We often receive questions from our members about the purpose of annual renewal fees. Without understanding the context of this yearly addition, many members contact us feeling confused and frustrated by the extra dollars added to their monthly share amount. There is no need for alarm, and we hope to equip members with the info they need to be savvy consumers both within the Liberty community and the greater context of medical health.
When we discuss preventative medicine and ways we can take responsibility for our health, annual wellness visits might come to mind as a means to accomplishing both. It seems to be part of the conventional wisdom most of us abide by, at least in theory. We may not make that visit every year, but we know we should. Or should we?
End-of-life planning isn't a topic most people want to discuss. Even when we approach the time at which those conversations make sense, at least some of our loved ones are likely to find the subject depressing or premature. But death is a natural part of this life, and as many of us know from personal experience, the whole experience can be much less traumatic when expectations and wishes have been made known ahead of time. There's no time like the present to begin planning and discussing this subject with your family and friends. In fact, Monday, April 16th offers the perfect opportunity, as it is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), an initiative of The Conversation Project.
The growth we saw throughout 2017 confirms that Liberty HealthShare continues to attract record numbers of households to our ministry. As we look ahead to what promises to be an equally exciting 2018, we want to take a few minutes to reflect on and give thanks for everything God has done this past year.
Depending on where you live, the weather may be showing little signs that spring isn't too far off. That's a hopeful signal, especially for those living in the areas that have been hardest hit by severe winter storms. Unfortunately, no matter what the weather does, we're still in the middle of what's commonly known as "flu season."
Liberty HealthShare is not an insurance company. We are a ministry that facilitates the sharing of medical costs among the people who participate in this voluntary community. The funds come from our members, not corporate coffers. For this reason, we often remind our members to join us in doing everything they can to reduce the often outrageous costs associated with healthcare.
Liberty HealthShare memberships take all shapes and sizes. Some members are enrolled as a single, some as a couple, and some as family units. What constitutes these various types of enrollments is fairly easy to understand, however, it gets a little more complicated with dependent children, especially as they approach legal adulthood.
If you meet or will soon meet the requirements for Medicare, you might be curious as to how Medicare enrollment will impact your membership with Liberty HealthShare. Since Liberty HealthShare is not insurance, you might wonder how, or even if, we share medical costs with members who are also enrolled in Medicare.
In the Health & Wellness Department, we are asked, “What is considered a pre-existing condition?” several times a day by both members and providers. The review and management of pre-existing conditions make up a large part of our work, so one of my goals is ensuring that our members have a good understanding of how we address these particular circumstances.
The school year just ended, but we all know it won't be long before we're shopping back to school sales in anticipation of the start of the new year. You probably don't need to worry about those purchases just yet, but this is a good time to plan ahead for your child's back to school check-up and, if necessary, his or her vaccinations.
If you are a Liberty HealthShare member, you know we are not an insurance company. We are unique in many ways, most of all because we are driven by a member focus rather than a desire to please shareholders and collect profits. We facilitate the sharing of medical costs among the people who participate in this voluntary community, but the funds come from our members, not corporate coffers. For this reason, we often remind our members to do everything they can to reduce the often outrageous costs associated with healthcare. There are a variety of ways in which we encourage this stewardship mindset. One of them is through our pre-notification process.
This past week, the following message was distributed to Liberty HealthShare members by e-mail. Each year, we invite Liberty HealthShare members to cast their vote on possible changes to our Sharing Guidelines. On March 1st, we distributed information and instructions for this year's annual member vote. If you took the time to voice your opinion on the three potential amendments to our Sharing Guidelines, thank you. We are grateful for you, our members, and we value your opinion on the future direction of our ministry.
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.
At Liberty HealthShare, we frequently hear members as well as health care professionals referring to Liberty as insurance. It is important for our members to remember that Liberty is a cost-sharing ministry, not an insurance company. Because we are a healthcare sharing ministry, we are free from insurance! We are free to choose our physician, choose our hospital, and choose our pharmacy. We are in charge of our own healthcare. As members of Liberty HealthShare, we must take the role of stewards who strive to minimize cost for all of our members. One of the ways in which we accomplish this is through our handling of pre-existing conditions.
Liberty HealthShare's Sharing Guidelines document helps us to steward the resources of all our members while ensuring that each member has the full opportunity to understand and be aware of the standards by which sharing is determined. It is essential that you take the time to review and understand our Sharing Guidelines as often as you need to. Doing so will ensure that your expectations are appropriate.
Each year, we extend the opportunity for our members to make their voices heard through a member vote. Upon review of the results, the Liberty HealthShare Board of Directors then votes on whether to implement certain changes to the ministry's Sharing Guidelines. Here are the results of this year's vote: