In emergency situations
Immediately seek medical care. Getting well is your first priority. When your condition is stable, you, a friend or a family member responsible for your care can follow the steps under “General information” below.
If your condition is not critical but requires immediate care, consider if an urgent care center will meet your needs (emergency rooms are usually more expensive than urgent care centers—and it can take longer for you to be seen). While CHM Gold members can share eligible medical bills from urgent care, consider urgent care no matter your level as it could be less expensive to you as a self-pay patient.
In non-emergency situations
1. Consider shopping around for healthcare providers in your area. Many healthcare providers reduce their charges for self-pay patients. Though as a CHM member, you may go to any hospital or doctor’s office, selective “shopping” helps lower the cost of your medical care because you often can receive the same service at a lower price. The only restriction to choosing a provider is making sure the care they provide falls under the Guidelines.
2. If it’s a general health issue, try using your free access to HealthiestYou™. With HealthiestYou™, you can conveniently talk to a U.S. board-certified doctor 24/7 via phone or video for free. Commonly addressed medical conditions include respiratory infections, cold and flu symptoms, allergies, skin irritations, pink eye, and much more.
3. Follow the steps under “General information” below.
Be sure to also visit our provider interaction page.
1. CHM is not insurance, so inform your healthcare provider(s) that you’re a self-pay patient and present your CHM card. Tell your providers you would like to be billed directly with itemized medical bills.
An itemized bill contains:
- The patient’s name;
- The date of service;
- The place of service;
- The procedural (CPT) codes (or description of services rendered);
- An itemized list of charges.
2. Ask for a discount (bill reduction). Build a relationship with your provider(s). Asking for a self-pay discount or a reduced rate is seeking the same consideration that insured patients receive (due to discounted rates negotiated by their insurers). Many providers will extend a discount to patients requesting a reduced rate because it usually means they receive faster payment and experience less hassle and paperwork.
3. Prior to paying bills totaling $1,000 or more from an individual healthcare provider, please contact Member Advocate when the following circumstances apply:
- You’re unable to obtain a self-pay discount
- You obtain a significant discount, but the provider has a deadline for payment, and you’re unable to pay out-of-pocket
4. Apply for any financial assistance available. Most hospitals are required to provide certain types of medical care for free or at a reduced cost. As self-pay patients, CHM members may qualify for financial assistance programs that are offered by the hospital. Likewise, state and federal governments also allocate money toward healthcare for individuals whose incomes fall within a defined economic level.
5. Ask providers to bill you directly and set up a payment plan with your providers. Work with your provider to set up a monthly payment plan until your eligible medical costs have been processed and reimbursed in accordance with the CHM Guidelines.
6. When you receive your itemized bills, send copies of each bill to Christian Healthcare Ministries, along with the completed Sharing Request Packet via the Member Portal. The sharing clock begins when CHM receives your itemized bills and all of the necessary forms. However, all medical bills must be submitted within 6 months of their date of service to be considered for sharing. Bills are processed in the order they are received by our office.
Choosing a healthcare provider
While there’s a huge advantage to choosing your own provider, there are also many options. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to find the right one for you. CHM’s Medical Director, Dr. Jacobson, offers tips for finding the right provider.
Your treatment is a shared decision
Another advantage of CHM is that your treatment decisions are between you and your doctor. Dr. Jacobson discusses the importance of shared decision-making in a medical situation and how to view your role and your provider’s role in the process.