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 Healthcare.gov 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).
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.
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.