Tony & Lori Smith, Ooltewah, TN

Total eligible bills
$24,030
Provider discounts
$7,274
Total bills shared
$16,756

Christian Healthcare Ministries has been a great blessing to my family and me. Like many families, the recession hit us hard. In 2010, our business lost 75 percent of its clients in just a few months. Our income was cut in half. We struggled to keep our heads above water—but were sinking quickly.

We had a health insurance policy that cost $800 per month and only covered my wife, Lori, and our two sons, Jet and Avery. Furthermore, the policy had a $2,500 per person annual deductible.

I went without insurance because I couldn’t afford the extra $1,000 per-month cost. I had to do something to lighten our financial load, so when I heard about CHM I looked into it right away. I liked what I learned, but Lori was accustomed to insurance companies and was skeptical that a health cost sharing ministry would be there for us when we needed it.

However, we decided to cancel our insurance policy and step out in faith to become CHM members. We put our whole family on the Gold sharing level because we felt it is the best value of services at a reasonable cost.

We found out all too soon that we could, indeed, rely on CHM members for help.

On June 1, 2012, just one month after becoming a member, I fell down our front porch steps and seriously injured my left leg. I hobbled around for about five weeks before I learned that I had torn my quadriceps tendon in two.

On July 17, I underwent surgery to repair the damage. It went well, and I was sent home to recuperate the same day.

At first I felt a little awkward explaining to my healthcare providers that CHM isn’t an insurance company. However, I quickly learned that they were familiar with health cost sharing ministries. Presenting my CHM membership card also proved helpful. With the exception of two MRIs that I prepaid to obtain a $2,000 discount, I received all of my treatment without being asked to pay anything out-of-pocket. In fact, my hospital automatically extends a 53 percent discount to all self-pay patients.

As the medical bills started to show up in our mailbox, we immediately submitted them to the ministry. Because we were so new to CHM, Lori and I wondered if CHM members would come through. You can imagine our joy and relief when the first check for payment arrived—it was for more than $10,000!

Though I’m disappointed that I had a large medical need so soon after joining CHM, I want to assure other CHM members that their faithfulness will be rewarded by our faithfulness in contributing toward other members’ medical needs. In fact, I have become a great “evangelist” for CHM here in the Chattanooga, Tenn. area; I have shared my story with friends and business colleagues in hopes that they, too, will join.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the wonderful work you’re doing. May God bless CHM members and staff as you continue in His service.

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