At some point in your membership with Liberty HealthShare, you might find yourself dealing with what is known as a balance bill. In short, balance billing is what happens when a bill has already been paid and the physician or provider attempts to get more money directly from their patient. It's important to note that balance bills represent only a fraction of the costs that are submitted to Liberty, however, we want to give you the information and steps you will need to properly respond if you find yourself in this situation.
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.
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.
If you have been a Liberty HealthShare member for a while, you might already know how to submit a bill or receipt through your online ShareBox. You also may or may not have encountered an issue with what's known as "balance billing." For those of you who are new to Liberty, or if you simply are not familiar with these two topics, here’s a quick refresher:
Getting the most medical care for your money
John Hunt, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Thirty-to-Fifty percent of medical procedures and tests are wasteful. As members of a Christian healthcare sharing ministry, each of us is obliged to think conscientiously about the choices we make regarding medical expenses. Certainly, if I ask my community to share in my medical expense, I ought to work very hard to make sure that the expense is reasonable.
In the medical world, it seems like costs are always rising. However, there are a few key situations in which costs have actually dropped for individuals. One of these is in the case of members of medical cost sharing ministries, which are allowable under the Affordable Care Act. Liberty HealthShare members actually saw their monthly share amount drop by $50 from 2013 to 2014.
For thirteen years, former South Carolina police officer Barbara Pulicicchio had been paying out-of-pocket for her healthcare costs. As a self-pay patient with some medical issues, she was finding it difficult to manage the cost of her care. One day Barbara began reading a book entitled The Self-Pay Patient by Sean Parnell and began learning about the cost-sharing concept. This idea intrigued her, so she began searching the internet for offering medical cost sharing.