By Jenni M., Liberty HealthShare member since 2016
Before we joined Liberty HealthShare, we were a pretty ordinary American family: high school sweethearts who married and had two energetic little boys and one toddler princess. But with two self-employed parents and three small kids, our health insurance costs had become extraordinarily high. As we planned for 2016, we weren’t sure how we were going to afford a decent healthcare plan, let alone a good one.
When I stumbled upon the concept of health sharing ministries, it almost felt too good to be true. I researched all of the health share organizations extensively. We chose Liberty based on several reasons, including your inclusion in preventative healthcare—principles that aligned with our own—and fair costs that fell within our limited budget.
While I admit it was extremely nerve-wracking to jump ship from the relatively “safe” world of traditional healthcare, we agreed that it was worth a try. We signed up to become members in January 2016. Little did we know that 2016 would be a year that would rock our world in more ways than one!
A new addition
Soon after joining, we found out we were pregnant with our fourth child! So I dove headfirst as a new member into planning our prenatal care and hospital costs. I soon got to experience my favorite part of being a Liberty member: the ability to have a one-on-one relationship with its employees.
I worked directly with the wonderful Amy F. who was there every step of the way to organize payments, answer questions and just be a genuinely nice person. I was instantly impressed by how different this experience was from every contact I’d ever had with traditional insurance companies.
"Now, I’d also like to pause from our story to take this opportunity to tell new and prospective members that while I firmly believe Liberty is better than traditional health insurance for our family, it’s also different. I decided to take many of our family’s healthcare responsibilities upon myself, including getting the self-pay costs from providers, creating a spreadsheet to track our bills and making sure our bills were progressing properly through our ShareBox."
With traditional insurance, much of this is hands-off. You don’t even know how much providers are over-charging for procedures. By taking on certain responsibilities myself, I was able to get fair costs and really appreciate the benefits of our Liberty membership that much more. You can’t become a Liberty member and expect the same experience as traditional health insurance – so keep that in mind. If you change your perspective and adjust your expectations, I truly believe you will enjoy your experience much more. It definitely took me some time to “de-program” myself from the way I had done things for years.
Shortly after giving birth to a beautiful baby boy, I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. So once again I was able to work with Amy to get the dozens of bills I accrued from the hospital, and individual doctors, processed. Our first year as sharing members was hugely dramatic and EXPENSIVE, but Liberty was there for us every step of the way. The members took care of us just as their principles implied they would.
An unexpected change
Also in that same year, our story took an even more dramatic turn from the ordinary to the extraordinary. We realized shortly after we found out we were pregnant with our fourth child that our third child was not meeting her speech milestones.
She started in Early Steps, an early intervention system, and private speech therapy, but her progress was glacially slow and what we initially thought was a simple speech delay was soon apparently a much bigger issue. Pairing her high receptive language—meaning what she understands—with her almost non-existent expressive language—or what she was able to say—she was diagnosed at age three with apraxia, a motor-planning disorder where the brain and mouth have trouble communicating with each other.
She also struggles with global motor planning, meaning every time her brain and another body part have to communicate to sequence movements, like riding a bicycle or drawing a picture, she also struggles. This creates a lot of frustration and behavior challenges, and we soon found ourselves in a very difficult place.
We were thankfully able to qualify her for the special needs Medicaid insurance in Florida, which would cover the extensive speech, occupational, physical and ABA therapy she needed along any traditional medical costs. Many special needs parents soon discover that most traditional medical professionals throw their hands up in the air when it comes to finding treatments to help improve symptoms, giving your child the best chance at a typical life.
A different treatment, experience
When we learned about the “biomedical” way of treating neuro-developmental disorders, we threw ourselves into researching, networking with other parents, and developing a long list of different protocols and treatments to pursue. We started seeing an integrative pediatrician who understood how nutritional deficiencies, and other levels that were out of balance in the body, could affect children’s development. Despite not being covered by her insurance, Liberty was there to share this doctor’s bills and the testing he recommended.
Liberty was also there to share some of her non-traditional treatments, which was our first experience with the appeals process. And I never in a million years thought that having to appeal something would make me love Liberty even more, but it did!
After providing all of the supporting documentation that was requested, my first contact was with a Liberty employee who I soon found out had an older child with apraxia. We talked about the disorder, her experiences with it and mine, and she approved our first treatment for us.
A caring relationship, near friendship
When it was time for the next treatment, I was sent to Ashley S., who would soon become my new best friend (not really, but close enough!). She, through her own research, stumbled upon my personal blog where I write about our daughter’s progress and fell in love with my little girl. Ashley saw the progress she was making from the first treatment (after years of little to no progress) and was nearly as excited about it as we were.
In addition to agreeing to help us with further treatments, Ashley also shared our family’s story with the whole company. She let me know that everyone at Liberty, including the CEO, was in our corner, and that they all feel so passionately about helping her.
I read Ashley’s email explaining all of this while shopping at the grocery store and had to hold back tears in the middle of the cookie aisle. I can tell you with certainty that no traditional insurance company would care that much about our family; and that’s just one of the special things that makes Liberty so different.
Learning about Liberty was quite honestly one of the best things to happen to our family. I share our experience with anyone who will listen. Thank you, Liberty, for sharing in our struggles and our triumphs and for taking care of our family during this very difficult time in our lives. You have gone above and beyond to change our family for the better, and most importantly, you are helping us give our daughter the chance to live her best life.