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)
I 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.
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!