Late winter into early spring is a busy time for Liberty's communications and events teams. During February and March, they travel to and attend events in various cities throughout the nation, talking to members and potential members and sharing information about Liberty with leaders in the nonprofit, ministry, healthcare, and policy realms. This year, February 27th-March 2nd, representatives from Liberty will sponsor and attend the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Proclaim 18 Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
When members join Liberty HealthShare, we understand they must undergo a "paradigm shift" in their engagement with the healthcare system, especially if they have previously used a third-party payer. That's why many of our blog posts are educational in nature - we know it takes some repetition and explanation in order for our members to understand and embrace the healthcare sharing mentality. We often get emails from members who simply want to say "thank you" to our staff and membership community for the part we have played in their health journey. It's always encouraging to us when we hear from happy members, but it's particularly rewarding when a member has obviously taken the time to understand and live out the stewardship values we hold dear.
Last Friday, January 19th, members of the Liberty HealthShare communications staff participated in the 45th annual March for Life, held in Washington, D.C. Starting at 1 p.m., we walked up Constitution Avenue with hundreds of thousands of other pro-life individuals to demonstrate our love and support for both pre-born babies and their mothers. The March culminated on the steps of the Supreme Court, the same building where abortion on demand was legalized in 1973. Ever since then, the March for Life has been held on or around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to demonstrate that for those who believe life begins at conception, this issue is far from settled.
January 19th is the 45th annual March for Life, held in Washington, D.C. The March is held every year on or around the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand. What started in 1974 as a small, peaceful demonstration meant to mark this somber anniversary has grown to become the largest pro-life event in the world. On Friday, thousands of pro-lifers from all over the United States will gather on the National Mall for a concert and rally.
As part of a new occasional book review series here on the blog, today we are reviewing Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age (Crossway), by Bob Cutillo, M.D. We live in an age of unprecedented medical advancement, with broad access to interventions ranging from the preventative to the elective. We have much to be thankful for as prognoses improve and lifespans continue to increase. Certain preventions can bring peace of mind to those who otherwise face a genetic predisposition to disease. Pain can be managed and even, in some cases, eliminated. However, a Biblical perspective on the topics of health, pain, disease, and death is in some ways set against that of our culture.
In an ongoing effort to give our members a little bit of an inside look at the people who make up Liberty HealthShare, today we continue our occasional series of "human interest" stories. We hope this helps you feel a bit more connected to us and the heartbeat of the work we do each day. Each member of our staff is grateful for the opportunity to serve you in their individual capacities. Tim DeWees is Liberty's Chief Technology Officer in the Information Technology department. We recently asked him to tell us about his work, motivation, and interests, and he graciously took the time to answer.
A string of hurricanes and wildfires devastated large areas across the nation this summer. Wildfires in California continue to leave destruction in their wake. Thousands of Liberty HealthShare member families live within the declared disaster areas, with many facing a daunting recovery process as they consider how best to move forward. As members of a Christian community, we are compelled to step up.
The great American holiday, otherwise known as Thanksgiving, is this Thursday. Whether you celebrate with turkey and all the fixings or you’re more of a ham family, whether you spend your day serving at a local charity or watching the parade and football, we hope you enjoy a day full of reminiscing over old memories and the creation of new ones. As you look around the table, don’t forget to take this opportunity to recall the many things you have to be thankful for.
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.
In last month's post, I shared my main motivation for pursuing health: love for my grandchildren. What keeps me on track and making healthy choices is the desire to be in their lives for a long time. Not only do I want to be around, but I also want to be able to keep up with them and actively participate in all the important events that will define their lives over the years to come. In the motivation post, I detailed a long list of excuses which, from time to time, we are all guilty of making where our health and fitness are concerned. Life is stressful, busy, and tiring. Work, friends, family, and our other commitments play tug-of-war with our time and energy. Sometimes the only thing that helps us achieve success is an incentive...some sort of carrot we can chase on our way to better health (better carrots than cake!). So I asked our members, "What motivates you?" Or said a different way, "What is your driving force?"
From time to time, we hear from a member who experienced an emergency medical cost just days or weeks after joining Liberty HealthShare. Dealing with a large expense like an emergency room visit can be nerve-wracking, especially if you are new to the concept of healthcare sharing. CindyAnn S., a Liberty HealthShare member in Florida, found herself in this position when her son broke his arm just 9 days into their membership. Here is her story:
Members of healthcare sharing ministries are a unique breed. We are determined to protect our individual liberties, and yet we have committed ourselves to sharing with this community. These two behaviors may seem incongruous to some, but we believe they go hand in hand. For many of us, it is our individual freedom that compels us to share with others as they share with us. We want others to remain free as well. Participating in elections is one of the main ways we preserve and protect our unalienable rights.
When costs became her number one concern, Karen found Liberty HealthShare. Whatever your reason for joining Liberty HealthShare; whether it’s our community of like-minded people, the freedom that comes with directing and managing your own healthcare, or the financial responsibility you can exercise as a member, we are glad you are here. It is our goal that you experience all these benefits and more through your membership. Just recently, Karen O. from Florida shared her impressions with us:
On September 17th, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the United States Constitution, adopting it as the supreme law of this land. In recognition of its historic signing, we observe Constitution Day each year. Even today, 229 years later, this unique document remains the standard by which all other laws are measured. In fact, the Constitution is so extraordinary that other nations have used it as a template for their own governmental structures!
This past week, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Dale Bellis attended a pastors' training event hosted by Pastor Jim Garlow, author of Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today's Tough Issues. This brand new book does a fantastic job of explaining how we as Americans might best respond to the pressures, policies, and events that impact our lives each day - all in light of the Bible.
At Liberty HealthShare, our mission of facilitating the sharing of members’ medical expenses is serious business. When we are serving a member who has experienced an illness or accident requiring ongoing medical care, we want to be a safe place in the storm. For this reason, our team members encourage one another to remember that a member in distress is a person in need; a person our ministry exists to serve. It makes us proud to get feedback that lets us know our team is serving members well.
Last month, Liberty HealthShare sent representatives to Cleveland and Philadelphia to meet with those attending the Republican and Democrat National Conventions. Since healthcare is a particularly hot topic this election cycle, we wanted to make sure candidates and their campaigns are aware of our unique status. We are always paying attention to possible policy changes, both at the national and the state level, and we are always advocating for FREEDOM!
A Member (and Employee) Testimonial Hi. I'm Christen Varley, Public Affairs Specialist for Liberty HealthShare. When people ask me what it is I do every day, I tell them I'm the luckiest person working here. I spend most of my days talking to people all over our country about healthcare sharing with Liberty HealthShare! I get to speak with clergy, lay people, business owners, journalists, potential members, activists, attorneys, policy analysts, and sometimes even elected officials. I explain what healthcare sharing is, how it came into being, and how Liberty Health Share is helping people all over the country pay for medical costs in a community that cares about maintaining good health and pitching in to help others in times of need. My favorite part of any conversation, though, is telling them why I chose healthcare sharing for my own family.
While attending a national convention, the Liberty HealthShare team was approached by a member. With a determined look on his face, the man had broken through the crowd standing in front of the booth and pulled something out of his back pocket. In front of everyone in attendance there, in a voice that broke through the clamor of a convention floor, he held his Liberty HealthShare member card up and said, "You all saved my life."
It was autumn 2009 when Pastor Kip Smith and his wife Lora first learned about the mission work being performed at Cap Haitien in Haiti. They attended a talk in Cleveland, Ohio, where missionaries and volunteers told of the desperate need for medical supplies and healthcare workers in Haiti’s second largest city. While discussions were being held as to what sort of involvement was possible for their small parish, disaster struck.
Andy and Tiffany Clark are a young couple from Canton, Ohio. Like many young people, the Clarks had begun to face financial difficulties due to student loan debt. These difficulties prompted tough decisions as the couple faced choosing between paying healthcare costs or neglecting basic necessities of life such as food and rent. Andy and Tiffany’s faith in God’s provision led them to pray that He would intervene and provide a solution that would meet all of these needs rather than accepting the frightening realities of living without help in case of unexpected medical costs. What happened next was an answer to prayer and a chance for the Liberty HealthShare family to grow.
Have you ever wondered if praying really works? We have all received news of a family member, friend, or acquaintance suffering from an illness or injury. Oftentimes, we are asked to pray for the afflicted person’s healing and comfort. Many of us do so gladly, adding a name to our daily prayers, offering a specific intercession or even going the extra mile and encouraging others to pray as well. Have you ever wondered if praying works?
Representatives of Liberty HealthShare recently had the privilege of participating in the Future Conference at Skyline Church in La Mesa, California. The Future Conference is a gathering of pastors, church leaders, and Christians interested in discussing difficult topics. It is a four-day event that covers more than twenty topics.
The mindset every member should have Becoming a Liberty HealthShare member is a liberating step. You’ve abandoned bureaucratic models of paying for healthcare and embraced freedom. Your status as a self-pay patient sharing medical expenses with others of like mind allows you to access the best medical care available at the lowest cost possible. In addition, you have engaged the most powerful consumer weapon in healthcare: the self-pay patient! You have the twin advantage of a vast community sharing your costs while you watch over your own expenses as an individual patient. After all, it’s your money! And who better to watch over your money than you! This paradigm shift, once embraced, changes everything, keeping costs low and your healthcare options intact!
One of the main qualities that sets Liberty HealthShare apart from traditional methods of paying for healthcare is the fact that we encourage and depend upon our members taking personal responsibility for their own health care. This distinctive feature plays a huge part in reducing costs for members of our Christian healthcare sharing ministry.
Liberty HealthShare's predecessor and parent ministry is a faith-based group that began in 1988 as a group of Christians who shared end-of-life medical and funeral expenses. Since then, the group has expanded to include a wide range of eligible medical expenses, ultimately becoming Liberty HealthShare. We are not health insurance, but rather we make it possible for individuals to share in one another's eligible medical expenses. This is allowable under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and for that reason, it has grown rapidly in recent years.
How personal values can lead to better healthcare economics. by Dale Bellis, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Recently the New York Times posted an article entitled, "Onward Christian, Healthcare" by Molly Worthen. We are so happy to see that the media is taking notice of healthcare sharing ministries, and we are encouraged by the impact it is having on the American healthcare landscape. I was quoted in the article as saying, "success comes 'when the marketplace is given the opportunity to produce solutions on its own.'" However, given the way in which the quote was presented, it seemed as though I believe the reason we share medical bills together is because of the economic advantage; because it is cheaper. This quote was accurate; however, I would like to add context, because it is important to know the driving force behind what we do.
With the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) now passed into law and in full effect, people are wondering what options they have to pay for their medical costs. One approach that isn’t commonly talked about is healthcare sharing or medical cost sharing. It is acknowledged in the ACA, but many people do not know about it. Of those who have heard of medical cost sharing, many are confused as to what it really is and how it works. Let’s start by saying medical cost sharing it IS NOT insurance, it IS legal, and it has been around for quite some time in faith communities. In fact, it is a biblical approach to paying for unexpected and unaffordable healthcare costs.