Sara Kaeb, Cissna Park, Illonois

Total eligible bills
$33,470
Provider discounts
$0
Total bills shared
$33,470

On a cold December day, I picked up a truck at my employer’s farm and headed to the fertilizer plant to get several anhydrous ammonia tanks to take to the field. As I hooked the tanks to the truck, the heavy hitch fell on my left index finger. Oddly, it didn’t hurt. The force of the hitch numbed my finger, and all I felt was an odd sensation—but I knew something was wrong.

When I looked down at my hand, my fingertip was at an odd angle and split from front to back. I wrapped it as best as I could and immediately called my husband. Thankfully, he was only a few minutes away.

It was clear to both of us that I needed emergency care. We went to a local hospital where we’d gone for previous emergencies. When we arrived, an X-ray confirmed that my finger was fractured badly enough to require surgery, which was then scheduled for the next day.

Initially, my broken and damaged finger wasn’t very painful. After surgery, however, the pain was excruciating with my nail removed, sutures from front to back and a metal pin protruding from the end of my finger. My orthopedic doctor explained that my finger would heal fine, but damage to my nail bed was so extensive the nail would be deformed.

This was our first major medical event after joining CHM. I found out about the ministry from a friend who suggested I look at CHM. I’d never before heard of health cost sharing ministries and researched several of them. CHM was the best fit for our family, so my three children and I applied for membership.

I knew from talking with staff members and reading CHM's online instructions that I needed to ask my providers for medical bill discounts. When I informed the hospital and doctors who treated me that I was a self-pay patient, they suggested I apply for financial aid. However, I didn’t qualify for the aid, and per their policy, they did not offer any discounts. After attempting to negotiate with them on my own, I sent the information to CHM where the Member Advocate team negotiated on my behalf. Still, my provider chose not to provide a discount.

Without provider discounts, I wondered if CHM would share my medical bills. I knew discounts are a big part of the framework, and members are encouraged to shop around for discounts before going to a hospital.

I called CHM to express my fears, and they calmly informed me that I didn’t need to worry. My bills were still eligible for sharing even though we weren’t able to secure any discounts. What a beautiful picture of CHM’s mission! I continue to be amazed by this family of believers who provide for one another’s medical bills in the name of Christ.

Today, my finger still has scars from the injury, and I will probably always have slight numbness in the tip. However, the fingernail that my doctor said would be deformed is just as smooth and normal as the rest of my nails.

We learned an important lesson, too. I no longer assume that every hospital offers discounts. Before we had any more emergencies, I called around to see which hospitals would offer self-pay patient discounts. We now know of a hospital that will offer us a 70 percent discount, and we’ll be using its services from now on.

While negotiating with my providers, God taught me to have patience. Situations don’t often go the way we would like, or the way we think is fair or right. As a believer in the sovereign God who promises to care for His children, I needed to trust that He would be faithful in this situation just as He has always been. I learned to trust CHM as well—to believe that my Christian brothers and sisters would be faithful to their mission of glorifying God by sharing one another's medical bills.

The most important thing I learned through this whole experience is that when things are done God’s way, His people are blessed. Thank you, CHM family, for being a blessing in our lives.

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