Alicia Coombs, Wildomar, California

Total eligible bills
$70,269
Provider discounts
$47,794
Total bills shared
$22,475

My husband and I are self-employed. Being self-employed means getting healthcare on our own can be extremely expensive. When the Affordable Care Act created a penalty for those who didn’t have healthcare cost support, we began looking for other options. We discovered CHM and became members in February 2015, joining at the Bronze level.

My sister and father have had back problems and both needed surgery, so it wasn’t a complete surprise, when over the years, I developed a sharp pain in my lower back. My symptoms progressed as time went on; my back pain became so intense it would lock up and I would lose mobility. The only relief was from icing my back several times a day, which would only gain back a little mobility.

By winter 2018 I began having numbness in my feet and shooting pain down my legs.

I decided to contact spinal specialists. After reviewing my MRI scans, they determined I was a candidate for surgery at their facility.

The thought of back surgery combined with the medical costs disheartened me. As it was the first time I was going to use CHM, I called to explain my situation. My back pain was a maintained pre-existing condition and I was a Bronze level member, which meant my bills were eligible for the ministry’s Prayer Page. (Editor’s note: Members who call CHM asking about sharing eligibility and detailing their circumstances will be given an opinion, not authorization. CHM staff must have your itemized medical bills and sharing request packet to make an accurate determination according to the CHM Guidelines. In some cases, your medical records may also be requested.)

The CHM staff gave me thorough instructions to let my healthcare provider know that I was a cash-pay patient. I was encouraged to hear that my provider had worked with CHM members before and reduced my bills by 80 percent—what a relief!

After my surgery I submitted my forms for the Prayer Page. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, or if I would even receive financial help, but I decided to trust God to provide through His people.

I was a participant on CHM’s Prayer Page for several months and received monthly financial donations to share my expenses. CHM members shared my bills in full—over $22,000, a burden I didn’t have to carry alone!

I have recovered almost fully from my surgery and have now started back at the gym. It’s important that I build strength in my back and take care of my health all the more—I won’t take my health for granted ever again.

I received many cards and letters of encouragement from the CHM family; I was overwhelmed by their support and love. People who in all other respects were strangers came together and shared the financial and emotional burden of my surgery. I had no reason to be fearful of recovery or medical bill costs.

The spiritual and relational support I received while on CHM’s Prayer Page are testaments to how well the ministry of CHM functions. I plan to donate to the Prayer Page and write cards of encouragement because I now understand the importance firsthand. After experiencing the generosity of fellow CHM members, it’s an even greater joy to send my contribution each month!

Praise God for using this wonderful ministry to enact His faithfulness and provision for me. Over and over God showed me that I can trust Him with everything.

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