In spite of the best of intentions of making healthcare available for everyone, insurance premiums remain high and often unaffordable for many families. However, Christians have some unique alternatives. Healthcare sharing is a program that allows qualified participants to share the healthcare costs with one another in lieu of standard insurance programs, and the rates are substantially lower.
Here is how it works:
1. BIBLICAL BASIS
Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is a nonprofit health cost sharing ministry through which Christians voluntarily share each other’s medical bills. It is not an insurance company. CHM is based on Galatians 6:2 (“Carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”) and on the actions of the New Testament church found in Acts 2 and 4.
2. QUALIFICATIONS FOR JOINING
To be CHM members, participating adults must be Christians living by biblical principles, including abstaining from the use of tobacco and the illegal use of drugs (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), following biblical teaching on the use of alcohol, and attending group worship regularly if health permits (Hebrews 10:25). There are no restrictions based on age, weight, geographic location or health history.
3. PROGRAMS, COSTS, AND UNITS
CHM has three main programs from which you can choose: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Membership also is based on units. One unit is one qualifying individual; two units are two qualifying individuals; and three units are three or more qualifying individuals. Gold membership is $150 per unit, per month; Silver is $85 per unit, per month; Bronze is $45 per unit, per month. Learn more about units or see how CHM costs compare with health insurance.
4. BROTHER’S KEEPER
Brother’s Keeper is CHM’s optional program for catastrophic medical bills, defined as bills exceeding $125,000 per illness. This low-cost program involves a variable quarterly fee and a $40 annual fee per membership.
5. HOW TO JOIN
You can apply for membership in CHM and Brother’s Keeper by using our secure online application or paper application (click here to receive an application by mail). You can choose either the date you submit your application or a future date as your starting date (CHM has no waiting period. Click here to learn about our pre-existing conditions policy).
6. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER JOINING
You’ll receive your welcome packet and CHM membership card(s) within two weeks of submitting your application. Most of the information in the welcome packet is for your reference; however, one form—the Checklist of Understanding—must be filled out and returned to CHM before any of your medical bills can be shared. You also will receive the CHM monthly newsletter around the 1st of each month and the Member Gift Form (billing statement) around the 15th of each month.
7. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU NEED MEDICAL CARE
What to do when you need medical care depends on whether you are in an emergency situation and whether you need care for an illness, injury, or maternity.
8. INTERACTING WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
CHM has worked with more than 40,000 health care providers nationwide. However, it’s important you understand that your health care will be handled by you, the patient. This means that health care providers should bill you directly, after which you can submit your bills to CHM. Also, you have the flexibility of choosing any health care provider you wish; CHM does not have a provider network. Learn more or visit our health care provider directory.
9. SUBMITTING MEDICAL BILLS TO CHM
Medical bills must be itemized and show any discounts you have received or payments you have already made. They also must be submitted—along with the necessary paperwork—to CHM within six months of the date of service. CHM cannot share bills incurred before you become a member (click here to learn about our pre-existing conditions policy). All medical bills are authorized according to the CHM Guidelines. Learn more about the bill sharing process or view our step-by-step guide to submitting bills.
10. SPIRITUAL SUPPORT
Christian Healthcare Ministries is the Body of Christ reaching out to each other in times of need, even though most members don’t know each other personally. CHM helps members interact with each other by listing prayer requests in the monthly newsletter and Member Gift Form statement. Members also can post prayer requests and encourage each other using the CHM Facebook page. Many members use this information to send each other cards of encouragement. In addition, CHM staff prays for each prayer request individually, corporately, and often by phone when members call. View our list of Bible verses about healing.
This content is available at www.chministries.org. Neither Palm Beach Christian Voice, nor One Christian Voice, or any entity connected received any compensation from CH Ministries as compensation for sharing this information.