CHM for newbies: I joined; now what?

From the February 2020 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.

You’ve submitted your application and are now a member of the CHM family. Welcome! To have your best experience, as you review your welcome packet, here are some important things to do or keep in mind:

  1. Submit your Checklist of Understanding. Included in the CHM welcome packet, the Checklist of Understanding is an easy-to-complete form that confirms your understanding of CHM as a health cost sharing ministry (not insurance) and that you are voluntarily serving the body of Christ through your monthly gifts. As a member, you have become part of a family that supports one another prayerfully and financially. It’s important that our members know and understand, without question, what CHM is and what it isn’t.

  2. Read the Guidelines. The CHM Guidelines are the roadmap for ministry members. The Guidelines explain what is, and isn’t, eligible for sharing. Understanding how the ministry works and key CHM terms enables you to have more effective conversations when interacting with CHM staff—and can prevent frustration down the road.

  3. You choose your provider. You read that right! As long as the service rendered is eligible for sharing per the CHM Guidelines and your participation level, other members will assist you financially. Therefore, CHM does not have a provider network you’re required to use.

  4. Here’s what to do when you need medical care:

If you’re in an emergency situation, seek medical care right away. Take care of yourself first; when you’re stable, you or the person responsible for your care can then follow CHM’s step-by-step guide for submitting medical bills.

If it’s not an emergency, consider shopping around in your area for healthcare providers. There are a variety of resources that will help you find the best value, including newchoicehealth.com and healthcarebluebook.com. These websites calculate fair prices in your area and help you get quotes from various hospitals and clinics.

If you’re pregnant, congratulations! We’re excited for you. When you receive medical care, ask your providers for a prepayment agreement. Submit with the sharing request packet your prepayment agreement and any add-on bills. With this information, CHM is often able to share these bills before your baby is born. Find more information at chministries.org/maternity.

When interacting with your providers, be sure to let them know that you are a self-pay patient who would like to be billed directly with itemized medical bills. Ask your providers for a self-pay discount and apply for any financial assistance. We also recommend setting up a payment plan with your providers; CHM members will reimburse you for payments you’ve made on eligible medical expenses. When you receive your itemized bills, send copies of them to CHM with your completed sharing request packet.

  1. Explore the Member Portal. The secure Member Portal is helpful for multiple reasons. You can submit your Checklist of Understanding, make online payments, download the sharing request packet and submit medical bills online—along with several other handy features. Instructions for registering your account can be found in your welcome packet.

  2. CHM doesn’t have insurance agents. CHM is a voluntary health cost sharing ministry, not health insurance. Because of that, CHM does not contract, incentivize, or in any other manner work with insurance agents to bring new members into the ministry. In fact, it’s illegal for agents to “bundle” or “sell” CHM—all decisions and actions to join and participate in this ministry must come directly from the member themselves, as does any interaction with the ministry. If an insurance agent has attempted to “sell” you a CHM membership, please contact us at editor@chministries.org. We would love to go over your membership with you and make sure you aren’t paying additional costs and that you’re getting the most out of your membership.

  3. We want to pray for you. CHM is a ministry. Members come together to support each other financially and spiritually. If you have prayer requests, please call, email or message us. We’d love to pray for you at that moment, and with your permission, send your prayer request to members across the country.

Additional helpful resources:

  • The best time to make sure you’re on the right level is before you incur any medical bills. To see more about each level, visit chministries.org/program-costs.
  • We’d love to connect with you on social media! On page five of this edition of Heartfelt, you can learn more about our social media platforms.
  • CHM’s website contains videos that walk members through submitting medical bills and other aspects of the ministry: chministries.org/videos.

For more information, check out our page for new members. There you’ll be able to find the digital welcome pack and FAQs geared towards new members.

©2020 Christian Healthcare Ministries. All rights reserved.