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.
When the ACA was passed in 2010, it included language that applies specifically to medical cost sharing groups like Liberty HealthShare. The ACA specifies that medical cost sharing groups must share their medical bills together based upon a set of shared religious or ethical beliefs. These beliefs do not have to be in the form of a statement of faith or a church-based doctrinal requirement. Instead, they can just be a set of beliefs about religious rights and ethical responsibilities that a group holds in common.
Everyone who joins Liberty HealthShare must agree to a set of five core values detailed in our statement of shared beliefs. The statement is available in its entirety on the Liberty HealthShare website, but these are the main ideas that animate these core values:
- All personal rights and liberties originated from God. These rights are not something granted to us by men, and they are not given to us by the government. Instead, there is a higher source of our rights and liberties, and that source is God.
- Everyone has a fundamental right to worship the God of the Bible in whatever way they choose. The specifics of the type of worship are not dictated by organizations, but by the individual's preferences.
- We have a biblical and ethical obligation to help other people whenever they are in need. This obligation underlies all of the medical bills we share together. When a fellow member has an expense, crisis, or need, it is our responsibility to be there for them emotionally and help them financially with our available resources.
- We have a spiritual duty to God and an ethical duty to others to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A part of how we carry out this duty is to avoid foods, behaviors, and habits that are known to produce sickness or disease.
- It is our fundamental right of conscience to direct our own healthcare. Most often, this is carried out in consultation with physicians, family, and other trusted individuals or organizations, but it is always free from government dictates, restraints, and oversight.
This set of shared beliefs forms the ethical and religious values by which Liberty HealthShare members practice medical cost sharing. The organization is faith-based as a Christian healthcare group, but there is not a specific faith requirement. Members do not need to consider themselves part of a particular church or denomination and do not need to attend religious gatherings regularly. Anyone is welcome as long as he or she agrees with and endorses the five ethical and faith-based values.