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Liberty HealthShare – Our Health Insurance Alternative

This is my own personal post of my own personal choices for my own family’s health care. This is not a suggestion for anybody to run out and drop their health insurance policy or get short term medical insuranceI’m not a health care professional or expert. I just thought this would be an interesting health care alternative to mention.

If you do look into Liberty HealthCare because of this post, please email me so I can refer you over to get a rep to contact you for questions, but they are not sponsoring this post. They never asked about my blog’s name nor do they know that I’m writing this post.

I can't believe she can save thousands of dollars by signing up for a health care sharing ministry!  It isn't insurance but it may be a better option for me!

Health Care Sharing Ministries

Have you heard about health care sharing ministries? They are organizations created to share the health costs of others with similar ethical or religious beliefs. Since they aren’t actually insurance companies, they don’t technically have to cover your health costs. The big ones have been around for 20+ years and have evolved through the years and I’ve been hearing from happy participants for the last few months online.

Specifically, I saw a post from Michelle from Making Sense of Cents and started researching. From what I could find, there multiple organizations, but the largest four (and the four that are exempt from Affordable Care Act penalties since they have been sharing health care costs since before 1999) seem to be Christian Healthcare Ministries, Medi-Share, Samaritan Ministries, and Liberty HealthShare. I asked Michelle a ton of questions, bopped around online looking at Liberty Healthshare reviews and the different options, and then I started asking a rep from Liberty HealthShare even more questions. Finally, I took the plunge and signed us up.

Our Health Insurance Background

My husband and I are self-employed. We had been paying $270-$330 a month for okay plans from 2012-2015, but then we needed something that wouldn’t get us penalized by the Affordable Care Act and something that would cover me if I got pregnant this year as planned, so we got a new, semi-okay plan with United Healthcare for $570 a month. It has a $2000 per person deductible and $13,700 max out of pocket per year. Ugh.

After 9 months of paying that $570, I’m still not pregnant and we haven’t even used the stupid insurance at all. We’ve had $1500+of chiropractor visits and hubby got the $4500 Lasik surgery from Mann Eye (future post soon – worked out well for him), but we hadn’t actually gotten any benefit from United Healthcare at all.

I just couldn’t keep throwing away a small mortgage payment for something we aren’t using, so ended up switching Liberty HealthShare.

Liberty HealthShare – Negatives and Positives

Before you rush out to join a health care sharing ministry, here are the pros and cons from me…negatives first so you don’t think it’s all rainbows and butterflies!

Negatives of Liberty HealthShare

  2. They don’t have to accept you into the group. You have to accept/share their ethical standards, so they won’t pay for anything they don’t agree with morally (so no tobacco, no illegal drugs, no abortions, no help with health costs from accidents while drinking and driving, etc.).  Liberty HealthShare doesn’t exclude someone based on their sexual orientation, although if you do have a same-sex spouse, you would each have to apply for an individual plan.
  3. They won’t cover pre-existing conditions the first year, then they cover a part of them the second year, then a larger part the third year, and on it’s no longer considered a pre-existing condition the fourth year.
  4. They also won’t cover dental or vision expenses such as prescription contact lenses or exams.
  5. You can’t contribute to a Health Savings Account by using health care ministries.
  6. They request/expect you to live a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and healthy food. (pro and con?)

Benefits of Liberty HealthShare

  1. It’s exempt from the Affordable Care Act penalty.  You can demonstrate the exemption by using IRS form 8965 when filing your taxes.
  2. Liberty HealthShare specifically doesn’t require you to be Christian or attend regular religious services. You simply have to “subscribe to an ethical commitment to religious liberty”. Liberty HealthShare also doesn’t exclude someone based on their sexual orientation, although if you do have a same-sex spouse, you would each have to apply for an individual plan.
  3. They are affordable. It is a lot cheaper than the options we could find for ourselves. Specifically, since we are 33 and don’t have kids yet, it’s $299 a month and they will cover up to $1,000,000 limit per incident with no lifetime max. We’d be responsible for the non-shared amount of $1000 (our out of pocket per year).  And there are two other plans even cheaper than Liberty Complete (one starts as low as $107), but we wanted as much coverage as we could get.
    This is the pricing for "Liberty HealthShare Complete" - their most expensive plan!
  4. You can see whatever doctor you choose.
  5. They help negotiate down the bills.
  6. You can participate even if you have other insurance either just to help or as a backup to whatever your normal insurance doesn’t cover.
  7. If you have a pre-existing condition that can be changed through lifestyle adjustments (like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity, or tobacco usage), you could still be accepted into the plan on their “Health Trac” plan. It’s $80 more a month until you reach the goals set forth for your specific situation and then you come down to the set prices like everyone else.

Why I Decided to Join Liberty HealthShare

The positives outweighed the negatives for us.

  • We would save $3250+ every year!  I’m throwing that towards our remaining mortgage principal.
  • I love that I can see whatever doctor I choose!
  • I love the idea of helping others with my money more directly than with insurance plans.
  • We also weren’t contributing to a Health Savings Account before.
  • We already are concentrating more on a healthy diet along with exercise.
  • Mr. BFS and I also already don’t do illegal drugs, don’t use tobacco products, don’t drink and drive, pray on our own, etc.
  • For the biggest negative, the fact that they don’t have to pay, I read several reviews from strangers and friends alike that have been helped. They do cover medical bills that fall within their ethical standards, and they seem to have gotten more efficient about it in the last couple of years. I personally didn’t have faith in any of the actual insurance companies, so the slightly worried feeling I have about health care sharing ministries is actually easier for me to swallow than the distrust I had for our last “real” plans.
  • For the other negatives, like the pre-existing conditions exclusion, that means no coverage for our chiropractor visits for the first year. But United Healthcare wasn’t helping us either. This also means that we stopped trying to get pregnant this month since the rep explained that my pregnancy would be covered only after our membership starts on September 1. (Then she told me to have at it, lol.)
  • I was also completely honest with the Liberty HealthShare rep about absolutely everything when it came to our personal stances and our pregnancy goals…and we were accepted anyway, yay!

All in all, I figured this may be perfect for us. We’ll see!  In the meantime, here is my “Share Box”  – my account with them and where I’ll be submitting medical claims and seeing where my monthly contributions are being sent.  So far, we just paid the $125 for becoming members plus $10 for the “Complete” plan.  Those fees are only charged if you are accepted.  Our first monthly contribution will be at the beginning of September 2016. Now onto another mission, looking for the best life insurance for seniors for my grandma. As if getting life insurance wasn’t complicated enough try being in your 80s and looking for it.

This is my personal "Share Box" with Liberty HealthShare. I like being able to easily see where my contributions are going and where to submit my claims.

I’ll update this post or make a new one as we start needing to submit health care bills for coverage.  For now, I’m excited to be saving more than $3250 a year! Read our reviews on cheap health insurance to see more options. 

Again, if this post brings up questions for you or you will look into Liberty further because of it, please email me so that I can refer you over and someone will contact you to answer questions or explain anything you’d like about their plan!

8 thoughts on “Liberty HealthShare – Our Health Insurance Alternative”

  1. ESI Money

    Good for you.

    We are close to joining Samaritan Ministries and will decide for sure within the next week.

  2. Crystal Stemberger

    @ESI Money, hope they both work out for us, lol. 🙂

  3. Jax

    I understand your reasons for looking at alternatives to health insurance and it seems like this is a great fit for you, but I would be too nervous to choose this route. Then again, my employer pays for most of my health insurance so maybe I would feel differently if I was faced with footing my own bill. May you never have to use it 🙂

  4. Nicole

    I think this is very interesting. I had never heard about these groups before. I’m very interested to read an update after you’ve seen a doctor. 🙂

  5. MikeS

    I’m in the same boat as Jax, in that my employer pays a significant portion of the premium. Granted I am on a high-deductible plan, so that I have to pay a bunch out of pocket before the insurance kicks in, but my employer pays roughly 85% of the premium. It’s certainly a nice perk of being a cubicle grunt.

  6. Charlotte

    I know several families who belong to Samaritan Ministries, and they’re on my list to consider when we move to the USA. I’m glad you wrote about this one, and the others you found. I believe Liberty is less expensive for a family…and I’d even like to get it now since my kids and I aren’t covered by hubby’s insurance (some socialist country this is…but it’s due to the kids and I being foreigners). But I really hate to pay for a family membership when hubby doesn’t even need it since he’s got his insurance. SM said I’d need the family one since I’m married (as opposed to their single-parent plan…which they had the last time I’d looked).

    Do keep us posted on how this works out for you! And hope to heard good news on the baby-making front soon! 🙂

  7. Jim Johnson

    I discovered these types of plans thru a very good book, The Self-Pay Patient (the author as has a blog for updates).
    My wife has had Liberty Healthshare for 2+ years ($200/month; $500 annual deductible’ $1M cap). knock on wood, she hasn’t had to use it but we are quite satisfied. Compared to obamacare exchanges this is a tremendous deal.
    Ironically, it is set up the way insurance was first invented–group of people pooing their resources in case of calamity. The govt and regulation have almost destroyed healthcare (slight exaggeration).
    there are trade-offs ($1M max payout, many providers have no understanding of such arrangements, waiting period (1-2 yrs for preexisting conditions, doesn’t cover drug abuse, alcoholism, a few other vices).

  8. Crystal Stemberger - This post may contain affiliate links.

    @Jax, totally – may no one ever have to use their health care plans at all!

    @Nicole, I’ll totally update y’all after I get to use it!

    @MikeS, I miss cheap insurance and paid vacations.

    @Charlotte, my mother in law (also named Charlotte) keeps asking about the baby making front too, LOL. We’ll get back to trying Sept 1! 😉

    @Jim, I heard about that book but hadn’t checked it out yet. Thanks! Hope we both don’t really have to use health care much, but if we do, that Liberty is as good as it seems! 🙂

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