healthcare Ministries. We have submitted the paperwork for their ‘Needs Processing’ department. We are hoping they send a check that will cover the maternity visits, otherwise we will put the $3,150 on a credit card in order to get the $1,150 discount.

Why We Chose Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM)

When we lost our health insurance in July 2014 and made the move from Alaska to Florida we knew we needed health insurance, but didn’t know anything about Christian Health Sharing ministries. It wasn’t until a friend posted something on Facebook about CHM and how they had helped her with an issue of her health insurance dropping her coverage. I had looked through and Googled other health insurance options and always got back a quote of $600 or more per month with a high deductible.

It was a relief to learn about Christian Healthcare Ministries and so I started reading everything I could about them, as well as looking at 3 other ministries and what each of them had to offer our family.

What really enticed my wife and I to join CHM was their maternity program as well as you could choose whatever doctor you wanted. They also have a sliding scale on their deductibles based on what level of service you choose to go with.

Some of the ministries want you to use their ‘in-network’ or approved providers as well as they have higher deductibles. To us CHM wasn’t trying to be like traditional health insurance, something we never liked. With being able to choose our own doctor and what hospital to give birth at, made us feel like we had some control on our own health care.

With Christian Healthcare Ministries they have 3 levels, or programs you can pay for. Gold, Silver or Bronze and each level has certain benefits and costs. Gold is $150 per month, Silver is $85 per month and Bronze is $45 per month. With their maternity program it’s best to be a Gold member as they cover your entire pregnancy, minus the first $500 in cost (your deductible, which can disappear if you are able to obtain $500 in discounts from your doctor).

CHM Maternity Program

Another great part of CHM is they break down the level of care to an individual level and you are billed based on that level. For our family we knew my wife needed the Gold package, while our 1 year old son is Silver and I am Bronze. This makes our monthly cost $280.

With other ministries they ‘group’ your family into one package and you are billed based on the group. For instance, if we were with Samaritan Ministries we would be paying $405 per month, but they do not have a ‘deductible’, any thing under $300 is not shareable. Samaritan Ministries was our second favorite option, but for our family we felt CHM was a better fit.

As well as with Christian Care Ministries (Medi-Share) your monthly share price will depend on your age and current health. They are setup more like a traditional health insurance provider, where you pay a certain amount every month depending on how much you want your ‘deductible’ to be. They also encourage you to use their ‘in-network providers’. You can get your Medi-Share price quote here.

Medi-Share Program Cost

One of the big differences between Christian Healthcare Ministries and all of the others is that they break down their membership package per person. So if my wife is a Gold package member, I can be a Bronze package member and pay as little as $45 per month. BUT if I were to break a bone and it cost $10,000 in medical bills, I would have to pay for the first $5,000 in medical cost before the rest of the cost are shared. This is where risk vs reward comes in. If I haven’t used ‘insurance’ in 15 years, I would much rather pay $45 per month than to pay $400+ per month with a $3,000+ deductible.

Personal Responsibility or Deductibles

Each of the healthcare ministries approach this subject differently. With traditional health insurance we always felt like we were paying a high premium and still paying thousands of dollars each year out of pocket. Since Christian Health Sharing isn’t insurance they have different takes on this subject.

  • Christian Healthcare Ministries – has a $500 out of pocket for Gold, $1,000 out of pocket per incident for Silver and $5,000 out of pocket per incident for Bronze. Any discounts you obtain for your health care are subtracted from this out of pocket cost. For example if you break your arm on the Bronze level and you get a hospital bill for $10,000 but you ask for discount/self-pay rate and they cut your bill down to $5,000, the rest of your bill is eligible for sharing, meaning you have no other out of pocket cost for the incident.
  • Samaritan Ministries – Any bill under $300 is no eligible for sharing.
  • Christian Care Ministries (Medi-Share) – Your annual household out of pocket cost will depend on the level of your monthly share amount, which ranges from $500 to $10,000 out of pocket.


Why We Left Traditional Health Insurance

Why We Left Traditional Health Insurance

I want to start this website off by give you some background information as to why we left traditional health insurance and decided to go with a Christian health sharing plan. I want to make it clear that I am in no way bashing traditional health insurance, but the way that its currently setup is a train wreck. Not only does it put a huge burden on middle class Americans but it doesn’t solve any of the current issues that we see with insurance. Premiums are constantly going up, cost are always increasing and it seems like a never ending cycle?!

In 15 years I used ‘insurance’ once, and that was to fix my right pinky after I accidentally slammed it into my car door. I had to get stitches and then surgery to repair the nail bed so that my finger wouldn’t look disfigured for the rest of my life. I’m thankful for the insurance I had at that time, but the cost of insurance has gone through the roof since I last used it. I understand the need for health insurance and that anything can happen to anyone at any time, so having some type of coverage is a wise choice, especially if you have a growing family, young kids or maybe you are past retirement; you need some type of coverage.

You see, my wife does PRN work at a local hospital. She’s a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse and her current schedule doesn’t allow for us to have insurance through her work, I’m grateful that she is able to stay home and care for our 1 year old son.

I’m self-employed so the only way I can get health insurance is through Have you ever played around with their insurance plans and prices? If you haven’t just go there now and add in your personal information.. see how much they want you to pay!

Here’s a screenshot of a plan that was comparable to what my wife was able to get at her previous job for $220/month. says we have to pay $683 per month and have a deductible of $7,000, who would want to pay for that?!

Traditional Health Insurance Quote

That is the biggest reason why we stopped using traditional health insurance! Not only would we have to pay $683 per month, but all of our hospital visits, check up and any other appointments we would possibly have over the year wouldn’t be covered until we spent $7,000! And the plan above was just one of their many choices. There were higher deductibles ($12,000) but your monthly rate would only drop about $120/month.

Like I said before, we rarely use insurance, so spending $683 every month was too much for our family.

Why We Chose Christian Health Care (Sharing)

One of the biggest pros of the Christian Health Care ministries available today, is that your money is going towards helping other people. Instead of paying such high premiums and paying such high deductibles, you pay a smaller monthly fee that gets ‘shared’ with other people who are actually in need of the money. You don’t pay an insurance company who has outrageous cost, expenses, employee cost/benefits, etc. Your money goes directly towards a need. Of course there are some administration cost, but nothing like you see in any traditional health insurance company.

Being apart of the Christian Health Care system, you aren’t actually insured. Its not insurance per the traditional definition, but you can save hundreds of dollars every month at the same time you get to help other people who are actually in need of the money. Many people may view Christian Health Sharing as a negative, purely on the fact that its not insurance, as well as they have a set guideline of what is covered and what is not. Each ministry has its own set of guidelines and strict policies that you have to follow in order to be accepted. In a way if you follow their guidelines it helps keep costs down and forces you to have a more active role in your own health care.

The actual definition of insurance:

a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium.

With Christian Health Sharing, you aren’t guaranteed anything, but you do buy into a system that will help share any of your ‘eligible‘ health care cost. You will want to read through the eligible guidelines with whatever Christian health sharing ministry you go with, especially their guidelines of how they cover certain medical bills. Such as, if you get into a car wreck and were intoxicated, none of your medical bills will be shared.

The best part about the ‘system’ is that you get to choose your own plan. Many of the Christian Health Sharing companies offer different plans which each have their own benefits. As of this writing there are 4 main Christian Health Care (Sharing) companies available to choose from, that I am aware of. Each have a wide range of pros and cons which I will highlight in another post…

As for my family we chose to go with Christian Health Ministries (CHM) and I will highlight why in another post as well.