Christian healthcare Ministries
The premiums for health insurance are insane.
Most employees have the benefit of an employer paying 75% or more of their health insurance premiums. This easily adds up to $1000s of dollars every year.
We are self-employed. In 2015, health insurance premiums became unreasonable for our (then) family of 5 to afford. We had to find an alternative.
We were very blessed to find Christian Healthcare Ministries.
It’s not health insurance, but it does provide us the peace of mind that insurance provides.
And, after being a CHM member for 3 years, I think it’s better than health insurance. Here’s why.
How does it work?
The general idea is that you share medical costs with other members. You contribute a certain amount each month, similar to an insurance premium. CHM uses those contributions to cover the medical costs of its members.
What happens when you have medical expenses?
Instead of an annual deductible, you have a fixed financial responsibility for each “incident.” An incident is an event that requires medical treatment. Your son breaks his arm (which happened). You have a baby (we did). Each of those is a separate incident.
Your responsibility is based upon your membership level. We have the Gold plan and our responsibility is $500 per incident.
You submit your medical expenses to CHM and they send you a check minus your responsibility amount.
The magic of discounts
Since you are paying cash to the medical provider, they are happy to give you a discount from their “retail” rates. Insurance companies negotiate rates that look like great discounts, but you can get the same 40-60% discount by paying cash. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask! Doctors are happy to give you a discount for paying now because they usually aren’t getting paid for quite some time by insurance companies.
Here’s where the magic comes in.
Any discount you receive is put toward your responsibility with CHM! Our responsibility is $500. If I have a series of bills for the same incident that add up to $1500 and I’m able to get a 40% discount on all of them, that would be a $600 discount and would fulfill my entire responsibility.
That means I would have paid $900 to healthcare providers and CHM is going to send me a check for $900 giving me NO OUT OF POCKET EXPENSE!
How we paid $0 to have a baby
Our first CHM reimbursement expense was a big one, the birth of our 4th child and we had zero out of pocket expense. This was especially nice since we had insurance for the births of our 2nd and 3rd children, but ended up paying everything out of pocket because the insurance company did not cover out of hospital births.
We were able to easily meet our $500 responsibility with a cash discount from our midwife and so the entire cost of the birth and maternity care was covered by CHM. They even cut us a check before the baby was born so that we could pay in full by 36 weeks.
What does it cost?
There are three plans: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The monthly cost is determined by how many “units” you have in your family. You are 1 unit, your spouse is 1 unit and all of your kids are 1 unit together. You will only pay for a maximum of 3 units.
You might be getting ahead of me, but that means if you have one kid or four like us, you’re paying the same amount each month.
Here are the costs per unit for each plan (view more on CHM website):
We also have an additional program called Brother’s Keeper that extends the limits of coverage. The cost is between $300-$400 for this and is well worth it.
We’ve paid $450 per month for our Gold plan for the last three years and it hasn’t gone up once. The membership rates rarely go up from what I’ve seen.
$5,400 a year to cover by family of 6. The last time we shopped for health insurance a few years ago the cost was close to $15,000 with a high deductible.
It’s kind of a no-brainer.
Oh yeah, there also isn’t a network of doctors so you can be treated by whom ever you want. No more playing that game.
What isn’t covered?
Check the guidelines for a complete list, but the main thing to know is that preventative or routine care is not covered. Annual physicals, well-woman and well-child visits fall in to this category. When you consider that you can plan to budget for these expenses and you are saving so much on the overall costs, this isn’t really a big issue.
Who is it not for?
Our family is blessed to not have any ongoing health trials. If you do have a pre-existing condition, there is a waiting period before those expenses are covered. There is more information about this on the CHM website.
We also do not have regular prescription needs, but I believe that could be an issue if you do have that need. Be sure to check on the specifics for your situation.
How do I get more information?
Signing up is easy on the CHM website. You’ll want to review their guidelines so that you have a good understanding of what’s covered and what isn’t.
CHM has a generous referral program. For every new membership you refer, you receive a free month. I’d appreciate it if you used our referral code when signing up. In exchange, we are happy to answer any questions.
Our referral number: 231541