Liberty HealthShare Official Blog
Finding His Purpose For Our Lives
"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (ESV) It's a given that each of us will find ourselves, at one time or another, in search of a sense of purpose. Self-help authors make a fortune on this one topic and no matter how many volumes are published, there will always be a demand for more. There is nothing inherently wrong with our desire for meaning, but as Christians, we must always look for it in light of our Creator.
Joy, Peace, And Hope
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13 (ESV) Christians are often admonished that we ought to live joyful, peaceful, and hopeful lives regardless of our circumstances. We know these qualities should characterize our lives, but if we are honest, each of us has experienced seasons in which joy seems impossible; when what we see says there is no reason to hope or to have peace.
Liberty Finds An Audience At ETCH
From time to time, Liberty sends representatives to conferences and events where we feel it will be worthwhile to share our mission with attendees. To that end, our team attended LifeWay's ETCH Family Ministry Conference in Nashville this past month.
This November, be a Quitter
The enrollment process with Liberty HealthShare includes a review of applicant health for two main reasons: first, because we are a community united by our shared belief in God, we agree together to honor him by stewarding our bodies as the gifts they are. Second, as we share medical costs as a community, that stewardship of our bodies results in the reduction of avoidable medical expenses. One of the lifestyle expectations we have for our members is that they will not engage in any kind of tobacco use.
Membership With Dependents
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.
Medicare And Liberty Membership
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.
Balance Bill? Here's How To Respond.
At some point in your membership with Liberty HealthShare, you might find yourself dealing with what is known as a balance bill. In short, balance billing is what happens when a bill has already been paid and the physician or provider attempts to get more money directly from their patient. It's important to note that balance bills represent only a fraction of the costs that are submitted to Liberty, however, we want to give you the information and steps you will need to properly respond if you find yourself in this situation.
Open Enrollment Is Here. Refer-A-Friend Today!
It's the most magical time of year. Pumpkin-spice lattes are back, and that can only mean one thing: Open Enrollment is here. Okay, those two things aren't actually linked in any way, but they do both characterize the autumn months in the United States.
Your Activism Is Needed!
Late last month, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Dale Bellis met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to a) update them on the growth of healthcare sharing households across America, b) inform them of the positive impact membership in a healthcare sharing ministry has on its members, and c) educate them on the value of making Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) accessible to members of healthcare sharing ministries. We're happy to say that Congress is taking action on this issue.
Providers Question Sharing And Member Stands Firm
From time to time, our members find themselves wearing the educator's hat when interacting with physicians and other staff at their providers' offices. Despite its long history, healthcare sharing is still a new concept to many, even those within the healthcare profession. Michigan member Yvonne M. enrolled with Liberty HealthShare along with her husband in late 2015. Last year, she and her husband found themselves facing outright antagonism about their Liberty membership not once but four separate times over the course of one medical incident.
Member Impressed When Hospital Costs Reduced
Perhaps the most obvious characteristic of Christian healthcare sharing is right there in the name: we are a group of like-minded people sharing the costs of healthcare. What is less obvious on the surface, but no less important, is that our members often enjoy reduced costs simply by virtue of the fact that, in the eyes of the healthcare industry, we are self-pay patients, and with that status often comes a discount. Additionally, Liberty HealthShare partners with MedCost Solutions, a group that advocates on our members' behalf to negotiate and reduce the size of their bills, so our members' costs can be reduced even further, reflecting the actual price of care.
Let Us Do Good To All
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.
Preventing & Treating Youth Sports Injuries
Are you ready for some football? If your kids are athletes, odds are they started practice for their fall sports several weeks ago. If your children have been involved in sports for a while, you are no doubt familiar with the risks of injury inherent in any sport. You have probably heard the warnings about overuse injuries, concussions, and various other issues common to youth athletics. If, however, your child or children are new to sports, you may not be as familiar with the risks.
Compassion & Reassurance In Crisis
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.
Confronting Childhood Obesity
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician One of our main values here at Liberty HealthShare is the promotion and pursuit of health. While we are here for one another through the unexpected health issues that may arise, we have also agreed to steward our bodies, first because they are gifts from God and second, because we recognize that the money that pays for our eligible medical costs comes out of our pockets and the pockets of our fellow members. Obesity is a national epidemic, affecting more than one-third of U.S. adults. It’s not surprising that children aren’t statistically far behind in this area. Obesity contributes to a myriad of other health conditions, from heart disease to cancer, so it follows that a large part of our nation’s healthcare costs could be mitigated by focusing on the reduction of obesity alone.
Effects Of The Healthcare Sharing Mentality
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.
How Do We Define Pre-Existing Conditions?
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.
Freedom In My Healthcare Choices
Liberty HealthShare members make up a unique group of people who have chosen to abandon traditional methods of paying for their healthcare and, instead, voluntarily share in medical costs with one another. We love hearing about our members' experiences with healthcare sharing and sharing those stories with a wider audience. It's encouraging for our staff and current members to know that their contribution is making a difference. Testimonials also offer a great opportunity for prospective members to learn more about us as they consider how to proceed in their healthcare decision-making. Ayla Brown is a recording artist and former NCAA basketball player who recently joined the Liberty HealthShare community as a sharing member.
A Total Eclipse Of The Sun
Monday, August 21st, the United States will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse. Total solar eclipses occur every 18 months or so, but because of the Earth and Moon's orbit shapes, visibility occurs at a different location on Earth each time. This means a total solar eclipse that is visible from the US is a rare occurrence. The last time the US experienced a total solar eclipse was on March 7th of 1970 and the next one visible from our nation won't occur until 2024!
Talking To Legislators About Healthcare Sharing
Like many of you, we here at Liberty HealthShare have been watching and waiting to see what Congress will do regarding federal healthcare policy. In fact, Liberty has participated in discussions on Capitol Hill, making sure healthcare sharing remains recognized, protected, and available as a method of paying medical costs for our members. At this point, it appears Congress is an at an impasse and no changes to the Affordable Care Act are imminent. Therefore, we are business as usual. Earlier this year, we asked you to reach out to Congressional representatives to ask for continued recognition and protection of healthcare sharing. Many of you contacted us asking for more instructions on how to speak with legislators or their staff members. Since we may ask you to contact your representatives again in the future, we pulled together some best practices.
The Truth About Back Surgery
Clifford R. Stoller, MD is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and is a member of Liberty HealthShare. Having recently retired from private practice, Dr. Stoller contacted us and offered to volunteer his services in the management of spine disorders. In this guest physician post, Dr. Stoller draws particular attention to the pitfalls of conventional wisdom regarding back pain, a broad symptom that can lead to improper, expensive treatments, up to and including surgery.
What Does "Shopping For Healthcare" Mean?
If you have been a Liberty HealthShare member for any length of time, you know that we ask our members to be actively engaged with the cost of their care so that, as a community, we can wisely steward and preserve the financial resources we all share in times of unexpected and unaffordable medical need. Any time we interact with the healthcare industry as patients, from a yearly check-up to an unforeseen surgical intervention, we alone have the power to compare prices and choose how and where we will access healthcare.
HealthTrac Graduates From December '16 Forward
Graduating from Liberty's HealthTrac Program means the member has reached the goals set with their Health Coach and has made lifestyle changes that positively impact overall health. To view lists of program graduates from December 2016 forward, visit the HealthTrac Graduates page.
Solving Healthcare Policy With Health Sharing
Recent months have held ongoing legislative discussions concerning the possible repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Although Liberty HealthShare does not align with or endorse any political party, we make a point of staying on top of any policy developments that might affect our membership at both the federal and state level. Several months ago, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Dale Bellis and HealthShare Radio host John Daly interviewed former Virginia governor and presidential candidate Jim Gilmore.
Annual Physicals, Fever Phobia, & Antibiotics
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician Here at Liberty HealthShare, we strive to create an environment in which our members are empowered to make informed decisions about the care they pursue for themselves and their families. For example, Liberty is proud to share in eligible expenses within the realm of certain naturopathic and alternative treatments. Dr. Kendra Pearsall, NMD, is a member of our Physician Advisory Board and she shares her expertise here as part of our physician post series. The following are a few medical questions our members pose with answers from Dr. Pearsall, based in a naturopathic approach to health.
Back-To-School Check-Ups & Vaccinations
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.
Positive Ways Your Pet Affects You
Those of us who are pet owners know that having a dog or cat - or bird, reptile, amphibian, or rodent, depending on your interests - makes life a little bit better. Each breed and individual animal has its quirks, but generally, there is a bond between owner and pet. In the case of dogs and (some) cats, they're waiting when you come home, ready to play, in some cases looking like they're actually smiling because they've been reunited with you after a WHOLE day apart. Have you ever noticed that being around a pet has a calming effect on your mental and emotional state? Certainly, there are some pets that bring rambunctious energy everywhere they go, but there are others that seem to simply enjoy being nearby. The calming effect of pets is no illusion.