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.
We are delighted when we hear from members like Naresh V. who have done their research and arrived at the same conclusion we do -- that sharing medical costs in a community of like-minded individuals who believe in affordable, ethical care is the best way to impact the healthcare industry at large. Naresh was gracious to answer some questions about his experience with healthsharing as a young entrepreneur from Florida.
How did you find out about Liberty?
Someone invited me to an event on Direct Primary Care in Tampa a couple of years ago. A physician who presented said he recommends people join LHS and then access him as a sort of concierge-type medicine arrangement. He was the only doctor in Tampa doing that at the time.
When did you become a Liberty HealthShare Member?
A year and a half ago.
What led you to join Liberty?
My ACA insurance premiums were going up by about 60%, so I went back through my notes from that event in Tampa, called Liberty, asked some questions, and joined.
What experience(s) have defined your membership?
I've been happy so far. I haven't actually used it yet. I will be using it in a few weeks. The cost-savings I'm getting has already made it worth it.
In your opinion, what is the best/most important facet of this community?
I am younger, and (knock on wood) I have a clean bill of health. It was very easy to get on-boarded and up and running. The main reason I made the switch was because of the cost savings. The lowest level ACA plan would have cost me more than the best LHS program. Throw in the mandate, and you have to pay a penalty plus the risk of no coverage. When I called, I asked questions about costly diagnoses that exceed $1M, and Liberty told me about the discounts and repricing they offer.
Also, I personally follow certain principles and morals, and the idea of a doctor charging as much as he can because he knows it will get paid is something I believe is immoral and inefficient: not good for people or for the market. With LHS, you know there's a higher chance a doctor will be charging the correct amount for the care.
What would you tell someone who is considering membership?
If they are self-employed, underemployed, or a temp, then LHS is absolutely the best option. I refer people all the time. It's affordable, reasonable, and fair. However, I'm 29, and many among my peers just don't care. Most of them haven't been to a doctor in 6-7 years. It's not something that the average millennial cares about.
Do you and your peers discuss healthcare or the way in which you all pay for yours? How do you/they feel about your chosen methods?
Absolutely. I'm actually engaged to a doctor and I try to tell her frequently - even on our first date - about how inefficient the pricing in the medical industry is. It's the only market where market forces don't come into play because of regulation, pharmaceutical companies, other bureaucracies...
I talk to a lot of other friends about it. This is something I've been researching and reading up on for years because it's interesting to me. Healthcare professionals don't seem to care because they go through all that schooling, get hired by a practice, get paid and go home. The average employee in this nation is basically only working for a paycheck without thought to the forces at play.
I'm an online entrepreneur and have been running my primary business for 5 years. I'm thinking about how we can take these archaic systems and update them to the digital age and where this meets the healthcare market. The goal has to be to reduce costs while improving quality of care.
Do you have any friends who have also investigated healthcare sharing? Do you tell others about it?
I have several friends who are healthcare sharing members, mostly small business owners whose business models are set up so that they don't have so many employees and don't need to provide coverage, so they go with the better option of healthcare sharing. When you're an employee and you're insured through your employer, a lot of times you just assume you are getting good quality for your money. Some are, but many are paying more and getting less. There seems to be this dogmatic belief that even if you're paying more, if it's through an employer, it's best.
What in particular do you like about healthcare sharing for your stage of life?
The two main things that I like are the costs and the moral motivation - that LHS and healthcare sharing keep bureaucracy in check. They're able to devote a lot of resources into helping each individual member, whereas huge insurance companies can't do that. I've seen first-hand medicare/health insurance fraud among my peers because there are too many people to keep track of and take care of all of them. It turns out a lot of these are just a big scam. I like the individual attention each member gets from Liberty.
Thank you, Naresh, for taking the time to become a savvy consumer in a complicated industry and for offering a fantastic example of what it can look like to be informed and involved in your healthcare costs! Congratulations and best wishes to you and your fiancée as you move forward. We are glad to have you as part of the Liberty HealthShare community.