Caring is the Emphasis of MemberCare

If you watch television or listen to radio, you know it is open enrollment season for health insurance. All the ads for health plans talk about coverage. Let’s be clear: coverage is a card in your wallet. Healthcare is access to a doctor when you need one. When someone enrolls with CHC, what do they have; care or coverage?

MemberCare focus is health care: CARING for the WHOLE PERSON.


What do you have when you have MemberCare?

Cost Savings:
Any parent knows that sooner or later one of the kids will need a doctor. Before joining CHC, the Berger family (not their real name) had taken their rambunctious 8-year-old son to the emergency room two separate times to get stitches resulting from falls, costing them $2,000 each time. Joining CHC didn’t slow down their son, but mom and dad didn’t have to spend another $2,000 the third time he fell and needed stitches. Their CHC membership provided for an after-hours visit to get him sewn up, with no additional cost. The $2,000 savings for this one incident is nearly the cost of MemberCare for a family for an entire year.

As a CHC member, you have your doctor’s cell phone and email. When you get sick, are traveling out-of-state and develop a mysterious rash or develop symptoms of illness, you can directly connect with your doctor. Many times, your doctor can take care of your needs without the hassle of an office visit. If you need to be seen by your doctor, we do everything in our power to provide a timely visit. If you need an hour with your doctor, you can get an hour with your doctor. There may even be times when the doctor needs to come to you.

Recently, the daughter of a CHC family who lives more than 100 miles from the Center needed to be seen by a doctor, but her parents could not make the trip to Grand Rapids. Our pediatrician was vacationing near the family’s home, so she made a home visit, providing tremendous relief for mom and daughter. We cannot always guarantee one of our doctors will be able to make a house call, but we do our best when needed.

MemberCare means having someone who knows the healthcare system and can navigate it on your behalf. One example is a CHC member whose self-breast exam discovered a lump. She contacted the office and was told to come right in to the office to be seen. Her CHC physician did an ultrasound and confirmed there was a suspicious lump, which led to our patient advocate, Marisa, contacting the top breast cancer surgeon in West Michigan.  Our patient was able to be seen the very next day (usually takes weeks). A biopsy was performed during this visit (almost never happens), a pathology report revealed the lump to be malignant, so surgery was scheduled for five days later (rarely happens that fast). The member did not have to make any calls to facilitate her treatment; Marisa handled it all on her behalf. We do the calling, price negotiating and scheduling so you don’t have to.

Our care-giving is not limited to providing medical services. Some people are physically well, but their quality of life and wellbeing is being disrupted by other concerns that, if left alone, will ultimately have a negative impact on health. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. Our doctors do not limit their attention to your physical needs. They don’t rush out of the exam room once the medical stuff is done. They don’t just treat diseases or organs; they care for people. Their concern extends beyond the physical needs of members. They want to keep you at your best, not simply see you at your worst. They take the time to listen to what is most important to you. Praying with you, sharing biblical principles, encouraging you and even on occasion scolding you for making some wrong choices is all part of caring for you. Without disclosing personal information, the CHC staff prays for members. That is part of being an advocate for you and your family.

We want MemberCare to feel more like having a doctor in the family than mere professional relationship. That may strike you as odd, given the hurried pace of modern medicine and waiting rooms crammed with sick people waiting to be seen. We strive to know everyone in the family and to make each office visit feel like the doctor is caring for a family member, not just another patient. We haven’t “arrived” by any means, but member comments like the following suggest we’re making progress:

“I feel like our whole family is known, loved and cared for personally, from the moment we walk in the door and greet the receptionists, to the friendly nurse taking vitals, to the doctor who never seems rushed, and through to the check-out process. After the first appointment, the word we keep using about this model of healthcare is “refreshing.”


Article by:  Mark Blocher, CEO and Founder

The Economic Value of MemberCare

One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is,

“Does a CHC membership save me money on medical expenses?”

Since Christian Healthcare Centers is based on a stewardship model of healthcare delivery, it is a fair question. Everyone wants value for the money they spend. Below is a chart showing the most common medical needs we treat and their average cost if paid out-of-pocket by someone without insurance. All pricing is based on published Blue Cross/Blue Shield fee schedules.

Need/Complaint Average Cash Price Outside of CHC MemberCare Price Savings to Member
Annual adult exam $200-500  w/ECG Included $200 – 500
Basic Blood panel for annual exam $260 Included $260
Adult sick visit $150 Included $150
Well child visit $160 Included $160
Strep $200 Included $200
Minor laceration w/sutures $300 Included $300
Suspected pneumonia exam w/ x-ray $300 Included $300
Child/adult limb x-ray $180 Included $180
Pink eye, rash, impetigo $150 Included $150
Urinary tract infection $125 Included $150
Ear wax removal $40 Included $40
Mole removal $100-500 Included $100-500
Nebulizer treatment $60 Included $60
Counseling session $75-100/hr Included $75-100

In 2016, the JPMorgan Chase Institute conducted a study of 2.3 million customers to determine the impact of out-of-pocket medical expenses on individual credit card debt and credit scores. The study’s authors wrote, “Out-of-pocket health care spending has a meaningful impact on families’ financial lives and their ability to access credit.”  The number one reason for personal bankruptcy is medical expense, and almost 50% of American households carry credit card debt from out-of-pocket medical expenses. Only 17% of households had no out-of-pocket medical expenses. The study also found that the cost of healthcare was the number one reason families delayed seeking timely preventative, acute and urgent care from a primary care physician, resulting in significantly higher costs later when more urgent or emergency care was required.

Since opening our doors in July 2017, Christian Healthcare Centers saved CHC members over $240,000 on medical services that will not end up on credit cards.

This dollar figure does not include savings on medications, x-rays, immunizations, or pre-negotiated discounts on screenings, specialists or surgery. In other words, CHC members receive significant financial savings.

For example, the annual cost of an adult CHC membership is $960 or $80 per month. According to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the cash cost of an annual exam that includes an ECG and routine blood work for an uninsured male is $550 and $600 for an uninsured adult female, which includes a Pap smear. These services are included with CHC MemberCare. Annual exams for a family of four (two adults/ two children) would be worth $1520 if they paid the cash price out-of-pocket. Since an annual family CHC membership costs $2160, this leaves $640 to cover any other services CHC provides to the family for the remainder of the year.

Based on current utilization rates, the average CHC member saves $450 in medical costs per year beyond their membership fee. For children, the savings is much higher since the cost of a child’s membership is $120 per year. Where else can parents secure unlimited pediatric care for $120 a year? Where else can you secure unlimited primary care for the cost of a cell phone bill?

If you agree with us that CHC MemberCare is a good financial investment, tell your family and friends. We would love to save them money too.    


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