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.

Vedeler Family-husband-wife-hug.jpgChris 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. Here is Chris' experience:

My daughter had been the picture of health her entire life, so this event was not only catastrophic for our entire family but also completely unexpected. Initially, during the first few days and weeks after her stroke, our friends and family rallied around, insulating us a bit. But once she was stabilized in the hospital, I began to experience fears about how her care would be handled financially.

We had only been members for two months and now we were looking at substantial medical bills for her care. To be honest, I did worry, as did the hospital, once they realized we did not have a traditional, third-party payer arrangement for our family's medical costs.

As my daughter's time in the hospital drew to a close, she would require additional therapy, which of course her doctors recommended be completed in the hospital. For cost reasons, Liberty determined those therapy costs would not be shareable if they were completed there, and the hospital administration panicked. They handled things in a callous and unprofessional way, actually coming into her room, telling us we were about to be on the hook for half a million dollars worth of costs. My daughter no longer had any pressing needs, so they escorted us to the sidewalk.

Of course, we were shaken up by their response, but we soon found out what it means to be a Liberty HealthShare member through an emergency. It took several months for the big bills to come through, but they were all negotiated to a lower cost and shared by the many members of this amazing ministry. Liberty and their partners also stepped in to represent us in the couple of cases where we were balance billed. Over the course of 2016, Liberty HealthShare was there for my family in the biggest crisis we have ever faced.

Through this experience, we learned membership in Liberty HealthShare is about giving and sharing burdens; that the spirit of this thing is about so much more than money. We were supported in so many ways beyond the financial, receiving spiritual and psychological support like members of a family.

Our experience with the hospital was unfortunate and had the potential to create a lot of fear and doubt. Fortunately, we had educated ourselves about membership and the sharing guidelines so we could truly make wise decisions for our daughter. Every call we made to the Liberty staff was handled with compassion and a reassurance that we did not need to worry.

Our daughter's health is on the mend. Though this experience was traumatic, we know it could have been so much more so if we were not members of Liberty HealthShare. It would not be possible for us to pay back all that the Liberty HealthShare community has done for our family. We are humbled and so very grateful for this organization and want to give back in the future as much as we can. For now, we make sure to tell others about Liberty whenever our story comes up.

Chris, we are so thankful that your daughter is doing well. We are also humbled and thrilled to learn how the generosity of our members and the diligence of our staff supported you throughout your ordeal. We appreciate your kind words and your commitment to sharing your experience with others. All our best to you and your family.