Liberty HealthShare Official Blog
Open Enrollment Is Here. Refer-A-Friend Today!
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.
Your Activism Is Needed!
Late last month, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Dale Bellis met with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to a) update them on the growth of healthcare sharing households across America, b) inform them of the positive impact membership in a healthcare sharing ministry has on its members, and c) educate them on the value of making Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) accessible to members of healthcare sharing ministries. We're happy to say that Congress is taking action on this issue.
Providers Question Sharing And Member Stands Firm
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.
Member Impressed When Hospital Costs Reduced
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.
Let Us Do Good To All
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.
Preventing & Treating Youth Sports Injuries
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.
Compassion & Reassurance In Crisis
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.
Confronting Childhood Obesity
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.
Effects Of The Healthcare Sharing Mentality
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.
How Do We Define Pre-Existing Conditions?
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.
Freedom In My Healthcare Choices
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.
A Total Eclipse Of The Sun
Monday, August 21st, the United States will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse. Total solar eclipses occur every 18 months or so, but because of the Earth and Moon's orbit shapes, visibility occurs at a different location on Earth each time. This means a total solar eclipse that is visible from the US is a rare occurrence. The last time the US experienced a total solar eclipse was on March 7th of 1970 and the next one visible from our nation won't occur until 2024!
Back-To-School Illness Meets Its Match
It's August, and parents of school-aged kids know what that means: back to school. It's an exciting season of transition that holds new beginnings, returning to certain routines and the start of others, auditions, tryouts, and...exposure to new germs, courtesy of the rest of your kids' classmates. Goodness knows you don't have time for illness in the midst of everything that needs to be done over the next several months. If you or your children do find yourself battling an illness during this demanding time of year, we want you to be able to access a doctor with as little hassle (and as little cost) as is possible.
Talking To Legislators About Healthcare Sharing
Like many of you, we here at Liberty HealthShare have been watching and waiting to see what Congress will do regarding federal healthcare policy. In fact, Liberty has participated in discussions on Capitol Hill, making sure healthcare sharing remains recognized, protected, and available as a method of paying medical costs for our members. At this point, it appears Congress is an at an impasse and no changes to the Affordable Care Act are imminent. Therefore, we are business as usual. Earlier this year, we asked you to reach out to Congressional representatives to ask for continued recognition and protection of healthcare sharing. Many of you contacted us asking for more instructions on how to speak with legislators or their staff members. Since we may ask you to contact your representatives again in the future, we pulled together some best practices.
The Truth About Back Surgery
Clifford R. Stoller, MD is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and is a member of Liberty HealthShare. Having recently retired from private practice, Dr. Stoller contacted us and offered to volunteer his services in the management of spine disorders. In this guest physician post, Dr. Stoller draws particular attention to the pitfalls of conventional wisdom regarding back pain, a broad symptom that can lead to improper, expensive treatments, up to and including surgery.
What Does "Shopping For Healthcare" Mean?
If you have been a Liberty HealthShare member for any length of time, you know that we ask our members to be actively engaged with the cost of their care so that, as a community, we can wisely steward and preserve the financial resources we all share in times of unexpected and unaffordable medical need. Any time we interact with the healthcare industry as patients, from a yearly check-up to an unforeseen surgical intervention, we alone have the power to compare prices and choose how and where we will access healthcare.
HealthTrac Graduates From December '16 Forward
Graduating from Liberty's HealthTrac Program means the member has reached the goals set with their Health Coach and has made lifestyle changes that positively impact overall health. To view lists of program graduates from December 2016 forward, visit the HealthTrac Graduates page.
Solving Healthcare Policy With Health Sharing
Recent months have held ongoing legislative discussions concerning the possible repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Although Liberty HealthShare does not align with or endorse any political party, we make a point of staying on top of any policy developments that might affect our membership at both the federal and state level. Several months ago, Liberty HealthShare Executive Director Dale Bellis and HealthShare Radio host John Daly interviewed former Virginia governor and presidential candidate Jim Gilmore.
Annual Physicals, Fever Phobia, & Antibiotics
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician Here at Liberty HealthShare, we strive to create an environment in which our members are empowered to make informed decisions about the care they pursue for themselves and their families. For example, Liberty is proud to share in eligible expenses within the realm of certain naturopathic and alternative treatments. Dr. Kendra Pearsall, NMD, is a member of our Physician Advisory Board and she shares her expertise here as part of our physician post series. The following are a few medical questions our members pose with answers from Dr. Pearsall, based in a naturopathic approach to health.
Back-To-School Check-Ups & Vaccinations
The school year just ended, but we all know it won't be long before we're shopping back to school sales in anticipation of the start of the new year. You probably don't need to worry about those purchases just yet, but this is a good time to plan ahead for your child's back to school check-up and, if necessary, his or her vaccinations.
Positive Ways Your Pet Affects You
Those of us who are pet owners know that having a dog or cat - or bird, reptile, amphibian, or rodent, depending on your interests - makes life a little bit better. Each breed and individual animal has its quirks, but generally, there is a bond between owner and pet. In the case of dogs and (some) cats, they're waiting when you come home, ready to play, in some cases looking like they're actually smiling because they've been reunited with you after a WHOLE day apart. Have you ever noticed that being around a pet has a calming effect on your mental and emotional state? Certainly, there are some pets that bring rambunctious energy everywhere they go, but there are others that seem to simply enjoy being nearby. The calming effect of pets is no illusion.
Dad Jokes & Father's Day Gifts
This Sunday, June 18th is Father's Day. While there isn't quite the same level of gift and card-purchasing panic leading up to the day as on Mother's Day weekend, the holiday still offers a great opportunity to show our dads and father figures that they are loved and appreciated. Before we get to gift ideas for the dads in our lives, we need to address the elephant in the room. We've all experienced this eye-roll-inducing phenomenon, common to most paternal figures probably the whole world over.
Perspectives On VideoMedicine
Over the past several months, here on the blog, we have featured articles about Liberty HealthShare's cooperation with VideoMedicine. Our relationship with this company makes it possible for members to see a doctor via a secure video platform accessible through a smartphone app. Thanks to Liberty's billing technology, eligible costs incurred for VideoMedicine visits can be processed rapidly and either be applied to members' AUA or submitted for sharing. We're happy that this service makes our members' access to healthcare more satisfactory and convenient.
Member Motivations - Healthy Tips From Sue
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?"
Putting Rubber To The Road Increased Our Faith
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:
TV Moms & Mother's Day Gifts
Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14th. Coming up with the right gift can be hard, but here's a fun approach. There's no one quite like your mother (feel free to steal that line for your greeting card!), but she might remind you of an iconic TV mom you've come to love. Using these memorable ladies as our template, let’s imagine how they might like to be celebrated on Mother's Day and see if their preference also works for your real-life, one-in-a-million mom.
Healthcare Consumerism: The Power Of Patient Choice
Elaina George, MD Physician Advisory Board Chairman, Liberty HealthShare Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the American healthcare system has undergone significant changes that affect everyone, whether they are patients or not. The price of health insurance and out of pocket costs have continued to rise while access has fallen. In fact, the US healthcare system remains the most expensive in the world, and yet it continues to rank last compared to other western countries. Additionally, there has been a decrease in the number of private physicians, community and rural hospitals have closed, and prescription drug costs have continued to rise. As a result, Americans continue to pay more for prescription medication than patients in other countries do.