From time to time, we hear from a member who experienced an emergency medical cost just days or weeks after joining Liberty HealthShare. Dealing with a large expense like an emergency room visit can be nerve-wracking, especially if you are new to the concept of healthcare sharing. CindyAnn S., a Liberty HealthShare member in Florida, found herself in this position when her son broke his arm just 9 days into their membership. Here is her story:
My family and I joined Liberty HealthShare in September of last year. My husband Mike and I were looking for a way to meet our family’s health care needs. After some searching, we discovered Liberty HealthShare. We realized it was an entirely different way to approach healthcare and determined it was the best option for us. One of the main reasons we were drawn to Liberty was that there was no small print. We knew exactly what we were getting into. Most importantly, we saw membership as an opportunity to be part of a Christian community in a new way.
Mike, Luke, and CindyAnn
On September 9th, Luke was on the playground. He and an older student climbed up and tried to jump to a nearby tree limb that was 5 or 6 feet off the ground. They missed, and Luke broke the radius and ulna of his left arm in the fall.
Immediately following Luke's injury, I admit the main emotion I felt was fear. I was brand new to healthcare sharing. It was one thing to trust the sharing philosophy would work when we were healthy, but quite another when we were facing bills from the hospital, the orthopedist, and the radiologist. I was afraid, and I even tried to find out whether we could reinstate Luke's state insurance. That was a futile effort, but I decided to trust God when he said to "walk by faith, and not by sight."
Luke's orthopedist recommended surgery, but we knew we needed to be accountable to the Liberty HealthShare community in how we used sharing dollars. The doctor agreed we could wait to do surgery, so we did, praying the break would resolve itself.
In the meantime, we called the Liberty pre-notification line to talk to a rep about Luke's possible need for surgery. Our interaction with pre-notification was easy and best of all, fast. Ultimately, the break didn't heal on its own, so we proceeded with surgery as advised. Luke had three pins placed to repair the break, and today he's healed and doing well.
Luke post-surgery at Black Belts for Christ, with his jiu jitsu senseis Martha & Alex
Throughout the entirety of Luke's treatment, we were impressed with the warmth and availability of the Liberty HealthShare staff. One rep we spoke with encouraged us to keep her phone number and direct e-mail address so we could stay in touch. We never had a question about whether someone would answer our call and complete the tasks we needed to have done for us.
The provider relations department also did a great job, so much so that two of our doctors who hadn't ever used Liberty opted to work with them. We did receive one balance bill, but the personnel at Med Cost Solutions were proficient and helpful throughout that process.
If you are a member and are unsure about how this works, I want to challenge you first to educate yourself. Read and understand the Sharing Guidelines. Understand what's expected of you as you steward the resources of the group. Since Luke's accident, we have told him that his use of proper safety gear when skateboarding and using his scooter are a condition of his Liberty membership. Just as we know we are accountable, we want to instill that in him.
Don't be afraid to call the number on the back of your card and ask whatever questions you have. Ask to build a relationship with a representative, and then put the staff to the test. Don't let your fears go unanswered.
Our encouragement to anyone who is considering membership is this: we decided to set aside our pre-conceived notions (and fears) about how we have always handled medical costs. We decided, to the best of our ability, to trust Liberty's mission and embrace God's word, knowing He is always faithful.
In addition, Liberty HealthShare's customer service is second to none. If you have questions, we would encourage you to call and talk to as many folks as you can. We've seen that their work is truly about members, and that builds trust over time. Our experience with Liberty is that this a group of Christians getting together and showing love for one another. Luke's accident forced us to put rubber to the road in trusting God, and when we realized love, service, and generosity were behind what Liberty does, it increased our faith. We made the right choice with Liberty HealthShare.
Reminder: While Liberty HealthShare requires a waiting period of 60 days for new members to submit costs for sharing, eligible costs associated with accidents and acute illness or injury can be submitted for sharing, subject to the Sharing Guidelines and annual unshared amount (AUA).