You're a member who has successfully shared a bill! You worked closely with your doctor to evaluate the course of your care, you pre-notified Liberty HealthShare of the procedure, and your bill was submitted promptly through your ShareBox. Now what? Everything you've read says that it may take 30-45 days for your bill to be processed, but what does "processed" mean? We receive this question from members often, especially if the wait is taking longer than expected. Delays can be frustrating without further information, and it is our desire that members feel at ease throughout the course of their cost sharing by being as transparent as possible every step of the way.
We often say that the adjustment to a healthsharing mentality from a third-party payment system mentality can be a drastic one. New members don't always understand our push for personal responsibility and a community mindset right away. It is our privilege to come alongside and equip members because we believe it honors the biblical standard of caring for one's neighbor.
When members join Liberty HealthShare, we understand they must undergo a "paradigm shift" in their engagement with the healthcare system, especially if they have previously used a third-party payer. That's why many of our blog posts are educational in nature - we know it takes some repetition and explanation in order for our members to understand and embrace the healthcare sharing mentality. We often get emails from members who simply want to say "thank you" to our staff and membership community for the part we have played in their health journey. It's always encouraging to us when we hear from happy members, but it's particularly rewarding when a member has obviously taken the time to understand and live out the stewardship values we hold dear.
This time of year, we tend to see a significant increase in the number of member bills submitted for sharing. Though we cannot be sure of the reason for this, it is possible this is due at least in part to the third-party payer model and deadlines by which many of our members have previously functioned. Whatever the reason, we want to remind our members of a few important factors to consider before they submit more bills at this time of year.
When we’re just kids, running and playing with our friends is second nature. When we're free to choose how and when we will play, we have almost limitless energy, but as we get older, something shifts. Usually, no thanks to gym class, we no longer run because it’s fun, but rather because the teacher standing on the track is using his stopwatch to rate our performance.
At Liberty HealthShare, we view misunderstandings as opportunities for education. For instance, some potential members don't understand the healthcare sharing mentality. Rather than seeing this purely as an obstacle to membership, we choose to see it as an opportunity for education about our unique, member-centered approach to paying for healthcare. When we hear from members who truly understand healthcare sharing and want to see others learn more, we get excited. We can explain it all day long from our perspective, but the reality is members who share their experiences are exponentially more effective at educating others. A great example of this is Brittany K. from Michigan, who along with her family joined Liberty HealthShare early last year.
One of the core values held by Liberty HealthShare and encouraged in the lives of our members is the pursuit and maintenance of good health. This is because first and foremost, as a Christian ministry, we believe our bodies are temples we've been given to steward. Secondly, as a cost-sharing ministry, we prioritize health so that our members can fulfill their voluntary commitment to be there and share in eligible medical costs, especially in times of crisis. Chris V., (pictured left with his wife Annie) lives in Arizona, and he and his family joined Liberty HealthShare last year. As a healthy family who was invested in community, health, and healing, they determined Liberty HealthShare was aligned with their beliefs and ultimately decided membership was for them. That decision was put to the test only two months after Chris' family joined, when their 14-year-old daughter suffered a hemorrhagic stroke.
Have you ever noticed how making changes in one area of your life can cause you to reevaluate other, seemingly unrelated areas? Take health, for example. You make the commitment to start eating more healthily and, over time, you notice you have more energy. Greater energy translates into a desire to move more, so you join a gym and start attending classes. Then you recognize that your stress level is more manageable, and you feel so great that you start enjoying your hobbies again, further lowering your stress.
The past few years have held some interesting developments in various industries. In the hotel and hospitality arena, for instance, Airbnb has taken the world by storm, putting choice regarding travel into the hands of the consumer. It's no longer the expectation that travel must include a hotel stay and the associated costs you can be guaranteed to incur. Instead, travelers can choose not only the amount they prefer to pay, but also the arrangements, the proximity to their destination, and how much they want to engage with and experience what the particular location has to offer.
Every year during open enrollment, Liberty HealthShare experiences even greater and faster growth than normal. Although we are not bound by this enrollment season, many Americans choose to join us at that time. This year was no exception to the rule, so we know a good number of you are new or relatively new members. If you are just joining us, no doubt you have some questions about the way membership works, how sharing is accomplished, and other concepts related to Liberty HealthShare.
ohn Hunt, MD Chief Medical Officer, Liberty HealthShare To our recently enrolled members, welcome, and congratulations on your effort to escape the third-party healthcare payment system where somebody else pays the bill, e.g., an insurance company, an employer, or the government. This transition is not necessarily easy because most folks have been in the third-party payment system for so long that they have forgotten (or never experienced) what it’s like to make medical care choices based on both quality and price .
At Liberty HealthShare, our mission of facilitating the sharing of members’ medical expenses is serious business. When we are serving a member who has experienced an illness or accident requiring ongoing medical care, we want to be a safe place in the storm. For this reason, our team members encourage one another to remember that a member in distress is a person in need; a person our ministry exists to serve. It makes us proud to get feedback that lets us know our team is serving members well.
We thought you might enjoy meeting (via video) some of the people who respond when you call or e-mail us with a question or issue regarding your membership. Remember, we are not an insurance company. We are different not only in how we share medical costs but also in how we serve our members, and we hope you have experienced and noticed that difference! Watch the video and learn first-hand how determined our Member Services department is to solve problems, answer questions, and assist you in getting the care you need. Together, we are changing healthcare - for good!
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician by Kendra Pearsall, N.M.D. People tell us their number one reason for joining Liberty HealthShare is the cost savings. Members report they are saving thousands over previous years' total healthcare expenses. Cost savings is one of the many reasons I LOVE being a member, and for that reason and more, I tell everyone I know about this wonderful program. I asked Liberty HealthShare's Executive Director, Dale Bellis, how Liberty is able to keep membership fees low.
While attending a national convention, the Liberty HealthShare team was approached by a member. With a determined look on his face, the man had broken through the crowd standing in front of the booth and pulled something out of his back pocket. In front of everyone in attendance there, in a voice that broke through the clamor of a convention floor, he held his Liberty HealthShare member card up and said, "You all saved my life."
Tens of thousands of people of varying ages, cultures, and occupations make up the diverse Liberty HealthShare family. Moms, children, working professionals, students, and even professional athletes are among the like-minded Americans taking charge of their healthcare decisions while enjoying the freedom and community healthcare sharing provides. For LPGA golfer Austin Ernst, a healthy body and a healthy mind are imperative. As a professional athlete, she can’t afford to take health care lightly; her career depends on it. But life is so much more than a successful athletic career.
Liberty Healthshare Members in Utah Advocate for Healthcare Sharing Last fall, we informed existing Liberty HealthShare members in Utah that their state legislature was considering a bill that would lock in protections for members of healthcare sharing ministries. Early in 2016, the bill was sponsored in the House by a legislator who is also a physician. For the last couple of weeks, we have been encouraging our Utah members to reach out to state legislators and advocate for healthcare sharing, and what a great response we've had!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away existed a movie franchise that united and inspired millions, shaping the very fabric of planetary pop culture. You don't need to be one of the die-hard fans that bought your advance tickets for multiple showings of its latest installment to be somewhat familiar with Star Wars. Its pervasive influences are tough to miss in our world.
The mindset every member should have Becoming a Liberty HealthShare member is a liberating step. You’ve abandoned bureaucratic models of paying for healthcare and embraced freedom. Your status as a self-pay patient sharing medical expenses with others of like mind allows you to access the best medical care available at the lowest cost possible. In addition, you have engaged the most powerful consumer weapon in healthcare: the self-pay patient! You have the twin advantage of a vast community sharing your costs while you watch over your own expenses as an individual patient. After all, it’s your money! And who better to watch over your money than you! This paradigm shift, once embraced, changes everything, keeping costs low and your healthcare options intact!
Being part of Liberty HealthShare is like joining an extended family made up of people who are committed to helping one another. It is not health insurance, but instead, it is a system of organized medical cost sharing that is allowable under the Affordable Care Act. Liberty HealthShare is a Christian healthcare sharing ministry that exists to enable our members to assist and help one another. Members join knowing the share amount they send each month will go directly toward meeting the needs of other members.
When you are looking into healthcare sharing ministries, you may be taken aback by all the state warnings you see. These legal notices usually state that the organization is not an insurance company and that it does not issue insurance policies. They also discuss the fact that you are not guaranteed payment for any medical costs you incur as a member, and that you are ultimately personally liable for any unpaid bills. Upon first glance, these warnings seem ominous, and you may wonder whether you should join the group. Rather than allowing them to make you fearful, allow us to explain why the government has instituted these warnings and what they mean.
After working for 30 years in communication electronics, the military, and freight railroading, Indiana resident Larry Jones was fed up with the high cost of traditional healthcare. Between the copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and limited provider choices, he sought something better and more affordable.
As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has mandated that all individuals have some sort of health plan, interest in different types of options has increased. Liberty HealthShare is not health insurance, but it is medical cost sharing. This type of healthcare is allowable under the ACA. However, there are some things you should understand about how medical cost sharing is different from traditional healthcare options.
In the medical world, it seems like costs are always rising. However, there are a few key situations in which costs have actually dropped for individuals. One of these is in the case of members of medical cost sharing ministries, which are allowable under the Affordable Care Act. Liberty HealthShare members actually saw their monthly share amount drop by $50 from 2013 to 2014.
Liberty HealthShare's predecessor and parent ministry is a faith-based group that began in 1988 as a group of Christians who shared end-of-life medical and funeral expenses. Since then, the group has expanded to include a wide range of eligible medical expenses, ultimately becoming Liberty HealthShare. We are not health insurance, but rather we make it possible for individuals to share in one another's eligible medical expenses. This is allowable under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and for that reason, it has grown rapidly in recent years.
Presenting your Liberty HealthShare card to your doctor or hospital. One of the best things about being a member of Liberty HealthShare is that you can visit any doctor and any hospital you choose! With Liberty HealthShare, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor! Our call center often gets questions from new and potential members about how to discuss Liberty HealthShare when seeing the doctor. We're here to help you through that process.
How personal values can lead to better healthcare economics. by Dale Bellis, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Recently the New York Times posted an article entitled, "Onward Christian, Healthcare" by Molly Worthen. We are so happy to see that the media is taking notice of healthcare sharing ministries, and we are encouraged by the impact it is having on the American healthcare landscape. I was quoted in the article as saying, "success comes 'when the marketplace is given the opportunity to produce solutions on its own.'" However, given the way in which the quote was presented, it seemed as though I believe the reason we share medical bills together is because of the economic advantage; because it is cheaper. This quote was accurate; however, I would like to add context, because it is important to know the driving force behind what we do.
Last spring, John Daly, an award-winning, internationally-known journalist, news anchor, producer, writer, author, and TV host went from skepticism to belief in the validity of medical cost sharing. A media analyst and former guest on The Tavis Smiley Show, Daly tuned in one day and heard Smiley interviewing Dr. Elaina George, a board-certified ENT physician from Atlanta, Georgia and Liberty HealthShare member. During the course of the broadcast, Dr. George mentioned cost sharing and Liberty HealthShare in particular. This unique concept stopped Daly in his tracks. He wondered, “What is this?”
As a Liberty HealthShare member, what are the steps you should take when seeing your health provider? What do I do when I go to the Doctor? This question is commonly asked by Liberty HealthShare members. For some, it’s your first time seeing a provider since joining. Others have been members for years but haven’t had a medical need in a long time. We want to be sure you understand what to do when visiting the doctor, from giving the receptionist your member ID card to how the medical bill submission process works, so you can feel at ease when going to your provider of choice.
One medical incident can cost thousands of dollars; a sum that doesn't fit into the most household budgets. However, rather than trying to manage these expenses alone, individuals can come together to take advantage of the law of large numbers, a mathematical principle that has significant implications for healthcare. The law of large numbers says that the more times a process is carried out, the closer to the expected average the results become. For example, when flipping a coin, the expected average is to get heads half the time and tails half the time, but in just 10 coin flips, it would not be too extraordinary to end up with 3 heads and 7 tails. However, if a coin was flipped 1,000 times, the result would be much closer to the 50/50 average that was expected. Where healthcare is concerned, the law of large numbers can be applied to the medical costs of people who come together as a group, such as the membership of Liberty HealthShare.
During 2012, the average health care spending per person in the United States was $8,895, which is among the highest rates of healthcare spending in the world. In general, the medical care available today is expensive because of all the training, research, administration, and technology involved in making the care possible. This can be further broken down into specific aspects of care and actions of patients and health care professionals that contribute to high overall medical costs in the United States. Here are a few:
With the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) now passed into law and in full effect, people are wondering what options they have to pay for their medical costs. One approach that isn’t commonly talked about is healthcare sharing or medical cost sharing. It is acknowledged in the ACA, but many people do not know about it. Of those who have heard of medical cost sharing, many are confused as to what it really is and how it works. Let’s start by saying medical cost sharing it IS NOT insurance, it IS legal, and it has been around for quite some time in faith communities. In fact, it is a biblical approach to paying for unexpected and unaffordable healthcare costs.
While members of Liberty HealthShare may not see themselves as self-pay patients, in the legal realm of medical payments, that is exactly how they are considered. Sean Parnell, author of the blog TheSelfPayPatient.com and the book The Self-Pay Patient: Affordable Healthcare Choices in the Age of Obamacare, lays out a field guide to the many options available to people who have decided to take the self-pay route.