We believe that combating health care costs begins with caring for personal health. This value is at the core of our healthsharing model, as we encourage our members to take on responsibility for healthful choices before there are ever medical bills to share. To this end, we offer the HealthTrac Program to incoming members with pre-existing conditions like Type 2 diabetes, obesity, or smoking, that can be alleviated by healthy lifestyle changes. Members are paired with a personal health coach who helps them create and work towards achievable fitness and diet goals until they graduate from the program as fully integrated members of Liberty HealthShare. One of our members, Carla, reached out to us with her experience in the HealthTrac program since joining Liberty, and it is our pleasure to share her story.
From time to time, a member reaches out to us with a particular perspective and an offer to share his or her knowledge with fellow members. This was the case with Marcia W., a member and chef from New Jersey who was gracious enough to pass along some information on her experience of eating "close to the earth," along with a recipe for our readers to try. We followed up with Marcia and asked her to share a little bit more about how her philosophy regarding food relates to her Liberty HealthShare membership.
At Liberty HealthShare, we are privileged to invite members to take back control of their healthcare in an industry where costs are skyrocketing beyond foreseeable limits. It can be daunting to navigate the intricate policies and red-tape that mark our national healthcare system. Many people choose to forfeit their say in their healthcare costs by opting for a third-party insurance rather than pushing for the best possible cost and care.
One of the things our members appreciate most about Liberty HealthShare is the flexibility they enjoy. Because we emphasize both freedom and personal responsibility and do not restrict how, when, or where our members access healthcare professionals, they can choose what is best for them and their families.
One of the key values that animates the work of Liberty HealthShare is right there in our name: liberty. We believe our members should be able to access the healthcare that is best for them and their families, without bureaucratic oversight or interference. It's especially rewarding for us when we find out this emphasis on freedom has positively impacted members on a practical level, enabling them to get the care they need in a timely manner. This was just the case for Mary and Dan K., members from Texas whose children have endured serious health issues in recent years. We recently talked with Mary about their experience as Liberty HealthShare members through a difficult and frightening season.
Last August, one of our members, Clifford Stoller, MD, wrote a guest post entitled The Truth About Back Surgery. In it, Dr. Stoller suggested that only a minority of back disorders actually require surgery. Taking on what has for a long time been conventional wisdom regarding the management and treatment of chronic back pain, he suggested a conservative approach as opposed to radical surgical intervention. A few months later, Jon. S., a member from Indiana, reached out to us because his experience with back pain so closely mirrored the statements Dr. Stoller made in his article.
When members join Liberty HealthShare, we understand they must undergo a "paradigm shift" in their engagement with the healthcare system, especially if they have previously used a third-party payer. That's why many of our blog posts are educational in nature - we know it takes some repetition and explanation in order for our members to understand and embrace the healthcare sharing mentality. We often get emails from members who simply want to say "thank you" to our staff and membership community for the part we have played in their health journey. It's always encouraging to us when we hear from happy members, but it's particularly rewarding when a member has obviously taken the time to understand and live out the stewardship values we hold dear.
These days, between computers and smartphones, most people spend at least a few hours online each day. Many also make purchasing decisions based on the multiple online sources of reviews, from business ratings on Yelp to subscription services like Angie’s List, and all the other review platforms that are available to us, including those on Google.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over the past several months, here on the blog, we have featured articles about Liberty HealthShare's cooperation with VideoMedicine. Our relationship with this company makes it possible for members to see a doctor via a secure video platform accessible through a smartphone app. Thanks to Liberty's billing technology, eligible costs incurred for VideoMedicine visits can be processed rapidly and either be applied to members' AUA or submitted for sharing. We're happy that this service makes our members' access to healthcare more satisfactory and convenient.
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:
Our members come from a variety of backgrounds, but we've found that the majority decide to join Liberty HealthShare for the same reason: at some point, they realized insurance was not an ideal way to face healthcare costs. With their financial commitment rising and the payoff diminishing, they make a bold move and leave insurance behind in favor of a Christian community characterized by personal responsibility and the stewardship of health and resources. Charles R. is one such member in Texas, and this is his story.
As the Managing Editor here in Liberty HealthShare's Communications department, I spend my days writing blog posts, compiling our monthly newsletter, composing posts for our social media accounts, and editing written content. Throughout my professional life, I've dreamed of writing for a living, so this job is a lot of fun for me. As with all jobs, there is some stress associated with my work, but I manage just fine. I've learned that not all stress is a bad thing, especially if you're able to handle it and allow it to motivate you. Once in a while, though, the balance tips too far, and it's usually then that I get sick. In early March, I got married. The stress of wedding planning would have been manageable on its own, but with the added strain of a move and beginning a new job here at Liberty, I was pretty depleted. Add to that the fact that I am a stress eater who prefers cheese and coffee to salads and water, and I created the perfect storm for illness to take me down.
When costs became her number one concern, Karen found Liberty HealthShare. Whatever your reason for joining Liberty HealthShare; whether it’s our community of like-minded people, the freedom that comes with directing and managing your own healthcare, or the financial responsibility you can exercise as a member, we are glad you are here. It is our goal that you experience all these benefits and more through your membership. Just recently, Karen O. from Florida shared her impressions with us:
At Liberty HealthShare, our mission of facilitating the sharing of members’ medical expenses is serious business. When we are serving a member who has experienced an illness or accident requiring ongoing medical care, we want to be a safe place in the storm. For this reason, our team members encourage one another to remember that a member in distress is a person in need; a person our ministry exists to serve. It makes us proud to get feedback that lets us know our team is serving members well.
A Member (and Employee) Testimonial Hi. I'm Christen Varley, Public Affairs Specialist for Liberty HealthShare. When people ask me what it is I do every day, I tell them I'm the luckiest person working here. I spend most of my days talking to people all over our country about healthcare sharing with Liberty HealthShare! I get to speak with clergy, lay people, business owners, journalists, potential members, activists, attorneys, policy analysts, and sometimes even elected officials. I explain what healthcare sharing is, how it came into being, and how Liberty Health Share is helping people all over the country pay for medical costs in a community that cares about maintaining good health and pitching in to help others in times of need. My favorite part of any conversation, though, is telling them why I chose healthcare sharing for my own family.
While attending a national convention, the Liberty HealthShare team was approached by a member. With a determined look on his face, the man had broken through the crowd standing in front of the booth and pulled something out of his back pocket. In front of everyone in attendance there, in a voice that broke through the clamor of a convention floor, he held his Liberty HealthShare member card up and said, "You all saved my life."
Tens of thousands of people of varying ages, cultures, and occupations make up the diverse Liberty HealthShare family. Moms, children, working professionals, students, and even professional athletes are among the like-minded Americans taking charge of their healthcare decisions while enjoying the freedom and community healthcare sharing provides. For LPGA golfer Austin Ernst, a healthy body and a healthy mind are imperative. As a professional athlete, she can’t afford to take health care lightly; her career depends on it. But life is so much more than a successful athletic career.
Andy and Tiffany Clark are a young couple from Canton, Ohio. Like many young people, the Clarks had begun to face financial difficulties due to student loan debt. These difficulties prompted tough decisions as the couple faced choosing between paying healthcare costs or neglecting basic necessities of life such as food and rent. Andy and Tiffany’s faith in God’s provision led them to pray that He would intervene and provide a solution that would meet all of these needs rather than accepting the frightening realities of living without help in case of unexpected medical costs. What happened next was an answer to prayer and a chance for the Liberty HealthShare family to grow.
Robert K. of New Jersey was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 16. It was a worrisome diagnosis for an athletic young man, and at the time, diabetes was more difficult to track and treat. Lifestyle changes were needed and Robert rose to the occasion, saying, “It was never difficult for me to manage the inconvenience of having diabetes. I would not accept complications arising from my disease."
Most people dream of retirement. They envision that once the kids are grown, they can sit back and take things a little bit easier. For many, that may be the dream, but for others, the empty-nest years mean a new adventure. This past April, one such couple, Liberty HealthShare members Jerry and Sheila Wise, embarked on their new journey to become work-campers.
LHS Health Coaches help member make positive changes in his life. When Crestline, Ohio residents John and Lora Troiano heard about Liberty HealthShare, they were happy to learn that the program met the religious exemption under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As self-employed business owners of JLS Surplus, an industrial machinery company, they were responsible for satisfying the requirements of the ACA. After researching their options, they decided on enrollment with Liberty HealthShare.
After working for 30 years in communication electronics, the military, and freight railroading, Indiana resident Larry Jones was fed up with the high cost of traditional healthcare. Between the copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and limited provider choices, he sought something better and more affordable.
For thirteen years, former South Carolina police officer Barbara Pulicicchio had been paying out-of-pocket for her healthcare costs. As a self-pay patient with some medical issues, she was finding it difficult to manage the cost of her care. One day Barbara began reading a book entitled The Self-Pay Patient by Sean Parnell and began learning about the cost-sharing concept. This idea intrigued her, so she began searching the internet for offering medical cost sharing.
Maryann Fitzpatrick recently shared her experience with submitting her Liberty HealthShare member ID card at a provider's office. Here are excerpts from her Facebook post: I used my membership card for the first time today, first at my new primary, and later at a specialist he referred me to. Neither office was familiar with the concept (of healthcare sharing), but both were intrigued.