I used to dread the end of the year because it was time to shop for health insurance.
We are a do-it-yourself kind of people in every aspect of our lives and when it comes to making a living there is no difference. We are self-employed and have been for a very long time. Being told what to do all day doesn’t really fit with both myself and my husband so it took just a couple of regular jobs for us to figure out that we don’t belong in that scene.
**Now this post is for you even if you are employed by someone else. I don’t have a lot of experience with having a job but I hear from friends that the health insurance offered by employers these days is often not good enough, still very expensive, or often isn’t available to the whole family.
Since we have been self-employed for a long time, I will share our personal story with you, but please consider that this is how things look from where I sit. I am pretty sure this program will benefit others in many other situations, however, it will be up to you to decide if it’s right for you.
If you are self-employed, I know you’ll understand my pain. Until I found the program I will share with you today I could not find ANYTHING else that made even a little bit of sense in our situation.
Things got much worse after the Affordable Care Act aka Obama Care went into effect. Before, I could still find a plan with a reasonable monthly payment even though the rest of the plan didn’t make sense especially since we never reached our deductible.
We rarely visit a doctor. We don’t get sick much and when we do I can usually use my essential oils to bring us back to good health. With a couple of businesses, four young homeschooled kids, and a farm, there simply isn’t time to spend running from doctor to doctor and I prefer to invest a small amount of my monthly income in herbs and essential oils so I can take care of issues that do come up myself and at home.
But there is always that feeling of wanting the security that if something happens that I can’t take care of myself we are covered. So health insurance was always a sort of emergency security blanket for us.
I threw in the towel the second year of Obama Care. I remember sitting in front of the computer thinking I just can’t take this anymore. My only option was a $700 a month plan with a $10,000 deductible (for a couple, not a family!).
For people who don’t go to the doctor almost at all, it simply didn’t make any sense. I spent hours and hours looking for every option and was tired of spending all my time for what seemed like a step backward instead of forward since this expense will set us back financially month after month. The thought of having to do the same thing again in a year was simply depressing.
So I figured we would pay the penalty which was a much cheaper option, I’d put aside whatever money I could every month for health expenses, and if something big happens we’d go to the hospital where they can’t refuse you and deal with it by making a payment plan or whatever.
I figured that anyway I look at it I at least won’t be sending $700 of my hard earned money each month to an insurance company somewhere for something I don’t use.
I was set. I wasn’t completely comfortable with this solution but I couldn’t see a better one.
Then a blogger I follow had a new birth post on her site. You know, the kind of post where someone shares with you how the birth of their baby happened. I love those posts so I sat down to read. In her post, she said that the birth was 100% covered by a health share company.
A light bulb lit over my head. What’s a health share company?
I started digging and found out that a health share company is really a ministry. Sharing each others medical burdens is what it is. You help others pay their bills and they are there to help you pay your bills when you have a need. Now this made sense to me!
We ended up not qualifying to be a member of the health share company this blogger was using (Samaritan Ministries) because we are Jewish. In their application, you had to submit a letter from your pastor stating that you attend church regularly. We don’t attend church since we are Jewish so we couldn’t become members.
But it all made perfect sense to me and I knew there must be another company out there for those of us who don’t go to church.
I kept searching and found Liberty Healthshare. This is our third year with them and I don’t have a single complaint. I love them dearly for the way they operate, for what they stand for, and for the huge amount of time and headache they save me every year.
I did learn a few things about this medical option over the years and I want to share this “inside” information with you. I think it will be beneficial to you in making a decision.
Let’s start at the beginning…
What is Liberty Healthshare?
The health share movement began back in the 1980’s. A pastor from Ohio was involved in a tragic car accident. He was so involved in the community through his ministry to alcoholics and drug addicts that when the community heard of the accident they all came together to help him and his family.
Within 45 days all his medical expenses were paid by the people in the community.
This pastor went on to begin the first health sharing ministry.
The idea is for us to be there for each other in times of need. Instead of sending insane amounts of money to an insurance company somewhere I send a much more reasonable amount of money to an actual person who needs it. In exchange, they are there for me when I need them.
In between us stands a company that manages it all so I don’t have to physically go around the block and look for an eligible medical expense and a person in need.
The main difference between Liberty and other health sharing companies is that as long as you believe in the values set by Christ the affordable program is available to all.
How Liberty Healthshare Works?
**Please note that plan prices might have changed since I wrote this post. The heart of the plan is still the same though.
- Members pay a monthly payment that is placed in their own sharebox.
- Members visit their doctor whenever they need. Either you or your doctor submits the invoice (more on this in a minute) to Liberty.
- Liberty processes the invoice (this takes a few days).
- Members’ shares are matched to someones medical bill and paid towards it.
Let me give you a real-life example…
I pay $299 each month. This money is placed in my sharebox which I can see online by logging into my account. I do this every month.
Then one month, when I log in to my account I see that $150 was sent to Alice and Bill from WV for a certain health expense they had. Sometimes there is no name and it says “anonymous” and sometimes I know exactly where my money went and for what and I can even send that person a note with a wish or a prayer for their well being.
Now let’s see what happens when I need to go to the doctor.
I still pay my monthly share every month. I go visit my doctor (whatever doctor I want) and then one of two things happen…
- I ask my doctor to bill Liberty and they agree.
- I ask my doctor to bill Liberty and they refuse.
If they agree, they will send the bill to Liberty, Liberty will process it and pay the doctor (as long as you reached your deductible).
Now, why would the doctor refuse to bill Liberty?
That is simply because a health share company is not considered a health insurance and I guess that they don’t have the security that they will actually get paid.
I learned this the hard way. You can try to avoid this by searching for a doctor who will bill Liberty before you go for your visit (I think Liberty can help with that but I am not sure).
You can go to any doctor you want with Liberty unlike regular health insurance, just take into consideration that you might need to pay cash.
This is not as big of a problem as it might seem. For example, I have a small savings account for medical expenses. Let’s say I go to the doctor and have to pay $200. I pay cash, get a receipt from the doctor, come home and scan that receipt. Email it to Liberty, they process it, I get a check in the mail within 10 days or so and I deposit this check right back into my medical savings account.
But what about large medical expenses? I am sure you have this question in mind…
Let’s say I am in need of medical care for pregnancy and birth. The total amount (without complications) at the birth center I use is about $7000. I don’t have that much money in cash so I make a payment plan.
I pay $500 each payment. So I pay the first payment, get the receipt, scan it, send it to Liberty, Liberty sends me a check, I deposit it, take the money and pay my next payment with it and so on… See how it works? I really only had to have the first payment in cash.
Again, this is how I do it. It’s important to me to give you a real-life example, but there are probably other ways to do this. You will have to take the time to check the details with Liberty.
So What are the Disadvantages of Having a Healthshare Plan?
I could only find a couple…
First, you’ll have to have a little bit of cash on hand to pay doctors and you’ll need, in some cases, to do a little bit of paperwork (scanning, sending, depositing…).
The second disadvantage is that to my knowledge you can’t deduct your monthly share expense on your yearly taxes.
With a regular health insurance, you can list your monthly payment as a health expense and it’s tax deductible. A healthcare program is not considered a health insurance and even though you are free of any penalty if you have it you still can’t list it on your taxes.
This was fine by me because the difference in the monthly payment comes to hundreds each month between a health insurance and a health share and I am sure that what I save on a monthly basis is actually much more than what I’ll get back in taxes at the end of the year if I had a regular health insurance policy (although I never made the exact calculation).
What are the Advantages of a Healthshare Plan?
First, I can actually afford it! The monthly payment with Liberty is very reasonable and makes sense to me. There is a $125 additional enrollment fee when you sign up and a $75 renewal fee every year.
We choose the Liberty Complete program. For a couple, you pay $299 a month, your deductible (unshared amount) is $1000 a year (preventative care is covered 100% even if you didn’t reach your deductible), and everything after that is covered at 100% up to $1,000,000 per accident.
It’s straight forward, simple, and makes sense.
I am done shopping for health insurance. I am done spending all of December in front of the computer, pulling my hair trying to understand all those complicated health insurance coverages. I am not spending my valuable time on that anymore.
We’ve been with Liberty for 3 years now and our shared amount did not change once. I remember the yearly letters from the insurance companies informing us that our health insurance policy is going to increase. We used to get those every year. One year our policy increased by almost 40%! I don’t get those letters anymore and I am so happy for that.
Second, I love that my money goes to an actual person in need. Liberty makes healthcare personal and I love it!
Thier customer service is amazing too. There is always someone to help you figure things out.
I remember needing to go to an ultrasound once when I had a regular health insurance policy. The birth center asked me if I want to schedule it with provider number 1 or number 2. I asked what will be the difference in cost to me and they didn’t know.
So I called my insurance and asked the same question. What will be the difference in cost between provider 1 to 2? Their answer was that they will not know until the code on the bill is processed.
How ridiculous is that? An actual person is so dependent on the computer calculating codes that they can’t even tell me how much a procedure is going to cost me so I can make the decision of where to have it.
I don’t have to deal with this craziness anymore. Now I call the providers, do my own price shopping making sure to state that I am a cash customer (the cost is usually lower). I pay what I need to pay, send the receipt to Liberty and get my money in the mail.
I am not saying this will work for anyone but for us, it works great. It’s simple and easy and I can’t understand why we don’t get rid of all the health insurance companies and create healthshare companies instead of them.
Please understand that I didn’t go over all the details of every Liberty plan here. It was important to me to present this affordable option to you from a point of view of someone that actually had it for a while now.
If you would like to get more information you can do one of two things:
- Email me at lee (at) ladyleeshome.com with the subject line of “Liberty”. I will need your full name, the state you live in, a good phone number to reach you at, and your preferred email address for contact if it’s different than the one you are emailing from. I will contact Liberty for you and a representative of Liberty will contact you for more information.
- You can also click over to Liberty Healthcare’s website and do some digging yourself. They have a decision guide (find it in the top right corner under their phone number) that you can read and you can also call them anytime and talk to a representative.
If you decide on option number 2 I will ask that you add my name (Liron Traister, which is how it is on my tax returns) as a referral if you choose to join Liberty. This will allow me to receive compensation from them for referring you and introducing you to Liberty. This income allows me to keep sharing my experiences on this blog and helping others.
My hope is that this post will make someone’s life easier. Liberty solved many problems for us and I hope that it will be a great fit for you too. Don’t hesitate to ask any question you may have in the comments below, I’ll be happy to help any way I can but I am not a representative of Liberty and I won’t be able to answer plan questions. I can just share my experience of being a member in the past three years.