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This time of year, we tend to see a significant increase in the number of member bills submitted for sharing. Though we cannot be sure of the reason for this, it is possible this is due at least in part to the third-party payer model and deadlines by which many of our members have previously functioned. Whatever the reason, we want to remind our members of a few important factors to consider before they submit more bills at this time of year.

First, because the money that’s used to share in our eligible medical bills is yours and that of your fellow members, we ask you to carefully consider both the necessity and cost of your interactions with the healthcare system. Rather than simply accepting a recommendation for testing or treatment, be an active participant and discuss what’s best with your physician. It may be that he or she simply recommends a test or treatment because it’s what is always done, or he or she refers you to a certain imaging center or other provider because it is part of the same health system. We want to encourage you (and, by extension, your doctor) to carefully steward your resources by only undergoing those interventions that are truly necessary, at a reasonable cost.

Second, from time to time, the amount of eligible bills submitted for sharing exceeds the amount of shares available in a given month. That excess can generally be absorbed the following month, but if the trend continues for more than 60 days, per Section III. F. 5. B. of the Sharing Guidelines (pp. 8-9), the share amount may be increased in proportion to satisfy eligible needs. Ideally, through the stewardship practices mentioned above, this can be avoided, but it’s worthwhile to keep this in mind when considering whether to access healthcare at this particular time of the year.

Third and finally, for Liberty HealthShare members, the membership year is based on your individual start date, not the calendar year. This means that your Annual Unshared Amount (AUA) restarts on the anniversary of your start date, not on January 1st (unless, of course, that is your anniversary date).

We understand that unavoidable medical expenses do come up regardless of the season or time of year. In every case, we ask you to avail yourself of the tools we provide to our members as is appropriate, including the Savnet discount program (for participants in our Liberty Plus and Liberty Complete programs) and our Member Stewardship Advisory Program.

Consider also whether using VideoMedicine, our telemedicine partner, might be a better option in terms of cost and convenience. To register as a Liberty HealthShare member, click here. Visit the App Store or Google Play to download the VideoMedicine app.Visit the Telemedicine/Videomedicine blog category to learn more. We make each of these tools available to you in an effort to reduce costs for you and for your fellow members.

With membership in Liberty HealthShare comes a sense of responsibility to God and your fellow members for the stewarding of your health and the financial resources of this community. As this year draws to a close, we invite you to keep our core values in mind when you consider whether to visit the doctor. Your wise engagement with the healthcare system is essential to our ability to effectively facilitate the sharing of medical costs among our members.

Your membership with Liberty means you understand there is a different, better way to approach the costs of healthcare. We’re grateful you have chosen to be part of this community.