Editor’s note: Most of this information is also available in our easy-to-follow “How to submit medical bills” video at chministries.org/videos.
Researching the right resources and using the right tools
Selective “shopping”: In non-emergency situations, shopping for healthcare providers and services is a great way to save on costs—for you and other members—without compromising the quality of care.
A number of services can help in your search. For example, healthcarebluebook.com, hospitalcostcompare.com, fmma.org/shophealth, mdsave.com or newchoicehealth.com will help you gauge fair medical prices for various procedures. You can also easily find doctors and specialists online using some or all of the following sites: chministries.org/providerlist, cmda.org (“Member Search Directory” button at the bottom of the home page), zocdoc.com, dpcfrontier.com and healthgrades.com.
Prepare your prescriptions: Compile your prescription information and visit chmrx.com to shop for the lowest prices on prescription medication. There are no fees or enrollment requirement. Many other prescription services, such as goodrx.com, are described on the CHM provider pages.
Learn the lingo: Learning a few simple terms can give you confidence when speaking with your healthcare providers.
- Financial assistance: As a health cost sharing ministry, CHM is secondary to all other payment sources (health, property, and auto insurance; government aid; hospital charity programs; Worker’s Compensation; etc.) You’ll first be asked to submit your medical costs to any source available or willing to pay prior to CHM members sharing the remaining eligible amount of your bills.
- Self-pay patient: Since CHM isn’t an insurance company, members are technically considered self-pay patients and are encouraged to ask for self-pay discounts.
- Prompt pay discount: A prompt pay discount is sometimes offered by healthcare providers if you pay the bill in full within a specified timeframe. Be careful, though: often the discounts aren’t substantial and a better discount could be negotiated by you or CHM’s Member Advocate Department. For more information about when and how to pay medical bills, see CHM Guideline L at chministries.org/guidelines.
- Itemized bill: CHM needs itemized medical bills to share your healthcare costs. Receipts and even some providers’ account statements don’t contain everything necessary to process your sharing request. An itemized bill has five components:
1. the patient’s name
2. the place of service
3. the date of service
4. the procedural (CPT) codes
5. an itemized list showing charges for each service
Use the Member Portal: You can submit medical bills online via the CHM Member Portal and by clicking “Submit Medical Need Online” in the main menu. You can also view a history of submitted documents and download a handy sample medical bill log (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) to track medical bill arrival dates, submission to CHM, payments you’ve made to your providers, and more.
First-time portal users need to register for an account. To do so, you’ll need your six-digit CHM member number and your portal access code. Both can be found on each of your monthly Member Gift Form billing statements.
Sending CHM the right info—at the right time
Regardless of circumstances, all CHM members who desire to have their medical bills shared must submit the member bill processing forms, available on the Member Portal and elsewhere on our website (chministries.org/needsforms). The forms include:
- Member bill processing form (also called the Medical Needs Processing Form)
- Member bill worksheet (also called the Needs Processing Worksheet)
- HIPAA-compliant Medical Release Form
- Letter of Explanation (description)
- Prayer Page Request Form (required only for pre-existing conditions)
In addition, CHM must receive the following items:
Medicare members: Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or Explanation of Benefits (EOB), plus itemized bills for any non-routine prescriptions.
Expectant mothers: A prepayment agreement from your OB/GYN and hospital (if applicable) is highly recommended. More information is available in the downloadable Gold program maternity guide.
All other members: itemized medical bills or standardized billing forms (CMS-1450/UB-04 or a CMS 1500; your healthcare providers will know what these are). See “Itemized bill” above, under “Learn the lingo.”
CHM must receive your medical bill processing forms along with your itemized bill, standardized billing form or Medicare Summary Notice within six months of the date of service for bills to be eligible for sharing. Your documents can be submitted through any of the following methods:
- CHM’s secure Member Portal (see above for details):
- by mail: Christian Healthcare Ministries, Attn: Member Bill Processing, 127 Hazelwood Ave., Barberton, OH 44203
- by fax: 330-848-4322, 330-848-2166, or 330-798-8041
- Please note that emails are not a secure way of submitting your confidential medical information.