Amy Roberts, Bartlesville, OK
- Total eligible bills
- Provider discounts
- Total bills shared
We’re a homeschooling family with 10 children ages nine months to 19 years.
Ten years ago, we took a leap of faith and joined Christian Healthcare Ministries. CHM has seen us through five births (including three C-sections), many hospitalizations and the crisis of losing our precious daughter, Emily, in 2008. CHM was there every step of the way—sharing our needs, offering support and praying for us. It isn’t just about healthcare—it’s about family.
We joined CHM in 2007 due to rising premiums in the insurance policy offered by my husband’s workplace. Ty and our four kids joined the Silver program, but I eventually signed up for the Gold level* because we knew we wanted to have more children.
We were expecting our fifth child, Emily, and we knew CHM wouldn’t be able to share my bills from that pregnancy since it began before we signed up. However, we decided to make the switch anyway—that’s how strongly we believed health cost sharing was the right option for us.
After a miraculous manual version (manually turning a baby in breech position) Emily was born on July 4 and appeared to be in perfect health despite a difficult pregnancy.
After Thanksgiving, however, Emily’s health deteriorated before our eyes. What first presented itself as a cold quickly morphed into signs of a serious health condition.
After an emergency room visit that turned into an overnight stay, our five-month-old underwent bowel surgery. The surgeon told us it wasn’t as simple a procedure as she originally thought; Emily had intestinal malrotation, a congenital condition that caused her small intestine to become black and twisted. After surgery she suffered a serious infection and was in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for 10 days and in the hospital for a total of three weeks.
We were able to take Emily home for her first Christmas and, after a follow-up surgery, her health seemed to improve.
However, in February 2008 she contracted a fever and in a matter of hours became listless and unresponsive. We rushed her to the ER but, despite a flurry of activity, little could be done. I remember seeing her little hand go limp, looking at her face and realizing she was gone. Of course, we were devastated and forever changed by Emily’s death, though there was peace knowing that she went home to be with Jesus and that we’ll see her again someday—healthy and whole.
In time, the Lord blessed us with five more children. Micah, Garin, Creed, Aspen and Mercy were born under CHM’s maternity program.
We had a “system” that we used for each pregnancy: We’d go to the initial OB/GYN appointment, let them know we were with CHM, ask for a discount and a letter confirming that discount, turn it in to the ministry and keep track of our bills via a CHM Needs Processing form.** Our doctor’s office became very familiar with how CHM worked and was always happy to help us without ever requiring a payment schedule while CHM processed our need.
Our youngest child, Mercy, was born in 2016 with Pierre Robin sequence—a different congenital condition—and had to be taken to NICU and intubated immediately following birth. We simply followed the same protocol: we worked with the providers to lower the cost, paid what we could, submitted bills to the ministry and paid off the rest once CHM had shared our bills.
When Mercy had to be transferred to a larger hospital, we were able to choose the one we preferred because we didn’t have to pick from an approved list. We chose a hospital we knew had a solid reputation in handling the health needs of children like Mercy.
CHM shared a total of nearly $75,000 for the births of our younger children and shared over $63,000 for Emily’s treatment. In addition, the ministry has shared multiple thousands of dollars for other ailments our family has experienced during 10 years of membership.
It can sometimes seem daunting to have such an active role in your healthcare. However, by working to lower medical costs, submitting your own bills and working with medical professionals to set up payments you can afford, you become very aware of just how inflated healthcare costs can be.
We learned that providers often are more than willing to come alongside patients and work with them because they understand and appreciate the mission of health cost sharing ministries. It has been well worth the extra bit of legwork to know we have control over our own healthcare.
*Editor’s note: CHM strongly recommends the Gold level for women who may become pregnant. See chministries.org/maternity for more information, including a detailed maternity guide and a free sample log for keeping track of your medical bills.
**The Needs Processing forms are available at chministries.org/needsforms.
To read more about Amy (including Emily’s story), visit her blog at raisingarrows.net.