When I graduated from college I immediately started working as a Fortune 100 Financial Advisor. Technically I was “self-employed” in that role and had to start figuring out the world of health insurance. We helped a lot of our clients with health insurance and the landscape looked much different then. However, when I left my […]
When I graduated from college I immediately started working as a Fortune 100 Financial Advisor. Technically I was “self-employed” in that role and had to start figuring out the world of health insurance. We helped a lot of our clients with health insurance and the landscape looked much different then.
However, when I left my corporate finance career to start my own consulting firm in 2013 health insurance looked much different (once again). Kyle was a full-time student and I was again self-employed.
Health insurance often feels like one of those “necessary evils” and for small business owners can be confusing and very expensive. Initially we did what we thought was our only option and searched the healthcare marketplace for a health insurance plan for our family. I remember the monthly price tag rolling in somewhere around $700, and that was for a high deductible plan that would leave us paying for a lot of things out of pocket still.
Then we were introduced to Christian HealthCare Ministries, a non-traditional health insurance option known as a cost-sharing plan. Read the post for our full Christian Healthcare Ministries review & experience.
I believe a cost-sharing plan was the original design for any form of “insurance”. A group of people pool their money together and then distribute the funds as needed to those in the community in need.
I appreciate that CHM (Christian Healthcare Ministries) is a non-profit. The goal isn’t to make money off member funds, but to collect enough premiums (monthly payments from members) to ensure they can provide for members when needs arise.
After looking through our options we ultimately decided CHM was the best fit for our family. You can read our Christian Healthcare Ministries review below.
A big factor was cost. Compared to the $700 high deductible plan we were looking at with traditional health insurance coverage, CHM came in closer to $300. We could save the difference and be better off financially to cover day to day medical expenses.
When I worked as a financial advisor and helped clients with their insurance needs, I was always taught “get insurance for the things you cannot afford to replace on your own.” I’ve always thought that was a good rule of thumb. From the amount of homeowners insurance to car insurance, this helps us determine how much coverage we need.
And the same went for our health insurance. At the time it was just Kyle and I and thankfully we were/are both quite healthy. The plan we chose (bronze level coverage) was quite similar to a high deductible plan where we would be paying most of our medical expenses out of pocket, but we liked knowing that if something major happened we had the backing of CHM to help cover any medical expenses we could not afford.
To be honest, at the time it felt crazy to spend $700/mo ($8400 year) on health insurance for two people who rarely went to the doctor and were on no prescription medications. Christian Healthcare Ministries felt like the perfect way to cover our needs should something major happen but not break the bank unnecessarily day to day.
I love that we never have to think about “in network” or “out of network”. We choose the right provider for us and go.
Since Christian Healthcare Ministries is not traditional health insurance, technically we are “uninsured” in the eyes of the health system. Each time we go in for a medical visit or procedure we let them know we are “cash payers”. We know up front what visits and procedures will cost which I appreciate. Sometimes it takes some digging but we always ask for the price up front before proceeding. I like this transparency and also like that as a cash payer you can receive discounts on traditional charges, sometimes up to 70%.
I have heard others fear that as “uninsured” patients they would not receive the best level of care, but we have never had that experience. We have used CHM for the past 10 years and have lived in 3 different states. If anyone has this experience, I would find a new provider!
I like that should our health care needs change we can change our plan at any time (with a few exceptions— ie. I could not increase my plan after becoming pregnant to cover maternity!).
For all the ways we love CHM, there are definitely a few “cons”— which I hesitate to even call them. Let’s say, inconveniences!
While the cost-sharing model provides a lot more transparency in medical expenses, it is not as common to healthcare providers. That means getting pricing up front, receiving itemized statements of charges, and securing “cash payer” discounts can sometimes mean a lot of work on your part. I have spent hours on the phone with medical billing departments frustratingly trying to get an itemized statement (which is crazy to me isn’t provided automatically but that’s a whole different conversation *wink*).
If you have a medical expense that is covered under the CHM plan, it takes a good amount of time to collect medical bills, fill out all of the CHM paperwork, and submit the bills for sharing (reimbursement).
It’s really really important to understand what CHM covers and what it does not based on the plan level you choose. We pay for most things out of pocket and with a toddler during cold season that can add up!
While Christian Healthcare Ministries has been very timely to review and reimburse the medical bills we have submitted, it takes time! Health costs come out of our pocket up front and we may not see that money returned for several months. This can add up, especially during pregnancy! We have found some creative ways around this (like signing up for payment plans through medical providers instead of paying everything up front) but it’s something to be aware of.
We have used CHM now for more than 10 years, one baby and another on the way. We are so grateful for this healthcare alternative for our family and I hope sharing our Christian Healthcare Ministries review helped with your own decision!
ps. We love CHM and bonus they have provided us with a unique referral link (used throughout this post). Should you decide that CHM is the right choice for you and your family, you can use our referral link [CLICK HERE].
December 9, 2023