What to do when you need medical care

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 you are a Gold member and 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).


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. Here is a list of healthcare providers that other CHM members have recommended.

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.


General information

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:

1) the patient’s name;
2) the date of service;
3) the place of service;
4) the procedural (CPT) codes (or description of services rendered);
5) an itemized list of charges.

2. Ask for a discount (bill reduction). Build a relationship with your provider(s). Asking for a discount is seeking the same consideration that insured patients receive (due to discounted rates negotiated by their insurers). Many providers will extend a discount to you because it usually means they receive faster payment and experience less hassle and paperwork. Discounts represent roughly 60 percent of all medical bills submitted to CHM, so please don’t be shy about asking.

3. Whenever possible, contact the CHM Member Advocate department before accepting a discount or making a payment on a bill of $1,000 or more. If you have difficulty obtaining a significant discount (at least 40 percent), our staff can help negotiate with your healthcare provider(s) to make sure you get the best possible price for your medical care. Remember that if you pay the bill up-front, negotiations cease. Please don’t make full payment up-front. See #5 below.

4. Apply for any financial assistance available. This practice is valuable because it helps keep monthly financial gifts low. CHM requests, but doesn't require, that members seek out state and federal funds allocated to assist patients whose income falls within a defined economic level and are eligible for assistance.

5. Ask providers to bill you directly and set up a payment plan with your providers. Work with your providers to make whatever monthly payments you can afford until CHM members share your eligible need, at which time their voluntary gifts reimburse your expenditures. Even minimal payments will reassure most providers that the bills will be paid.

6. When you receive your itemized bills, send copies of each bill to Christian Healthcare Ministries, along with the completed sharing request packet. CHM must receive your relevant itemized medical bills and all the necessary forms within six months of the date of service for the sharing "clock" to begin. Send the bills immediately—even if a discount is pending—because bills are shared by CHM in the order they are received by our office. You can submit bills online through the Member Portal.



Be sure to also visit our maternity page.

1. As soon as you learn you're pregnant, call our Maternity Support Team to receive education on what your best healthcare options are.

2. Ask for a prepayment agreement on your clinic/hospital/doctor’s letterhead. These charges are often bundled as a one or two-day stay (sometimes called a “global fee” or “Stork Package”) and are significantly less expensive than being admitted to a facility when it’s time to give birth. When asking for a hospital prepayment agreement, keep in mind that room and board charges are not always included in the quoted price. Please also be sure to include the list of services included (or CPT code) and due date the prepayment agreement needs to be paid by.

3. Immediately submit the prepayment agreement and/or bills to the Christian Healthcare Ministries office. In most cases costs can be shared before your baby is born. Notify the CHM office immediately if your healthcare provider sets a time limit for reduced charges (seven months is common).

4. Any charge (lab, sonogram, etc.) incurred after the original agreement/bills are submitted should be sent to CHM as an “add-on” to the initial amount. Keep in mind that we need a letter explaining medical necessity if you incur more than three ultrasound charges.

Please note: Maternity expenses are eligible for sharing on the Gold level only. Women must have a due date for delivery at least 300 days on the Gold level for bills to be eligible for sharing. Please see the Guidelines for more information.

Quality care is a choice you make

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—quite literally

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.

©2023 Christian Healthcare Ministries. All rights reserved.