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Tough accreditation review an asset for health cost sharing ministry consumers

Independent accreditation takes time, requires complete transparency, and high standards. In the end, what’s gained is well worth the time and effort.”
— President and CEO J. Craig Brown II
BARBERTON, OHIO, UNITED STATES, January 23, 2023 / -- The tougher the accreditation review for health cost sharing ministries (HCSM), the better it is for the people it serves, says the leader of Christian Healthcare Ministries, which earned the nation’s first independent HCSM accreditation for its operations and financial systems.

“A true health cost sharing ministry isn’t insurance; in Christian Healthcare Ministries’ (CHM) case, it’s Christian members coming together to voluntarily share to pay each other’s medical bills,” said J. Craig Brown II, CHM president and chief executive officer. “As CHM is a ministry, and not insurance, it puts an emphasis on credibility and accountability. CHM, founded in 1981, is America’s longest-serving HCSM.

“Achieving independent accreditation was a goal CHM employees challenged themselves to reach,” he said. “Reaching a goal means more when getting there is hard.”

CHM, with members in all 50 states, sought third-party accreditation from Demotech, a Columbus, Ohio-based financial ratings firm. Demotech has developed its Faith-based Sharing Review (FbSR™) program to assess HCSMs in 30 different areas of financial and organizational operation. CHM scored 95 out of a possible 100 points on the FbSR™.

CHM’s interest in Demotech conducting an accreditation review was based on the company’s experience. Among milestones Demotech cites in its history:

• Registered with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission as a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO).
• An approved ratings organization by the Federal Housing Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac).
• First to issue financial stability ratings for health maintenance organizations
• First to review and rate specialty, regional, and independent specialty insurers.
• First to have property and casualty rating process accepted by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

“The process was exhaustive,” said Dave Tschantz, CHM vice president and general counsel. “Demotech staff members conducted hours of interviews with everyone from the CEO and the leadership team to randomly-selected employees. The review started in April and took four months to complete; the Demotech team looked into every aspect of CHM and how it works.”

The 30 items within the FbSR™ on which CHM was rated were divided into five groupings: core qualifications; transparency of operations; ministry motivation; financially accountable; and protects its members.

Within those headings some of the specific FbSR™ items are:

• Annually files a Form 990 with the IRS.
• Members are of the same religion or sect and voluntarily share certain medical expenses among themselves in accordance with, and as an exercise and expression of, their faith
• Subjects its entire operation (including all operating costs, incoming gifts and all bills shared) to an audit performed annually by an independent certified public accounting firm using generally accepted accounting principles, audit made publicly available upon request.
• No for-profit, third-party contractors engaged in processing financial gifts to the ministry are used to share payment for medical bills.
• No individual who is otherwise qualified is excluded or terminated from membership, or asked to provide additional gifts or donations, based on health history.
• Operates under a code of conduct which requires ethical behavior on the part of all of its employees, board and management, and which requires disclosure of conflicts of interest.

A stringent, challenging accreditation review process makes for a better and more credible program for the benefit of ministry members, Brown said. “Independent accreditation takes time, requires complete transparency, and high standards. In the end, what’s gained is well worth the time and effort.”


Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is a budget-friendly, biblical, and compassionate healthcare solution through which Christians in all 50 states and around the world voluntarily share each other’s medical bills. We’re not health insurance; instead, we’re the first and longest-serving healthcare sharing ministry, having satisfied over $8 billion of our members’ medical bills. CHM members contribute fixed monthly financial gifts to assist members in paying their medical bills. No member is ever removed from membership, nor is their monthly gift payment increased because of an expensive health condition. No one is denied membership because of a medical condition.

The ministry, under the leadership of President and CEO J. Craig Brown II, is headquartered in Barberton, Ohio.

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Katlyn Stryker
Christian Healthcare Ministries
+1 330-241-0543
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