Christian Healthcare Ministries
Christian Healthcare Ministries is not Christian health insurance.
Though not insurance, it is a program that does help to pay your medical bills. They do this by having all their members share a monthly sum and then distribute money to those members who have medical bills.
In the last two decades, Christian Healthcare Ministries has shared over five million dollars in medical costs. They have about 32,000 members. They have been ministering to people for over 30 years.
Through a process of monthly forms, the organization makes it possible for members to pray for and encourage each other. With member’s permission, the organization sends out the name, address, and medical need of an individual member. This allows each member the opportunity to communicate directly with someone else. And it facilitates a prayer network.
Christian Healthcare Ministries is a program whereby Christians pool their money to pay for one another's medical bills. If you are unsure of the concept, read this first.
How It Works
Primary doctor office visits are not covered. Prescriptions are also not covered though the organization provides a medicine discount card.
If, however, your doctor finds something of significance wrong and orders tests, the organization will pay for the tests and the doctor appointment. If further tests or actions such as surgery are needed, the organization will also cover those as well up to $125,000.
You are basically a cash-paying patient. You will either pay the bill on the day of the doctor visit, or you will pay the bill after it is mailed to you. Once a bill comes in the mail, you fill out a form and send a copy of the bill to Christian Healthcare Ministries. They negotiate a discount, and then send the money to you so you can pay the bill.
How do they pay for all of this?
Through monthly shares (premiums) that you pay into the program.
The amount you pay depends on the coverage you choose. The gold plan requires a member to pay the first $500 of medical expenses. The silver plan has the member pay the first $1,000 of bills. The bronze plan requires a member to pay the first $5,000. Of course, the different plans have different monthly share amounts.
What You Get
The program allows a person to accumulate up to $125,000 per incident during a year. If necessary, additional payments are made over the following few years.
You can add to the $125,000. Brother's Keeper is a program that for an additional fee you can add another $100,000 to the top limit per incident.
A nice feature is the way they handle pre-existing conditions. Any condition that was treated or showed symptoms prior to application is considered pre-existing. However, Christian Healthcare Ministries will pay up to $15,000 the first year for treatment of the pre-existing condition – depending on the plan you choose. The second year they will pay up to $10,000, and the third year they will pay up to $25,000 toward the medical bills. After this, the condition is no longer considered pre-existing.
The program works somewhat like a co-op or major medical in that your medical needs must be $500 or more to qualify for sharing. CHM would share (pay) medical needs such as an emergency room treatment, surgery, hospital stay, or qualifying diagnostic testing. In most cases with qualifying medical incidents 100% of the balance after your Personal Responsibility ($500-Gold) is shared through the ministry.
Members are responsible for routine office visits and routine prescriptions.
Christian Healthcare Ministries does not have the typical 80%/20% co-pay. Members share medical needs based on qualification. For example on the Gold level of the program, if you had a surgery to remove your gallbladder they would share all of your pre-op testing, all of the surgery, all of the surgeons bill, all of the anesthesiologist bill, all of the charges for the surgery, all of the doctor visits and prescriptions 45 days before the surgery up to 45 days after the surgery, minus the $500 Personal Responsibility.
Code of Conduct
Christian Healthcare Ministries requires each member to adhere to a specific code of conduct.
- No one may use tobacco or illegal drugs.
- No coverage will be provided for medical needs that result from the abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs.
- All members must actively participate in a local church. This is verified by a form that your pastor signs each time there is to be a medical payment.
What Makes them Different
In their own words,
"While all three ministries have their strengths, CHM is different than Samaritan Ministries and MediShare.
Our major strengths are: CHM shares all qualifying medical needs with 100% of the qualifying amount being met. We accept anyone who is a Christian living by biblical principles, attends church regularly, abstains from tobacco and illegal drugs and uses alcohol by biblical teaching. We do not charge members more because they are over the age of 50. Everyone pays the same amount no mater their age, weight, or health. We have a provision to meet pre-existing conditions on the Gold level and Prayer Page portions of our program. CHM exists to help members pay their medical bills and have the lowest administrative costs of any like program of 4%. We do not have a joining fee and anyone who fills out a member application is accepted."
Visit the Christian Healthcare Ministries web site for more information.