From time to time, a member reaches out to us with a particular perspective and an offer to share his or her knowledge with fellow members. This was the case with Marcia W., a member and chef from New Jersey who was gracious enough to pass along some information on her experience of eating "close to the earth," along with a recipe for our readers to try. We followed up with Marcia and asked her to share a little bit more about how her philosophy regarding food relates to her Liberty HealthShare membership.
One of the things our members appreciate most about Liberty HealthShare is the flexibility they enjoy. Because we emphasize both freedom and personal responsibility and do not restrict how, when, or where our members access healthcare professionals, they can choose what is best for them and their families.
This relieves many of the usual healthcare headaches for members who travel, from retirees to those involved in business around the country (or the world). As we recently discovered, healthcare freedom through membership is also coming in handy for the members of Redhead Express, an up-and-coming band.
One of the key values that animates the work of Liberty HealthShare is right there in our name: liberty. We believe our members should be able to access the healthcare that is best for them and their families, without bureaucratic oversight or interference. It's especially rewarding for us when we find out this emphasis on freedom has positively impacted members on a practical level, enabling them to get the care they need in a timely manner.
This was just the case for Mary and Dan K., members from Texas whose children have endured serious health issues in recent years. We recently talked with Mary about their experience as Liberty HealthShare members through a difficult and frightening season.
Last August, one of our members, Clifford Stoller, MD, wrote a guest post entitled The Truth About Back Surgery. In it, Dr. Stoller suggested that only a minority of back disorders actually require surgery. Taking on what has for a long time been conventional wisdom regarding the management and treatment of chronic back pain, he suggested a conservative approach as opposed to radical surgical intervention.
A few months later, Jon. S., a member from Indiana, reached out to us because his experience with back pain so closely mirrored the statements Dr. Stoller made in his article.
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.
These days, between computers and smartphones, most people spend at least a few hours online each day. Many also make purchasing decisions based on the multiple online sources of reviews, from business ratings on Yelp to subscription services like Angie’s List, and all the other review platforms that are available to us, including those on Google.
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.
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.