Shiela Meert, Elkhart, IN

Total eligible bills
$69,143
Provider discounts
$24,842
Total bills shared
$44,301

In 2014 I decided to leave my job to help my husband manage our small family business. Thus, we no longer had health insurance and started looking into our options.

I heard on a local Christian radio station that Christian Healthcare Ministries is an eligible option under the national healthcare law. CHM quickly rose to the top of our list as the best fit for us. We were impressed that the ministry had been in operation since 1981. We thought the Gold program with Brother’s Keeper was a great value and we loved the idea of Christians taking care of Christians just like the first-century Church.

Though nervous about trying something so different from insurance, we prayed about it and came to the conclusion that God wanted us to trust Him to meet our needs through a health cost sharing ministry, so we joined.

In the past I’d experienced bouts of diverticulitis. In September 2015 I suffered a serious attack, went to the emergency room and was hospitalized for several days.

I mistakenly thought it would no longer be considered a pre-existing condition.* I submitted my bills to CHM and they were promptly shared. I didn’t realize, however, that they were shared via the Gold schedule for pre-existing conditions; I was just grateful for the help.

A few weeks after my release from the hospital—and then again in January 2016—I returned to the ER with recurring symptoms of acute diverticulitis.

I was scared because I’d never had so many serious back-to-back attacks and I knew the risks of allowing the flare-ups to go untreated. I’d also taken several rounds of powerful antibiotics; I’m allergic to many antibiotics and I was becoming resistant to the ones I could take.

Consequently, at my doctor’s suggestion I underwent surgery to remove the diseased portion of my bowel.

I again submitted my bills to CHM, and this time received a request for written permission to list my bills on the monthly newsletter’s Prayer Page. I was confused and thought there had been a mistake, so I called the ministry.

A kind staff member gently explained that my bills exceeded the Gold schedule sharing limits.* She said that the Prayer Page—funded by members’ donations above regular monthly financial gifts—was effective, as members shared to help members like me pay our healthcare providers. Furthermore, my bills would be listed until my need was met, so long as I remained a CHM member.

Though wary at first, today I can attest to the Prayer Page’s effectiveness and what a blessing it can be. I have received $25,000 through the Gold schedule and more than $37,000 from the Prayer Page, totaling $62,000.

I have also received cards of encouragement from members across the country. One person even sent me a book! Though I’m past my recovery time, I still receive heartwarming notes from CHM members.

My medical experiences taught me many lessons. One thing I’ve learned is that the Body of Christ is full of generous, caring people. I’ve also been blessed to witness God planting seeds of hope in the people in my life as I share my testimony of how CHM helped me.

I’ve learned to trust God with my needs and, though it was a paradigm shift to ask healthcare providers for discounts or keep track of all my medical bills and payments, I’ve become a much more informed and involved healthcare consumer.

The surgery was very successful and today I’m feeling better than I have in years. Randy and I are so grateful to all who contributed to share our healthcare cost burden. Because we believe that CHM is very much in line with God’s plan for providing and caring for His people, we plan to be lifelong members. We have been humbled to receive; now we want to experience the joy of giving to others’ Prayer Page needs.

*Editor’s note: To learn more about CHM’s programs for pre-existing conditions, including the definition of a pre-existing condition, see CHM Guidelines Z and AA at chministries.org/guidelines. Frequently asked questions about pre-existing conditions are included in the August 2017 newsletter at chministries.org/newsletter.

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