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Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), is the longest-serving and most popular HealthShare ministry in the United States. Christian Healthcare Ministries has biblically and faithfully supported the needs of their members since 1981, with over $6 billion in medical bills shared as of 2021. Their mission statement is to glorify God, show Christian love, and experience God’s presence as Christians share each other’s medical bills. The ministry claims that Christians have a 2,000-year history of meeting each other’s needs and that their Healthshare is a modern interpretation of that tradition. Keep reading for a full Christian Healthcare Ministries review.
Apart from being the longest-running Healthshare, Christian Healthcare Ministries is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and has been featured on The Ramsey Show. They can serve their members internationally, they offer some maternity sharing for the top plan, and also an optional add-on feature, Brother’s Keeper, for catastrophic care. Additionally, CHM keeps admin costs super low, claiming to use only 1% of shares for administration.
You should know that to be a CHM member, you must be a member of a Christian denomination who worships as regularly as health permits. You must also actively follow the teachings of the New Testament in its entirety: using moderation with alcohol and completely avoiding illegal drugs, nicotine, tobacco, smoking devices, and sexual immorality. As the O.G. Christian HealthShare, these requirements are to be expected.
Pricing for being a member of Christian Healthcare Ministries is determined by the number of people that will be enrolled. They refer to each individual as a “unit.” If you’re just one person, you would be one unit. However, the most amount of units you ever have to pay for is 3. So if you were a family of 5, you are still only paying for 3 units. This helps manage costs for families with multiple children.
There are three participation levels: Gold, Silver, and Bronze (detailed below).
The Gold program is Christian Healthcare Ministries highest and most extensive program. The program costs $172per unit per month. For an individual, you only have to pay for $172/month. For a family of 5, you’re looking at just over $500 a month — which is still fairly inexpensive for an entire family. CHM shares “100 percent of bills for any medical incident exceeding $500, as long as all the other guidelines are met.” The limit for each incident is $125,000. The Gold program removes the $125,000 per illness cap when adding Brother’s Keeper.
The second tier is Silver. On Silver, your Personal Responsibility is $2,500 per incident instead of $500. Any discount you receive from your medical provider counts toward your Personal Responsibility. Silver costs $118 per unit per month, and shares inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery (performed at facilities that meet accepted standards of medical care). CHM shares eligible bills up to $125,000 per illness. However, this limit can be extended through Brother’s Keeper.
The lowest tier is the Bronze program. At the Bronze level, pricing is $78 per unit per month, and shares inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery performed at facilities that meet accepted standards of medical care. CHM shares eligible bills up to $125,000 per illness. However, this limit can be extended through Brother’s Keeper. Bronze Personal Responsibility per incident is $5,000, though any discounts you receive from your medical provider counts toward your Personal Responsibility.
Christian Healthcare Ministries has a program for catastrophic medical expenses called Brother’s Keeper. This program removes the $125,000 sharing limit per illness. Members on the Gold program have unlimited sharing for eligible medical bills. For members on the Silver or Bronze program, the sharing limit increases each year accruing up to $1 million per illness.
Signing up for Christian Healthcare Ministries is fairly easy. They have an application page where they ask for information on you and, if applicable, your family. Your membership starts on the date you request. After you join, CHM staff will send your welcome pack and membership cards to the address you listed.
Christian Healthcare Ministries seem to have a pretty simple process for paying. CHM withdraws program costs each month and sends them straight to the ministry. So, you don’t need to worry about sending your money to actual members. The ministry transfers those funds for you.
Eligible bills are shareable after a member has paid their Personal Responsibility for a medical incident. (Note: this cost depends on which program they signed up for). Members submit their bills and a few forms to CHM, then wait for reimbursement.
CHM stresses that you will be handling your healthcare, though they do have departments to help you work with providers and are always eager to help with any questions you may have. Some ministries deal with providers directly so members don’t stress about the bills, but this doesn’t seem to be one of them. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; enough medical providers resist working directly with health sharing ministries that reimbursement can actually be simpler. Just be aware that CHM’s focus on reimbursement and responsible payment of medical bills is in the membership guidelines. Members must pay their providers within 30 days of receiving their reimbursement; not doing so can lead to terminated membership.
CHM is not a great option for anyone wanting preventive care and maintenance. Only one plan offers sharing for prescriptions and trips to the doctor (and only for incident-based issues; no routine checkups). That said, it is a long-running and respected sharing ministry. CHM might be great for people concerned about paying larger medical bills and not worried about affording routine care. It might also be a good supplementary option for people who are already participating in Medicare Parts A and B. CHM is one of few HealthShares willing to help people living abroad and their encouragement of member-to-member communication seems admirable.
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