There are substantial, fundamental differences between Christian Healthcare Ministries and other health cost sharing ministries or organizations that claim to do health cost sharing. The principal differences are CHM’s emphasis on ministry, transparency, and member protection.
- CHM doesn’t use insurance agents
CHM is a voluntary cost-sharing ministry, not health insurance. As such, CHM doesn’t contract with, incentivize, or authorize insurance agents to “sell” CHM to prospective members. CHM has no insurance products; therefore, members and prospective members are asked to report to the ministry any insurance agent of which they have knowledge who claims the ability to “sell” CHM to prospective members. They are not, and will never be, allowed to do so.
- CHM membership costs are unrelated to age, weight, or health status
No one is denied CHM membership because of their age or health status. CHM never sets or increases a member’s financial gift amount based on age, weight, or any other health-related reason. CHM’s financial gift amounts are fixed and non-discriminatory, in that they are not increased as members age or experience expensive health conditions. No one is ever “cancelled,” or removed from CHM membership, for an expensive health condition.
- No secondary programs or pro-rated bills
When a member joins CHM, they fully join the ministry; for example, an overweight member isn’t consigned to a secondary program or service level. CHM as well does not pro-rate medical bill reimbursements to members based on the amount of financial gifts sent to CHM, but shares the full amount at the earliest possible time.
- CHM uses no third-party vendors in administering services to members
CHM uses no third-party vendors in member recruitment, the management of membership rolls, or the financial gift process, ensuring no for-profit individual or organization is being enriched through members’ financial gifts. If a ministry contracts with a third-party vendor to recruit members or administer the ministry’s bill sharing process, it’s possible for the vendor to reap a financial windfall. Therefore, CHM does not engage in any such arrangement.
- CHM doesn’t compare itself to insurance or insurance products
As CHM isn’t insurance, the ministry doesn’t compare itself to insurance. Health insurance is the choice of many people as a vital component of the overall American health care cost solution. Nevertheless, as CHM isn’t insurance, there is no valid reason for CHM to make pricing, service, or any such comparisons of itself to insurance. For example, the only reference to health insurance on the CHM website informs visitors that CHM isn’t insurance.
- Pre-existing conditions
CHM has two programs under which medical bills can be shared for pre-existing conditions: Gold-level has a three-year schedule totaling $50,000 for pre-existing conditions under maintenance care. Apart from changes in membership levels, and if the member is in good standing, once three years have elapsed a condition is no longer considered pre-existing. The second program is the Prayer Page, through which CHM members voluntarily donate to share in paying bills for pre-existing conditions that meet Prayer Page guidelines. One-hundred percent of these donated funds go toward medical bill payments. In 2019, CHM members donated more than $6.3 million to the Prayer Page, satisfying approximately 4,600 medical bills.
- Submission of Form 990s and independent audits
Though not required by law to do so, CHM complies with Sarbanes-Oxley by annually filing a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, CHM’s operational model enables it to be audited annually by an independent auditing firm, with audit results made available upon request.