Frequently asked questions

Overview
What is Christian Healthcare Ministries?

Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is a nonprofit, voluntary cost-sharing ministry through which participating Christians have helped to pay each other's medical bills since 1981. CHM is based on Galatians 6:2 and Acts 2 and 4. CHM members have shared nearly $4.5 billion in medical bills. The ministry is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

How does CHM work?

Please see How it works for information.

What are the advantages of becoming a CHM member?
  • Affordable and compassionate
  • Generous maternity program
  • Choose your own healthcare providers
  • No application fee or annual fee
  • No one is dropped or denied membership due to medical conditions
  • Monthly financial gifts are not increased based on age, weight, medical conditions, etc.
  • Medical bill discounts
  • Longevity, integrity and accountability
  • One free month for each new individual or family you bring to CHM
  • Knowing that each financial gift goes to help a fellow Christian as fellow Christians are standing by to help you! (Luke 6:38)

 

Is Christian Healthcare Ministries included in the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare?

Individuals who are members of a health cost sharing ministry are exempted from penalty under the national health care bill (Patient and Protection Affordable Care Act or Obamacare). Christian Healthcare Ministries meets each of the qualifications set forth for health cost sharing ministries in the U.S. health care legislation.

To learn more, visit our Affordable Care Act page.

 

Participation & cost
How much does it cost to participate in CHM? Does CHM have different programs from which I can choose?

Christian Healthcare Ministries offers three programs: Gold ($150 per unit, per month), Silver ($85 per unit, per month) and Bronze ($45 per unit, per month). The Brother’s Keeper program for catastrophic medical bills is an optional (but highly recommended) program with a nominal additional cost.

How frequently are monthly gift amounts raised?

While it’s impossible to predict the future health, well-being and medical costs of our members, it is our goal to keep gift amounts as low as possible. Our record shows that we are meeting this goal in spite of rising medical costs.

CHM hasn’t increased monthly financial gifts in over 10 years (Jan. 1, 2008). Even then, the increase was minimal. For example, the monthly Gold program financial gift went from $135 to $150 per month. Helping us keep gift amounts low is the fact that we are a ministry, not a for-profit corporation.

Are my financial gifts tax deductible?

Your normal monthly gift amount required for membership is not tax deductible; however, all extra giving over and above your minimum monthly gift to Christian Healthcare Ministries (including Prayer Page giving) qualifies as a charitable contribution for tax purposes. Christian Healthcare Ministries, Inc. is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Where do I send my monthly gift?

Monthly gifts (and any extra giving) should be sent to Christian Healthcare Ministries at the following address:

Christian Healthcare Ministries
Attn: Gift Processing
127 Hazelwood Ave.
Barberton, OH 44203

Financial gifts are placed into a Member Escrow Account, which undergoes an annual, independent audit.

Members from the states of Maryland or Delaware are asked to contact the Member Services department at 1-800-791-6225 to find out where to send their monthly gifts. Automatic, recurring giving through credit card or bank withdrawal can be set up by filling out the applicable section of the Member Application.

 

Submitting medical bills
What does it mean when you say "share medical bills" or "meet needs"?

Christian Healthcare Ministries is not an insurance company. As a voluntary cost-sharing ministry, we do not assume responsibility or the legal obligation for your medical bills. CHM members reimburse each other for qualifying medical bills through monthly, pre-set financial gifts. Christian Healthcare Ministries members have shared nearly $4.5 billion in medical costs!

What kinds of bills are eligible for sharing?

The eligibility of any bill is ultimately determined by Christian Healthcare Ministries Guidelines. To obtain a copy of the Guidelines, click here or contact CHM at 1-800-791-6225 and ask for the Ministry Information department.

You can submit bills for conditions or incidents involving signs or symptoms that began after your start date (a future day you specify or the day Christian Healthcare Ministries receives your printed or online member application). Members in each program (Gold, Silver, Bronze) may submit bills for inpatient or outpatient hospital visits or surgery, provided all other criteria are met. Gold level members also may submit bills for medical tests, office visits, and prescriptions if all other criteria are met.

 

Are maternity bills eligible for sharing?

Christian Healthcare Ministries offers a maternity program at no extra cost to members. CHM members share qualifying bills for Gold level members up to $125,000 (unlimited sharing support with Brother's Keeper) per pregnancy for pre-natal care, delivery, home births, midwives, postnatal care and birth complications. Silver and Bronze exclude most maternity costs. Click here for more information and to learn how maternity works with our Silver and Bronze programs.

What is a pre-existing condition? Are bills from my pre-existing condition eligible for sharing?

A pre-existing condition is any medical illness with signs, symptoms, testing or treatment predating membership in Christian Healthcare Ministries (even if it has not been diagnosed). During the first three years of membership, Gold level members may receive assistance with certain bills for pre-existing conditions according to an annual schedule. For more information and further opportunity to receive help with certain pre-existing conditions, see the pre-existing conditions section.

What is the maximum amount that CHM will share for a need?

Christian Healthcare Ministries shares a maximum lifetime limit of $125,000 for each illness that qualifies according to CHM Guidelines. For information about health cost support of up to $1 million or more, see the Brother's Keeper page.

How long does it take CHM to share my medical costs?

In general, eligible medical needs are shared by CHM members in the order they are received at the Christian Healthcare Ministries office. The time it takes to share needs is dependent on numerous factors. For example, the bigger the healthcare provider's discount, the sooner the need is shared. Recent average sharing time can take up to 120 days from the date medical bills are received at our offices. We continually work to shorten sharing time.

Monthly financial gifts to CHM are not increased because you become sick or injured. You are not priced out of membership, neither are you removed from participation because you suffer an expensive illness. We will do everything we can to meet your medical costs as quickly as possible.

How do I submit a medical need to CHM?

When you have an eligible medical need, submit the following items to CHM:

1. The CHM Needs Processing Forms

2. Copies of your itemized medical bills –OR– your Medicare Summary Notice (Medicare members) –OR– prepayment agreements from your OB/hospital (expectant mothers).

You have three options to send medical bills to CHM (emailing bills is discouraged because it isn’t a secure method of transmission):

1. Online: Log into your Member Portal account and click “Submit Medical Need Online”

2. Mail: Send your bills and Needs Processing Forms to: Christian Healthcare Ministries / Attn: Needs Processing / 127 Hazelwood Ave., Barberton, OH 44203

3. Fax: Fax your bills and forms to us at 330-848-4322.

Please watch our video on how to submit medical bills. Be sure to keep copies of anything you mail for your personal records.

When I have a medical need, how do I know the amount for which I'm responsible?

Faith requires mutual sharing of needs. According to Galatians 6:2-5, every believer should “carry his own load” in addition to bearing the burdens of others. Christian Healthcare Ministries practices this principle through the concept of personal responsibility. Personal Responsibility for Silver and Bronze members is $1,000 and $5,000 per medical incident, respectively. (Bill discounts, health insurance, Medicare, or other assistance can apply toward your Personal Responsibility amount and reduce out-of-pocket costs.) Gold members: CHM shares 100 percent of bills for any medical incident exceeding $500 as long as all other Guidelines are met. (Total bills incurred per incident must exceed $500 in order to be eligible for sharing.)

Can I choose my own healthcare provider?

You may receive treatment from any healthcare provider if the treatment is within CHM Guidelines. A searchable list of providers recommended by members is available by clicking here. We also recommend that you visit www.healthcarebluebook.com for helpful information on fair pricing for medical services. For help negotiating medical bills, contact the Member Advocate department at 1-800-791-6225, ext. 5002.

Becoming a member
Do I qualify? How can I join?

Please see How it works for information.

Will my application be turned down for health reasons?

No. No one is excluded from participating in sharing. However, Christian Healthcare Ministries cannot share bills for treatment of ineligible medical conditions (see the CHM Guidelines). For detailed information regarding pre-existing conditions, visit our pre-existing conditions section or see the CHM Guidelines.

I have Medicare. Can I still be a member?

Yes. However, you must have Medicare parts A and B to submit medical needs for sharing. Your fellow members will help meet the costs of what Medicare will not pay (according to your program). For more information, visit our Medicare page.

I don't live in the United States. Can I still be a member?

Yes. But please note that CHM members must have access to a U.S. mailing address or reliable Internet service capable of receiving emails with attached files. All bills submitted must be translated into English and converted to U.S. dollars.

What is a unit?

A unit is defined as one qualifying individual. Monthly gifts are given based on the number of units, whether individual or family. Any family with three or more qualifying immediate family members would be considered three units total. (For example, a father, mother and their four children would be considered three units.) For more information, click here.

 

Telling others about CHM
What is Bring-a-Friend?

Bring-a-Friend is a referral program in which members encourage Christian friends, neighbors and extended family to join CHM and experience the joy of knowing that their monthly giving will also help other Christians with their medical bills.

You will receive a free month for every new membership you bring into CHM. The free month is applied after your friend submits his or her third monthly financial gift. Those who bring a friend each month can be part of Christian Healthcare Ministries for free! Please see the Bring-a-Friend page for more information.

As a professional, how can I promote CHM to my clients?

Since CHM is a nonprofit ministry and is not insurance, we’re not able to offer remuneration to individuals who promote CHM in their profession. Please note that CHM cannot be “sold” by insurance agents or bundled with any insurance product of any kind. However, any individual who joins CHM has the opportunity to earn free months of membership via the Bring-a-Friend referral program when others join CHM as a result of their efforts. Visit our Get more info page to request that free CHM promotional materials be sent to your home or place of business.

How do I submit my CHM story for consideration in Heartfelt Magazine?

Thank you for your interest in sharing your CHM experience with other members! We’d love to consider your testimony for a future magazine article. Simply email editor@chministries.org with your name, a description of why you joined CHM, the events leading up to your diagnosis, the treatment process, how you are doing now, what the medical bills sharing process was like and what God taught you during your medical journey. Additionally, please include a large or high resolution image of you or you with your family. Testimony and article submissions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, are subject to editing by CHM, and will be sent to the person who submitted the request for his or her review prior to printing. Please note that CHM does not feature book reviews, product or service advertisements or stories that do not focus on the CHM member experience.

 

Miscellaneous questions
How does CHM help support its members spiritually?

We at Christian Healthcare Ministries believe that supporting each other spiritually is as important as the financial support members receive. Through the prayer cards accompanying the monthly Member Gift Form billing statement, the Prayer Page and the Brother’s Keeper program, members have the opportunity to reach out to each other through prayer, cards and notes of encouragement. CHM staff also pray daily for members, especially those who have submitted prayer requests by mail, email, or telephone.

Many staff members are prayer warriors available to pray with you over the phone at your request.

Do you have a prescription program? How does it work?

Christian Healthcare Ministries partners with companies that offer discounts on prescriptions. A free prescription card is included in the new member welcome packet. There is no discount guarantee or set discount amount. For more information, see our prescriptions page.

Why do you have legal notices?

The legal notices are the result of discussions with several state regulators and are part of an effort to make sure that members understand that Christian Healthcare Ministries is not an insurance company and that it does not guarantee payment of medical costs. Our role is to enable Christians to help fellow Christians through voluntary financial gifts. Since 1981, CHM members have faithfully provided for one another in accordance with and as demonstrated in Scripture. Members have shared nearly $4.5 billion to meet each other's medical costs.

What kinds of controls are in place to make sure that CHM operates with integrity and accountability?

Please visit the about us page and read the integrity and accountability section for more information.

Do you have a privacy policy?

Please visit our policies page for more information.

What is the Prayer Page?

The Prayer Page, printed in the monthly Heartfelt Magazine, is another way CHM members carry each other’s burdens. It communicates need amounts from pre-existing conditions, which are not eligible for sharing through the regular CHM program. The Prayer Page does not assist with pre-existing bills; that is, bills incurred prior to joining CHM. Members are encouraged to give to Prayer Page needs (over and above their monthly financial gifts) as they feel led. To make a donation to Prayer Page needs, please call 1-800-791-6225, ext. 5993.

What is the Brother's Keeper program?

Brother’s Keeper is a safeguard against catastrophic illness or injury. Brother’s Keeper is a successful, Bible-centered cost-sharing program enabling members to meet medical needs that exceed Christian Healthcare Ministries’ $125,000 lifetime limit per diagnosis.

Brother’s Keeper is administered by the same standards as the Christian Healthcare Ministries program. Medical need eligibility is determined by CHM Guidelines and your chosen program. You have the option of enrolling in Brother’s Keeper when you complete the CHM Member Application. If you’re already a CHM member, click here to enroll in Brother’s Keeper.

 

Still have questions?

Ask a question online or contact us toll-free at 1-800-791-6225. Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm (Eastern time)

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