Think Outside the Insurance Box

March 20th, 2019

When a Liberty HealthShare member calls to say he or she has received a serious medical diagnosis, our staff aims to respond with compassion and a plan. At times like this, there's enough on people's minds without having to also navigate a confusing and bureaucratic medical system. The team at Liberty works hard to apply the right knowledge and outreach to make your healthcare needs less overwhelming.

Many members don't realize they have a choice to visit any provider. You don't have to follow your doctor's recommendation. Liberty staff is always happy to help direct members to the best providers and facilities for testing and treatment, based on both quality of service and price. This may require the member to drive a little further than originally planned, but most would agree it's worth a few extra miles when peace of mind and financial security are at stake.

A Couple Taking Action

Tennessee residents Steve and Melinda Semer took responsibility for their healthcare by making a choice to take a different route. After struggling for years to find a workable solution for their healthcare costs, they heard about healthcare sharing from their pastor. They “took a leap of faith” and joined Liberty HealthShare. Joining may have been a blessing in disguise, since following a routine wellness exam, Steve’s doctor saw something concerning and referred him to an ENT.

According to Melinda, “It was a long and winding road, with God shutting doors and opening up others.” This road led to a biopsy at a surgical center in Georgia. Thanks to Melinda and Steve’s willingness to go out of their way to find reasonably-priced care, the procedure was performed at a fraction of the cost they would have been charged closer to home.

When Steve’s biopsy results came back, the Semers were shocked to find he had cancer of the vocal cords. Steve was not a smoker and he did not drink, so their ENT was equally surprised. As the couple faced this frightening news, Melinda added, “Liberty was right with us the entire journey. We could not find a location to take Steve’s case in Knoxville, so I called vendor relations at Liberty. They told us to contact the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), and that they would make arrangements for us.”

The Semers ultimately traveled more than three hours to a CTCA location in Georgia, where Steve underwent treatment. Because the provider relations team had arranged for all billing to be sent directly to Liberty for processing, their financial stress was greatly reduced.

A Collaborative Effort

From June 2017 through the fall, Melinda says Liberty shared in every CT scan, PET scan and biopsy. She mentioned, “Liberty sent us to the right place. CTCA is a premier cancer facility… they left no stone unturned.” Doctors treated Steve with radiation, but on review some cancer remained. So in March of 2018, Steve underwent surgery. The operation took seven hours as the surgeon worked meticulously to ensure all the cancer was removed.

After a year of recovery, Steve is doing well. Melinda said, “Fortunately it did not spread. God had his hand on it and prevented it from going anywhere else.” Not only is Steve’s cancer gone, but he is doing better than expected. He was told he would not be able to swallow correctly or speak after his surgery, and yet he passes the swallow test and is able to talk.

A Sharing Message

Steve and Melinda’s advice for other members who find themselves in a similar situation is to “find the best negotiated, most logical place [for care] and get the biopsy. It’s best to know than to guess with cancer. The sooner there is a diagnosis, the sooner you can get treatment and the better the outcome.”

Melinda added, “Liberty HealthShare got us through this stressful journey and saved Steve’s life. Liberty HealthShare is real… it’s real care. It’s an option for all those with faith, to have more control over where and how their healthcare dollars are spent. We also want to thank the members of Liberty HealthShare for giving us our retirement back, and for saving Steve’s life.”

The Semers’ dramatic healthcare journey gave them an opportunity to experience what a difference the healthcare sharing approach can make. Through open communication with our provider relations team, they were able to not only access the best care for Steve but to also responsibly steward the shared dollars of the Liberty HealthShare community. Looking back on this experience, Melinda added, “Without hesitation, we would refer others to think outside the insurance box and take a leap of faith like we did.”

Photo: Steve post-surgery, proudly sporting a Liberty HealthShare hat and jacket.

See more on the Semers' story below: