Christina Weber Tsirou, Winnetka, CA

Total eligible bills
$9,839
Provider discounts
$4,280
Total bills shared
$5,559

After learning about the U.S. health care law, it became clear to my husband and I that keeping our insurance policy wasn’t something we could afford to do. We faced increasing premiums and deductibles, not to mention an extremely limited health care provider network.

We felt we needed an alternative and prayed for an option that would make sense for us. We started doing research and were very worried until we found CHM through a blog article.

We were intrigued and a little apprehensive. We had no idea that health cost sharing ministries existed and the concept sounded too good to be true. The more we researched and read, the more we felt sure that CHM—a viable, eligible option under the law—was the answer to our prayers.

We took the leap of faith and joined in January 2014, cancelling our insurance policy.

I joined the CHM family with a pre-existing condition: an ovarian cyst that we discovered one year prior to joining. My doctor had taken a watch-and-wait approach, but because we weren’t limited to a specific health care provider network with CHM, I started seeing a new doctor.

From the first ultrasound, the new doctor’s diagnosis was completely different. I was told that the cyst wouldn’t go away on its own. Instead, it would cause more problems the longer it remained. She suggested removal via laparoscopic surgery and I agreed.

As a CHM Gold member, I knew I was eligible for up to $15,000 on the pre-existing conditions sharing schedule during my first year of membership. However, we were still worried because we were new members and unsure of how well the ministry worked. We hadn’t expected to need CHM’s help so soon.

I exchanged a couple of emails with Beth Kabellar, our Needs Processing representative, and was reassured that the surgery—and all related bills—would be shared by CHM. I also spoke with Ken Lefever in the Member Assistance department and again with Beth for more specific medical bill questions. They were both very helpful and deserve an “A+” for member service.

Submitting bills for sharing was easier than I thought, and I really appreciated receiving a postcard from CHM confirming that my bills would be processed for sharing. My husband and I had peace of mind.

It turns out that we needn’t have worried at all. The whole process was smooth, and the biggest speed bump was explaining CHM to our medical providers so we would be billed correctly. But that only took one short conversation.

We were impressed with CHM’s promptness, efficiency and level of commitment to its members’ well being. When I submitted my first batch of bills, I included a note informing CHM that the full amount was due on the day of my surgery. CHM received the bills about two weeks prior to the surgery and I didn’t dream of getting the funds early. However, two days before the procedure I received a call from CHM’s Finance department; the staff member wanted to make sure I had the funds to pay. My check was ready and would be mailed out that day, but it would probably arrive after surgery unless CHM rush-mailed it.

We didn’t want to put an unnecessary burden on the ministry since we had the funds to pay in full, but I was certainly relieved to know that we would be reimbursed so quickly and that our bank account wouldn’t be depleted by this big expense for long. Though I told the staff member that regular mail was fine, we received the check the day after surgery—incredibly fast considering that it was mailed from Ohio to California!* I couldn’t be more grateful to CHM, its members, its staff, and above all, to God for leading us to this amazing ministry.

Today I’m doing well and headed toward a full recovery. I really believe God directed us to CHM. Had we not been members, I wouldn’t have been able to see the new doctor who diagnosed my problem correctly. This medical difficulty—and the support from CHM—has shown us that good things happen when we trust God to show us the way and put our life in His hands.

*Editor’s note: In general, sharing time for medical bills is 60 to 90 days from the date CHM receives your bills. When possible, CHM works with members to expedite sharing, especially if health care providers offer a discount of 40 percent or more. Notify the CHM staff immediately if your provider sets a time limit for reduced charges.

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