When Life Pointe Church (Fort Collins, Colo.) needed to cut costs, its staff decided to look into healthcare alternatives. After an individual in the 600-member congregation suggested looking into Christian Healthcare Ministries, the church staff researched the CHM program.
“We investigated a few different options for health cost sharing ministries, but CHM was the only one we found that offered a group option,” said Steve Paxton, Executive Pastor. That fact, in addition to CHM’s case-by-case consideration of group needs and characteristics, made it an easy decision. “We could not have made the change without the unique options CHM made available to us,” Paxton said.
Still, there were initial concerns among the six families—two with college-age children, two with school-age children (1st grade through junior high) and two with young children (age five and under)—participating in Life Pointe Church’s group membership. “We had some uncertainty as to how our healthcare would work with CHM,” said Paxton. “However, the ministry staff was—and continues to be—extremely helpful in walking our group through the process.”
Additionally, getting used to the idea of pursuing medical bill discounts and being—in the eyes of healthcare providers—self-pay patients required a change in mindset. It didn’t take long, though, as Paxton noted: “We love that any discounts or write-offs we receive go toward our personal responsibility amount!”
Life Pointe Church has taken advantage of a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), a tax-favored medical savings plan, for incidental medical expenses not eligible for CHM sharing. The group members manage the HRA themselves by putting a specific amount of money into each person’s account on the 15th of the month. As families incur expenses, they fill out a form to document it—just as they would an expense report. Within the same week of form submission, a check is issued to the employee.
Having just passed their six-year anniversary with CHM, the group members from Life Pointe Church are still happy with their decision. “We have seen our health care costs cut in half by switching to CHM, and we expect that to continue—and even improve—as health insurance rates continue to skyrocket,” said Paxton. “CHM provides better service with fewer risks, and it put us in control of our health care. No regrets.”
Editor’s note: For more information about group memberships, e-mail email@example.com or call 1-800-791-6225, ext. 1002.