Christian Healthcare Ministries, often referred to as CHM, is longest-serving and most popular health sharing ministries in the United States. Christian Healthcare Ministries has biblically and faithfully supported the needs of their members since 1981, with $6 billion in medical bills shared as of 2021. Their mission statement is to glorify God, show Christian love, and experience God’s presence as Christians share each other’s medical bills. Christians have a 2,000-year history of meeting each other’s needs. This is simply a modern interpretation of that tradition.
CHM is a Christian ministry that can help share in any eligible medical costs and medical expenses. While there are many terms for this type of ministry such as “health shares,” “health sharing ministries,” and “health care sharing ministry,” Christian Healthcare Ministries refers to themselves as a “health cost sharing ministry.” They claim to be the nation’s first and longest-serving Christian health cost sharing ministry.
Christian Healthcare Ministries
Christian Care Ministries
What makes CHM different?
- Active since 1981
- Serves members internationally (all members do need reliable, secure internet and a U.S. mailing address in order to receive reimbursements; this is designed to help missionaries in foreign countries)
- Maternity sharing available
- Monthly magazine, Heartfelt Magazine
- Monthly membership gifts are sent to CHM and then distributed directly to other members using approved accounting practices
- Options for prayer requests, sending letters to members needing encouragement, and giving extra donations to members in need
- Clear, simple pricing and membership tiers
- Optional add-on membership for catastrophic care
- 1 percent or less administrative costs
Christian Healthcare Ministries has shared $6 billion in healthcare costs for its members and they have been featured on The Ramsey Show. Additionally, CHM is A Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity.
Pricing for being a member of Christian Healthcare Ministries is determined by the number of people that will be enrolled. They refer to each individual as a “unit.” If you’re just one person, you would be one unit. However, the most amount of units you ever have to pay for is 3. So if you were a family of 5, you are still only paying for 3 units. This helps manage cost-effectiveness for families with multiple children.
There are three participation levels: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The benefits and responsibilities for these sharing programs are detailed below.
The Gold program is Christian Healthcare Ministries highest and most extensive program. The program costs $172 per unit per month. For an individual, you only have to pay for $172/month. For a family of 5, you’re looking at just over $500 a month — which is still fairly inexpensive for an entire family. CHM will share “100 percent of bills for any medical incident exceeding $500 as long as all the other guidelines are met.”
Includes sharing for:
- Inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery
- Medical testing
- Physical therapy and home healthcare (up to 45 visits for each type)
- Incident-related doctor’s office visits
- Incident-related prescriptions
The Gold program also removes the $125,000 per illness cap when adding Brother’s Keeper.
The second tier down is Silver. Silver costs $118 per unit per month, and shares inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery performed at facilities that meet accepted standards of medical care. Eligible medical bills are shared up to $125,000 per illness, though this limit is extended through Brother’s Keeper. On Silver, your Personal Responsibility is $2,500 per incident instead of $500. Any discount you receive from your medical provider counts toward your Personal Responsibility.
The lowest tier is the Bronze program. At the Bronze level, the pricing is $78 per unit per month, and shares inpatient or outpatient hospital incidents and surgery performed at facilities that meet accepted standards of medical care. Eligible medical bills are shared up to $125,000 per illness, though this limit is extended through Brother’s Keeper. Bronze Personal Responsibility per incident is $5,000, though any discounts you receive from your medical provider counts toward your Personal Responsibility.
Christian Healthcare Ministries has a program for catastrophic medical expenses called Brother’s Keeper. This program removes the $125,000 sharing limit per illness. Members on the Gold program have unlimited sharing for eligible medical bills. For members on the Silver or Bronze program, the sharing limit increases each year accruing up to $1 million per illness.
Signing Up For Christian Healthcare Ministries
Signing up for Christian Healthcare Ministries is fairly easy. They have an application page where they ask for information on you and, if applicable, your family. Your membership starts on the date you request. After you join, CHM staff will send your Welcome Pack and membership cards to the address you listed.
Christian Healthcare Ministries seem to have a pretty simple process for paying. Your program costs each month can be drafted from your account and sent straight to CHM — you don’t need to worry about sending your money to actual members. The ministry will transfer those funds for you.
How To Pay For Christian Healthcare Ministries
Eligible bills are shareable after a member has paid their Personal Responsibility for a medical incident (this cost depends on which program they signed up for). Members submit their bills and a few forms to CHM, then wait for reimbursement.
CHM stresses that it is YOU that will be handling your healthcare, though they do have departments to help you work with providers and are always eager to help with any questions you may have. There are some ministries that deal with the provider directly so you don’t have to stress out about all the bills, but this doesn’t seem to be one of them. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; enough medical providers resist working directly with health sharing ministries that reimbursement can actually be simpler. Just be aware that CHM’s focuses on reimbursement and responsible payment of medical bills is in the membership guidelines. Members are expected to pay their providers within 30 days of receiving their reimbursement; not doing so can lead to terminated membership.
- Notable membership requirements: being a member of a Christian denomination who worships are regularly as health permits; actively following the teachings of the New Testament in its entirety; using moderation with alcohol and completely avoiding illegal drugs, nicotine, tobacco, smoking devices, and sexual immorality; access to a U.S. mailing address; prompt payment to medical providers.
CHM is not a great option for anyone wanting preventive care and maintenance since only one plan offers sharing for prescriptions and trips to the doctor (and only for incident-based issues; no routine checkups). That said, it is a long-running and respected sharing ministry and could be a fantastic choice for people who are concerned about getting help paying larger medical bills and not worried about being able to pay for routine care. It might also be a good supplementary option for people who are already participating in Medicare Parts A and B. CHM is one of few HealthShares willing to help people living abroad and their encouragement of member-to-member communication seems admirable.
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