This is NOT a sponsored post. I seriously use this company and wasn’t asked to post anything about them. However, if you feel like you want to join because of what you read here, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I can send you some kind of referral thing and I can get a visa cash card from them. JUST BEING HONEST HERE. :)
Confession time: I was blissfully uninsured until the ACA (ObamaCare) took effect and I was forced to get insurance or pay the tax penalty. As a healthy young adult I almost always would come out ahead if I just paid myself monthly and used that money for any health care. Plus, lets face it, if you avoid western medicine unless it’s an emergency (as I do), you really aren’t getting your health needs met on a typical insurance plan.
Because of the ACA, though, I spent a few years on MediCal (and the government is still wasting it’s money sending me SO MUCH MAIL even though I cancelled it when I didn’t qualify anymore) and then when I didn’t qualify anymore I looked into insurance options.
Through my husband’s work I could get something like a 60% discount for him with me and any dependents paying 100%. That put us at about $500 or so a month BEFORE we had Magnus and it was for a really horrible plan that had a super high deductible and generally big co-pays or co-insurance or whatever all that insurance mumbo jumbo is. Just suffice it to say, we would have been paying a lot of money if we ever wanted to use modern medicine regardless of the fact that we were already throwing out $500 a month to “cover” ourselves.
Because of that fact and because this was just a little bit before we started trying to conceive, I started looking up what insurance would pay for home birth midwives and I found something called a health share.
The idea seemed like it fit in with what I actually would want: A smaller payment and smaller “deductible” (they have different words for everything since they technically are not insurance, but to keep this article much easier to read and not make you go kooky, I am going to use the normal insurance terms), but catered more toward actual emergency situations and help with things you had symptoms for. They keep costs lower because they do NOT cover pre-existing conditions and often only take those who are healthy AND committed to living a healthy lifestyle.
The cool thing, though, is that they are much more likely to cover things that typical insurance companies do not, like a midwife or naturopathic doctor.
Because of that, and the fact that if I was a member of a health share I could “opt out” of the ACA and not be fined on my taxes, I was pretty much sold. I just had to choose one.
I ended up going with one called Liberty Health Share because they were a little more lax on wanting members to be Christian, and while I could have lied and gotten into any, I don’t feel good about that. I also liked that fact that liberty health share seemed to be a little more digital than the others and I like saving paper.
When I joined I knew I’d want to write an article here about my experience once I had been a member for a while. Since they recently called me asking about my experience, I thought now would be a good time.
One of the things I worried about the most when it came to joining a health share was whether things would actually get covered. It seems somewhat silly in retrospect, but I seriously thought it was just going to be a huge scam and I was going to be paying them a monthly fee for nothing. That fear was unfounded, though, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what they have covered.
Since I was pregnant and had a baby during that time, we have had a LOT of opportunity to use our plan. Pre-Magnus we were paying $249 a month for both of us because we were under 30. The deductible was $1000 and our coverage was the highest they offer at up to 1 million (crazy!) per incident. So if something happened like we got cancer or needed a donor organ I could imagine maybe we would hit that million mark? Otherwise I’m pretty sure anyone would be safe. Now we pay $399 and have a $1500 deductible and that is the max we will pay even if we add on more kidlets.
The first year we had it Dustin did something crazy to his back and had to go to the chiropractor, I got pregnant and got a midwife and a few associated tests and bloodwork, I went to the chiropractor for pregnancy, I got a doula (YES, the covered my flipping DOULA), and I went to the emergency room because I needed stitches on my knuckle.
For all of the bills I either paid up front or just gave the biller my card and they billed liberty health share directly. It mostly just depended on the biller. For example, the emergency room took the card and I paid $0 before I left the ER, whereas the chiropractor, not used to being paid in full by insurance companies, made me pay as a cash pay patient up front and then I billed Liberty Health Share. I didn’t really mind because I am the kind of person that isn’t going to let their bank account go to zero, but if you are not that kind of person you may want to take that into consideration. Also, since I use my credit card for everything and then just pay off my credit card I found that I often would get paid back either before my next credit card bill was due or only shortly after.
The process to get paid back is generally really easy, too. I just got all of my receipts/superbills and took pictures of them and uploaded them online.
The only things I can think of that were a little annoying were:
- Pre-notification. Some things that you do you have to let them know in advance. For me, my midwife had to send them info about my pregnancy before she billed them and same with my doula. I wasn’t the person doing this pre-notification and my providers didn’t seem to mind, but it just seemed a little clunky and I always worried when I didn’t do pre-notification that they wouldn’t cover something.
- Telling them what things were for. For some reason I had to tell them why I went to the ER even though, technically, I’m pretty sure they should have gotten all that info with the bill they originally got. Freakin’ weird.
I had one random bill for lab work related to pregnancy that they originally said they weren’t going to cover. I called them just to ask why and they immediately changed it and said it was covered. Easy peasy.
Overall, I have had a great experience so far. We are in the middle of our second year with them and everything is still going well, so I’m currently happy with our decision to ditch conventional insurance and try out a health share.
Any questions? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.