A Message from Our CEO: Liberty Healthshare Leads the Way in Medical Cost Transparency

August 9th, 2019

Did you know that prices for the exact same medical procedure can vary by over five hundred percent?  And often, there are discrepancies in the actual cost of a procedure and what insurance companies are charged.  A recent article in the Los Angeles Times details a patient who was charged $2758 through her insurance company for a pair of ultrasounds, though she learned that the actual cost, had she paid cash, would have been just $500!  The Trump administration has called for more transparency in health care costs, proposing that hospitals be required to post prices they have negotiated with insurers.   

On August 2, Liberty HealthShare became a leader in the demand for transparency in health care costs when we launched Healthcare Bluebook, an innovative tool that lets our members compare non-emergent health procedures in a geographic area.  Providers are ranked by cost AND quality, comparing a facility’s performance in several areas -- patient complications, patient safety, mortality and compliance with standards of care -- making it easy to find high-quality health care that is also priced fairly.  All members need to do is click on the Healthcare Bluebook logo in your ShareBox. From there, simply search by procedure. Color-coding makes it easy to see at a glance which facilities offer the highest quality at the lowest costs. There’s even a convenient mobile app.   

Response from our members has been enthusiastic, to say the least — in the first week of the Healthcare Bluebook launch, there were more than 25,000 searches!  

Industry insiders are taking note, too. “Information is crucial to achieve quality health care and nowhere is that more important than in your choice of the right health care professional,” says Peter Pitts, current president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, and former FDA associate commissioner.   

For the self-pay patient, this tool is a must. For members who primarily pay upfront and submit their eligible expenses for reimbursement, it is imperative that you begin to use Healthcare Bluebook.

Clearly, our new Healthcare Bluebook tool is at the forefront of a much-needed revolution in our approach to healthcare, but that’s not surprising.  After all, “liberty” is just another word for freedom. And with our Healthcare Bluebook, Liberty is giving our members the freedom they deserve to choose the best medical care at the best price. 

Also, in terms of transparency, the manner in which we calculate the administrative fee has been brought before the board of directors. When Liberty HealthShare opened its doors six years ago, we established our administrative fee at 12% of our median plan cost, which was $24. Administrative dollars are used to facilitate the sharing of your medical bills, while the remainder of your membership dollars are sharing dollars dedicated to medical expenses. For ease of communication and accounting, Liberty used the $24 number in the Sharing Guidelines and other member communication. 

As our plan costs and plan offerings have changed over the past 6 years, the administrative fee was never adjusted. Today $24 is just 8% of our median plan cost, and less than 5% of our highest plan cost. 

We work hard to maximize the administrative dollars to give you the best possible health sharing ministry. Given the tremendous growth of our membership and the need to continually improve our technology to better serve you, the board of directors voted to adjust the administrative fee. Moving forward, Liberty HealthShare's administrative fee will be calculated as a percentage of plan cost, not to exceed 12%. This will not change your monthly share amount.

Thank you for being part of the Liberty HealthShare community. We look forward to serving you for years to come.