Baby contracts virus, CHM shares more than $123,000, Celisa and Erik Smith, Elko, Nevada

Total eligible bills
Provider discounts
Total bills shared

More than three years ago we came to a point where our health program wasn’t a reasonable option. We live in a rural mining town, so the local doctors would take mining insurance but not our private healthcare program.

A friend of ours told us about CHM. We did as much research as we could before we cautiously dropped our previous program and put our trust in fellow Christians. This decision came with a little anxiety because CHM is health cost sharing—something different than what I’d previously experienced.

A little over a year after joining CHM, we welcomed our sixth child, a girl we named Katya. Everything went well with the pregnancy and delivery. Having done this five times before, it appeared to be another non-eventful experience for us.

However, 12 days later, Katya contracted Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which causes infection in the lungs and respiratory tract. We took her to our local ER, which identified her condition as critical. The local hospital was unable to provide adequate care, so they transferred our 13-day-old baby to a larger hospital in Salt Lake City. She was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Once there, her condition worsened.

She had a partially collapsed lung and was intubated for 48 hours. When they took out the breathing tube, she still needed help breathing from a bi-pap machine. After two days in the hospital and 10 more days in the PICU, she finally breathed on her own. We were able to take her home and provided close medical attention.

After a month’s time she was much improved. While she was in the hospital, I stayed by her side day and night. Though I knew that the medical costs were adding up, I wanted to focus on caring for Katya while she worked hard to breathe. After her hospital stay, however, we knew we needed to take care of the hospital bills. For each bill, we called the provider and discussed self-pay discounts. We also set up payment plans while we sent our itemized bills and medical bill processing forms to CHM. We put our trust in God that at least some of the costs would be shared by CHM.

Between my pregnancy and Katya’s RSV, before discounts our bills totaled over $200,000. We were able to get more than $77,000 in discounts. Here’s the amazing part: CHM members shared the remaining amount of over $123,000. We shed tears of joy!

My husband and I have been thrilled with our experience as CHM members. We don’t have to worry about paying large out-of-pocket costs before receiving assistance. CHM made our lives so much easier during a very stressful time. We have truly felt ministered to through this ministry of caring, God-honoring Christians.

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