Last year I a couple different Christian Sharing companies to use as insurance and shared how we chose Christian Healthcare Ministries. Now I want to share our experience with CHM after having a baby.
Basically I’m going to give you a review of Christian Healthcare Ministries and how they helped us cover the cost of giving birth in the U.S. (not a cheap thing by any means!)
But first; a quick review of the maternity benefits on 3 different cost sharing levels offered by CHM.
- Bronze ($45 a month): Only hospital treatment (up to $125,000 per pregnancy) is eligible for sharing, and you cover the first $5000 in bills.
- Silver ($85 a month): Only hospital treatment (up to $125,000 per pregnancy) or up to $2,500 for midwife services per pregnancy and you cover the first $1000 in bills.
- Gold ($150 a month): Up to $125,000 per pregnancy including all Dr. visits, labs, and hospital stay. You cover the first $500 in bills.
Obviously, Gold is the best choice for women who are in their childbearing years and adding to the family. But… Our last little bundle was a surprise and I wasn’t covered under Gold when I got pregnant so our experience with CHM and maternity care is on the Silver level.
Our Experience with CHM and Maternity Care
Doctor Office Charges:
At my first Dr visit I asked if they had a self pay discount or program. Many times a Dr. office will have a self pay program and it’s much less than what they normally bill out for.
My office did not really have a program like that. Basically I had to pay the amount that the office would normally bill the insurance company. The office required that 1/2 the amount was paid by 8 months and the last half was due at time of birth.
The total my dr. office was charging me was close to $3000. It included a certain amount of visits, ultrasounds etc. Anything beyond that was extra cost. As well, lab work wasn’t included in the dr.’s bill either.
CHM recommends that you “shop around” a little because many offices do offer a self pay discount or program. However, circumstances have me pretty loyal to that Dr as he is okay with my alternative choices and is also very aware of the liver issue I dealt with in my first (and second) pregnancy and knows how to handle it, whereas many other doctors do not.
We decided to stay with the Dr. I wanted, because even on traditional insurance we paid over $4,000 with our first.
The next thing I did was talk to the place where I had lab work done. The Silver level of CHM does not cover lab work so I was hoping for some type of discount. Compunet offers a 50% discount when you pay the same day as services.
Basically, if they can get their money right away, rather than dealing with ins. companies, 50% of the listed price is enough to satisfy them. (proof that ins. companies really take a lot)
Because we were watching for my liver issue to resurface, I had quite a bit of lab work done while pregnant. Total lab costs were over $1,300 but we only needed to pay something less than $700 out of pocket.
CHM recommends you also call the hospital you are planning to give birth at as soon as you know that’s the one you will be using, and find out what their costs are so they can possibly work with you ahead of time to make payments.
I did not get them called until I was 7 months along. Really my fault, but I just got quite busy. The hospital told us that we could pay $5000 up front and that would cover all of my stay expenses. If we couldn’t do that, they would help us set up a payment plan and we would need to cover the full billing amount which would be at least $20,000.
Of course CHM would come alongside us after we submitted all our bills to them and they would pay anything beyond the $1000 I had to pay as my part. If we chose to pay the $5,000 up front, they would actually pay all of that back to us, since any self pay discount we acquired, would go towards our responsibility of the bills.
We decided to pull from our emergency fund and pay the $5,000 at the hospital when Malachi was born.
Submitting Bills to CHM
I was a bit confused on how to submit everything so I gave CHM a call. They were very helpful and I submitted the itemized bill that the doctor’s office provided me after Malachi was born, and the proof of paying $5,000 to the hospital.
A month after Malachi was born, I got a Pediatric bill from the hospital. I was pretty upset because the hospital had said the $5,000 was all I would need to pay. Unfortunately they lied about that and I had to pay this bill as well. However, since I was considered self pay, they only charged me half the billed cost.
I then submitted that bill to CHM as well, marking it as part of the need sharing for maternity that I already submitted.
CHM sharing and helping us with the bills:
They say it can take up to 90 days for the bills to be shared. Right around 70 days after submitting my bills I received a check covering the hospital part of my doctor’s bill, and the pediatric bill, but nothing for the $5,000 paid to the hospital.
I called and asked what was up and they said an itemized bill was needed from the hospital. So I obtained that. Now let this sink in a bit… The itemized bill showed what they would bill a typical ins. company for my hospital stay which was over $45,000.
Ins. rackets charge $45,000 for something I paid only $5,000 for and the hospital was happy to have their money! That, if nothing else, made me happy to be a part of CHM.
Once the itemized hospital bill was submitted, it was shared quickly and by the end of my 90 days after the first time I submitted my bills, everything was paid back to me.
What our total cost was:
The total bills received involving prenatal care and Malachi’s birth totaled over $10,000. Most of that we had to pay up front in order to receive the discounts. (talk about a few VERY tight months), some of the bills were paid with what CHM gave us.
Note: We chose to pay most of those bills right away rather than be “in debt” waiting on our costs to be shared. If I had been on top of things better with the hospital stuff, CHM could’ve possibly shared our bills sooner so we wouldn’t have had to pull out of our funds. I just waited too long to get the right info.
Just over $3,000 of the bills were non-shareable on the Silver level. We had a $1,000 responsibility (copay) we should’ve paid on the remaining cost, but all the self pay discounts we received more than covered it.
The final result is that we paid just over $3,000 for the birth of our second son with the assistance of CHM. Listen to this: We paid over $1,000 less with CHM than we did with our first son’s birth on traditional insurance! Not to mention our monthly sharing costs with CHM are much lower than our monthly premiums with a traditional ins was.
Our Experience with CHM – Final Thoughts
Honestly, we had a great experience with them. I’m so happy we have something like this. Most of our monthly payments which are incredibly low compared to most premiums, go to help other members of CHM with their needs, and when we had a need, they helped us. Simply Beautiful.
Check out my first post comparing Christian Sharing Plans with Traditional Ins companies!
If you are without and insurance and choose to go with Christian Health Ministries like we did, I would love it if you put my name and member number (Kendra Stamy ~ 215075) down as the person who referred you!