Jennifer Johnson, Lakeside, CA
- Total eligible bills
- Provider discounts
- Total bills shared
Due to Chad's, my husband, job change last year, our family moved over 400 miles to Lakeside, Calif., after 27 years of living further north in Modesto, Calif. I began looking for some cost-effective health cost support.
Some good friends highly recommended Christian Healthcare Ministries. Our teenage son, Xavien, and I joined the Gold and Brother’s Keeper programs in Oct. 2017. (Editor’s note: Brother’s Keeper is CHM’s program for catastrophic medical bills.)
Jan. 9, 2018, was literally a dark and stormy night. We regularly care for Rugar, a friend’s quarter horse. That night my daughter-in-law, Jessica, was helping me feed him. Dressed to the nines in rain gear and a head lamp, I ducked inside the barn to pull the feeder trough under the awning and out of the rain.
Apparently not satisfied with his supper, Rugar kicked me in the head and I immediately blacked out.
Jessica quickly called 9-1-1 and an ambulance soon arrived.
I came to after a few minutes with a numb face and profuse bleeding from my chin. Having never experienced an emergency like this, I was scared but trusted that I was in good hands.
On the way to the hospital, the tears started to flow. Yes, I had a concussion and was in pain, but the fear I couldn’t erase from my mind was what this would cost and how we would pay for it. I manage the family finances and I knew this would be an expense that definitely wouldn’t fit into our budget!
I received excellent care at the hospital along with nine stitches to help heal the gash on my chin.
During my recovery, I talked with the friends who referred us to CHM. They had submitted medical bills to the ministry and assured me that it would be easy to send my bills via the CHM online Member Portal (chministries.org/members). That helped put my restless mind at ease.
I read and reread CHM’s advice on talking with healthcare providers’ billing offices. I asked, verbatim, for a discount on each bill. A couple of providers said no. Another one seemed hesitant and said they’d never had that question before.
However, the hospital bill—the most significant charge—would be reduced 40 percent if I could pay within a certain timeframe. I called CHM and explained the situation. The staff worked quickly to meet the deadline and a bill of over $47,000 was reduced to just over $28,000—an expense that CHM members shared. (Editor’s note: Please contact CHM’s Member Advocate department at 1-800-791-6225, ext. 5002, if your healthcare provider sets a deadline for a discount of 40 percent or more on a bill more than $1,000.)
I also learned that CHM doesn’t share most medical transportation bills, so I was determined to negotiate my ambulance bill. It was a bit of a wild goose chase getting in touch with the right person because I wasn’t sure which company transported me. I spent a few hours calling around, but eventually found out the $1,300 charge was written off. Another blessing!
Today I’m doing well. The only reminders of my accident are a scar on my chin and a few forgetful moments—though my husband teases me that those moments are due to age, not my concussion.
My ordeal and the resulting treatment and costs taught me that I need to trust God more. I’m sometimes slow to learn that I can’t control my own destiny but the accident proved that each moment is in God’s hands, not mine. When fear set in, He gave me peace that everything was going to work out fine if I just stopped worrying and let Him take over.
Words just aren’t enough to express my gratitude to CHM and its members. Thank you so much!