It's the most magical time of year. Pumpkin-spice lattes are back, and that can only mean one thing: Open Enrollment is here. Okay, those two things aren't actually linked in any way, but they do both characterize the autumn months in the United States.
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.
At Liberty HealthShare, we view misunderstandings as opportunities for education. For instance, some potential members don't understand the healthcare sharing mentality. Rather than seeing this purely as an obstacle to membership, we choose to see it as an opportunity for education about our unique, member-centered approach to paying for healthcare.
When we hear from members who truly understand healthcare sharing and want to see others learn more, we get excited. We can explain it all day long from our perspective, but the reality is members who share their experiences are exponentially more effective at educating others.
A great example of this is Brittany K. from Michigan, who along with her family joined Liberty HealthShare early last year.
Are you ready for some football? If your kids are athletes, odds are they started practice for their fall sports several weeks ago. If your children have been involved in sports for a while, you are no doubt familiar with the risks of injury inherent in any sport. You have probably heard the warnings about overuse injuries, concussions, and various other issues common to youth athletics. If, however, your child or children are new to sports, you may not be as familiar with the risks.
Have you ever noticed how making changes in one area of your life can cause you to reevaluate other, seemingly unrelated areas? Take health, for example. You make the commitment to start eating more healthily and, over time, you notice you have more energy. Greater energy translates into a desire to move more, so you join a gym and start attending classes. Then you recognize that your stress level is more manageable, and you feel so great that you start enjoying your hobbies again, further lowering your stress.
In the Health & Wellness Department, we are asked, “What is considered a pre-existing condition?” several times a day by both members and providers. The review and management of pre-existing conditions make up a large part of our work, so one of my goals is ensuring that our members have a good understanding of how we address these particular circumstances.
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician
One of our main values here at Liberty HealthShare is the promotion and pursuit of health. While we are here for one another through the unexpected health issues that may arise, we have also agreed to steward our bodies, first because they are gifts from God and second, because we recognize that the money that pays for our eligible medical costs comes out of our pockets and the pockets of our fellow members.
Obesity is a national epidemic, affecting more than one-third of U.S. adults. It’s not surprising that children aren’t statistically far behind in this area. Obesity contributes to a myriad of other health conditions, from heart disease to cancer, so it follows that a large part of our nation’s healthcare costs could be mitigated by focusing on the reduction of obesity alone.
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.