Liberty HealthShare: a health sharing ‘ministry’ for all faiths (or no faith at all)!

I’ve discussed healthcare sharing ministries several times since launching The Self-Pay Patient blog. Their benefits of joining are pretty simple to understand – they generally cost far less than conventional health insurance, they provide coverage for medical expenses that is fairly comprehensive (with some exceptions), they avoid having to pay for some items that are deeply objectionable to many Americans (like abortion), and members are exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured.

One of the biggest drawbacks to sharing ministries, from the perspective of someone like myself who want to see as many options as possible for people in getting affordable healthcare, is that membership in the ministries is limited to Christians. Or so I thought!

The other day someone posted on the Facebook page of a friend a reference to something called ‘Liberty HealthShare,’ which he described as a new healthcare sharing ministry. I was curious so I went to check it out, and discovered that unlike the three existing ministries, you don’t have to be a Christian to join. 

According to the Liberty HealthShare membership qualifications, you are eligible to join if you meet the following criteria:

Don’t use tobacco in any form,

Don’t abuse alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs,

Are healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle,

And agree with our shared beliefs!

Our shared beliefs are values that express our rights and purpose. As a Sharing Member, we ask you to agree with the following beliefs we hold in common:

Belief in the right of every individual to worship God in their own way.

Belief in the right to assist your fellow man when they’re in need.

Belief in the right to direct your own healthcare free from government dictates, restraints and oversight.

Belief in the right to live a healthy lifestyle, and avoid foods, habits or behaviors that produce sickness or disease.

I called and spoke with someone at Liberty HealthShare and he confirmed that belief in God is not necessary for membership, just a willingness to let others worship whatever deity they prefer, or none at all, in whatever way they decide.

I also asked about the statement on their web site that members of Liberty Healthshare were exempt from Obamacare’s tax for being uninsured. My understanding was that the law required that members belong to sharing ministries that had been in operation since 1999, and to my knowledge there were only three that had been around that long: Samaritan MinistriesChristian Care Ministry, and Christian Healthcare Ministries.

It turns out that there’s at least one more that has been around since 1999, a very small one called CSDA that looks to have primarily operated out of Ohio (although members can join from any of the 50 states). The Liberty HealthShare spokesman said they are an outgrowth of that CSDA, and that they now have about 3,000 members (not sure if that’s total people or families) and have been around since 1994.

One of the interesting things about Liberty HealthShare is that they are organized around ethical beliefs and not religious beliefs. Most people don’t know that the Obamacare exemption for sharing organizations must be composed of members who “share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs…”

By establishing a set of ethical criteria that members must subscribe to, Liberty HealthShare has found a way to expand the number of Americans who can opt for this low-cost alternative to conventional health insurance.

Liberty HealthShare isn’t just unique in its expanded membership eligibility. Unlike the other three ministries, they handle payment of medical bills directly. The other three ministries distribute the shared funds directly to the patient (or their family), who then pay medical bills directly.

Their membership pricing and benefits are also structured a little differently than the other three ministries as well. The have a very low ‘Initial Unshared Amount’ (comparable to a deductible) of $500, and their least expensive membership covers 70 percent of the first $125,000 in medical expenses per incident, with no benefits after that. More generous memberships cover 100 percent of medical expenses up to a maximum of $125,000 or $1 million per incident.

Like the three Christian ministries, Liberty HealthShare’s costs for joining are very affordable compared to conventional health insurance. The lowest-cost program, called Liberty Share, offers individual memberships for $157 a month for those 30 and older, and $107 a month for younger people. Family memberships cost $395 (30 and over) and $345 (under 30).

The more generous program that pays 100 percent of medical bills up to $1 million, Liberty Complete,  offers individual memberships for $199 (30 and over) and $149 (under 30), and family memberships for $449 (30 and over) and $399 (under 30). There’s a membership level between these two as well.

One additional difference between Liberty HealthShare and the other sharing organizations is that they do work with networks to pay pre-negotiated or Medicare rates for their members’ medical bills for the two more generous membership plans (other ministries do have bill-reduction assistance).

In order to receive the benefits of the negotiated rates, there is a separate enrollment required with the company that manages this benefit and an additional fee of $24 (single) or $29 (couple/family) per month.

The arrival of a new sharing organization (at least, the Liberty HealthShare program is new) is an exciting development that gives another choice for self-pay patients. Best of all, by opening their membership beyond only Christians, they provide an option to people who like many of the features of the three major healthcare sharing ministries, but simply don’t meet the religious qualifications. A welcome development to everybody who favors expanded access to healthcare coverage!

This entry was posted in Health Sharing Ministries and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Liberty HealthShare: a health sharing ‘ministry’ for all faiths (or no faith at all)!

  1. Mary Mattison says:

    Do you have any customer feedback on this group? I am a practicing Christian but our 23 year old daughter does not attend church regularly with us and she also needs to be on our plan.

    • says:

      I haven’t heard any specifically on this group, but I’ve generally heard very favorable things about health care sharing ministries from members. Probably the best general discussion I’ve found about ministries was this blog post and all the follow-up comments by other ministry members: How We Save Money on Health Care Costs, over at the site Money Saving Mom. Mostly positive experiences, one negative, although in the case of the negative it looks more to me like ‘user error’ or the hospital they went to not understanding the situation. Hard to tell though.

  2. Pingback: Make that FIVE sharing ministries… |

  3. Pingback: Odds & Ends |

  4. Sherry Morse says:

    I cannot believe you don’t accept people who are by doctors order on perscription

    I just don’t understand this at all.

    • says:

      Can you flesh this out a little bit more? I assume this is aimed at Liberty, can you describe your experience with them? Or is it regarding another ministry?

    • Dana Solomon says:

      They said they don’t take those who abuse prescription drugs.

      • carl says:

        there is a difference between taking prescribed medicines and abusing prescribed medicines…hence the word “abuse” instead of the word use.

  5. Robert Archambault says:

    The name came to me from a lady MD (sorry, didn’t catch her name) who was a guest on the Jim Bohanan night Talk Show. Jim, and the other guest participants expressed surprise at her mentioning this plan, and, urged the doctor to expand on the features, and merits of the plan, which she did, but being the close time of the show I, and I’m sure others were left a-drift on the details. It would be very valuabe to have several drafts of various plans to look over. Thank you in advance. RA

  6. lana vogt says:

    do you offer long term care?

  7. Mark Baker says:

    I’m about to send my membership fee and first month’s share amount to Liberty Health Share offices, located in North Canton, Ohio 44720. I found a report by the BBB issued in 2013, for Liberty Health Share at 6100 Oak Tree Blvd Ste. 200 Independence, OH 44131 (which has a link to the correct website) which states that — “this charity did not provide the requested information. As a result the Better Business Bureau cannot determine if it meets standards.”
    Since my decision to join the ministry’s health share program was based on what I read in your helpful book “The Self-Pay Patient”, I was wondering if you had more background information on the organization.
    Mark D. Baker

    • says:

      Hi Mark, I’ve written about Liberty and the other sharing ministries on my site several times, you can find out more by checking out those posts. Aside from that I don’t really have much else to share, you can always try to Google them and see if anything comes up that is helpful. Because Liberty is somewhat new (it’s complicated but my understanding is that for several years they were a very small sharing ministry operating under a different name that now has expanded their programs significantly) it isn’t too surprising to me that BBB doesn’t have anything on them.

    • Matt Wellford says:

      Mark, can you tell me about your experience. Some questions are:
      1) Is the monthly fee in addition to the “cost share amount”?
      2) If so what is the maximum member share?
      3) Have doctors accepted this plan? If so do they charge a higher fee?
      4) Have you received any funds from the sharebox and was it what they say on their website?

  8. Thomas Snider says:

    Great info. Two statements are incorrect when assessing at least one of the sharing ministries, that being Christian Care Ministry (Medi-Share). The first, “Unlike the other three ministries, they [Liberty] handle payment of medical bills directly.” Medi-Share does make payment to the providers directly. The second, “One additional difference between Liberty HealthShare and the other sharing organizations is that they do work with networks to pay pre-negotiated or Medicare rates…(other ministries have bill reduction assistance).” Medi-Share is tied in to Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS) which is an extensive PPO network which offers contracted/negotiated rates.

  9. Rev. Donna Joseph and Rev. Diane Joseph says:

    My twin sister and I are Christian pastors of the Lutheran Tradition. We were very excited to be able to be a part of Liberty Health Share. We researched the other health share options and chose Liberty. A friend of ours and her husband are looking into joining too. We especially enjoyed the video with Dr. Elaina George, who is an ENT. She is a brilliant woman and we were very impressed with her endorsement of Liberty Health Share. I wondered if Liberty Health Share could do some commercial spots on, for example, the Mark Levin Radio Show. He is a Conservative Constitutionalist and is also a lawyer. I am sure he would be very impressed with Liberty Health Share as I noted Mr. Dale Bellis holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence at a picnic event on a video presentation. I know advertisement is very expensive so I think members could be invited to send Liberty Health Share a donation of $5.00 or whatever one could contribute. I think once there would be some radio spots, Liberty Heath Share would grow by leaps and bounds! The Lord bless you all and I am truly thankful for Liberty Health Share. Pastor Diane Joseph

  10. Isaiah says:

    I just saw an ad for liberty that says “Christian insurance” and I’m confused, I thought this wasn’t insurance?

    • says:

      Yowza. If you saw an ad that said that, there’s a problem, because you’re correct, it’s not insurance. I’ve seen some ads occasionally saying things like “the Christian alternative to insurance,” but nothing saying it’s “Christian insurance.” Can you grab a screenshot and e-mail me at selfpaypatient [at] gmail [dot] com? Thanks.

  11. Martin Matthews says:

    What about Liberty Direct? Their website says “a Program Administered By Liberty Healthshare” Is what they’re offering the SAME as Liberty Health Share?

    And please explain further about how this is NOT insurance? i.e. how does signing up one’s family in “Liberty Health Share” differ…if someone gets hit by a bus and is facing gazillions of dollars of medical expenses (the kind of thing that bankrupts/destroys families).

    Thanks so much for this thread!


  12. Mike says:

    The literature says there is no guarantee your bills will be paid. And how could one member be responsible for your bills? They explicitly say that it is NOT insurance. It is a bit confusing. If something horrible happened could we be stuck with the bill?

    • says:

      All the ministries have similar language. These are “faith based” entities on two levels – one, they are grounded in Christian faith, and two, the members have faith in their fellow sharing ministry members to step up and help pay medical bills. So it can be a difficult thing for some to accept, although I’d note most of these have been around for a decade or more and seem to be upholding their mission reasonably well (there are some people who have been unhappy with their experience, which is probably to be expected – there are always unhappy people in anything). I’ll provide the same advice I did to people when I was a stockbroker (long, long time ago): if you’re not going to be able to sleep because you’re worried about it, don’t do it. I’m a fan of them but I’m the first to say if it isn’t a good fit, it isn’t a good fit. Hope this is helpful!

  13. Bill Shorts says:

    I’m a broker, I sold my health book of business in 2012 to not sell my soul with representing Obamacare. I am know trying to represent Liberty for v small groups (no commission), but no one will return my calls. I make my commission off life insurance and other benefits. I’m ready to start, I have lots of groups, call me at 805-286-2366.

  14. Herb says:

    I have tried for over 3 months to obtain audited financial statements from Liberty that show a history of bringing in enough “shared” fees to cover all the medical costs for all the members without shortfalls. The worst things is to go into this and then they either do not pay of have log delays in paying. I want audited proof which, under Federal law has to be made available. How can anyone in their right mind go into this unless they have some audited proof of sustainability.

    • says:

      I believe they are a c3 organization, which means you can obtain their IRS 990 form. As for audited statements, it’s up to each entity to decide whether or not to release those. I agree that delays or no-pay is always something to be concerned about with any organization of this type, I guess the best I can advise is to search around for customer reviews or sign up with another ministry if you don’t find anything or at least don’t find what you want.

  15. Trula says:

    Does Liberty Health Share help cover costs of medication? Obviously not talking about someone abusing medication. But legitimate-doctor-prescribed medication. I don’t have a preexisting condition and I’m not currently on medication. But what if something happens and I need it in the future? Will I be up a creek without a paddle with Liberty Share?

    • says:

      It’s my understanding they will cover medicines so long as they are prescribed by a doctor, although in many cases it might come in well below the shared-amount – just about every major pharmacy in the country has some variety of $4 prescriptions for hundreds of common generics.

  16. susan says:

    I signed up for LibertyHealthShare almost a year ago. It seemed to be the perfect option for me, but after having my yearly physical, blood work, etc. they refused to pay anything, saying it was pre-existing condition. I am very upset about this scam to Christians!

    • says:

      Very sorry to hear that, without knowing the details I can say that a yearly physical typically isn’t going to be covered by any ministry, and if the bloodwork was for a specific pre-existing condition than that might not be covered as well.

      • Ken says:

        I have been speaking with them(Liberty Healthshare) recently about my son’s enrollment and they told me that well care visits, annual physicals and immunizations were covered 100% and not part of the $500 deductible.
        Susan’s comment is concerning.

      • Wendi says:

        My policy with them specifically says that they cover the yearly physical, including all tests and mamogram, colonscopy, etc. with no unshared cost. Not true?

    • Lynn says:

      This is a confusing comment because Liberty does state that it does cover annual check-ups and other “wellness” procedures. It states this on the back of the membership card. Yearly physicals, blood work, etc. are not “medical conditions” that can be “pre-existing “; they are simply medical examinations and tests. I’m assuming that during your physical, your doctor examined you and followed up on a condition you had prior to signing up for Liberty. They do not cover pre-existing conditions for 1 year after you sign up and they state this clearly. Now if during the exam your doctor found a medical problem that had not been previously diagnosed but Liberty found some convoluted method to declare it “pre-existing” that is a problem and something I would find highly questionable.

  17. Michael Loiacono says:

    Sounds nice but it seems to me that the old adage of “you get what you pay for” applies here. Being relatively small, such organizations as these have to have many short comings and drawbacks. Without an adequate base, there’s always the possibility that they may not be able to pay all of the expected commitments and would, therefore, have to curtail benefits. There is also a distinct danger of bankruptcy as the “client” base grows older and multiple illnesses put a strain on the ability to pay. It reminds me of our Social Security “Ponzi” scheme. The entire system depends upon enough young and healthy donors to support an ever aging and ailing population. A number of other factors are involved but there’s not enough room nor time to enumerated them here. Just remember, there is “no free lunch”, “If something appears too good to be true, it probably is (untrue)”, and “You get what you pay for”. Caveat emptor…let the buyer beware.

    • says:

      Well, nobody’s getting a “free lunch,” it’s just a very well-organized group of people agreeing to pay one another’s medical bills. There’s risk – I refer to them as “double faith-based” groups for a reason – but it’s been working for 30+ years. If you’re not comfortable with it, that’s totally cool – just don’t join one.

  18. Sue says:

    I’m confused about the clause about “pre existing” not being covered – the Affordable Care Act was designed to eliminate “pre existing” conditions. Why doesn’t Liberty Healthcare exclude that … ? Most people have a minor or major pre existing condition … Seems this is only for those in 100% good health, on no medications and who rarely if ever go to a physician. There are no guarantees for the ‘share’ holder but 100% guarantee Liberty Healthshare will be paid in full. No guarantee would keep me up at night!

    • says:

      The Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing conditions clause applies to insurance, sharing ministries are not insurance. I’ve heard enough to know that it’s simply not the case that they’re only for people who are in “100% good health,” but it is certainly true that people with serious pre-existing conditions that need continual care are probably better off these days sticking with conventional health insurance.

  19. Jennifer says:

    Interesting, Susan, as I am researching health share options, and the annual check up and related costs is one of the key factors in my lean towards Liberty… Since my family is pretty healthy, we typically only go for annual check-ups, aside from maybe pink eye or something like that (I have school agers) . The other ministries won’t cover those expenses, unless certain criteria are met.
    Like Sean said, maybe you have a history with a condition that was evaluated at your checkup??
    Here in Liberty Health Share guidelines (page 14) is what they have about Wellness visits:
    17) Wellness Visits. Charges for one wellness exam or physical, per membership year, for which there are no medical symptoms or diagnosis in advance, including, but not limited to, routine check-ups, labs, x-rays, pap smears and blood tests are eligible for sharing once every year not subject to the Annual Unshared Amount. Screening colonoscopies, PSA tests and mammograms are eligible for sharing once every two years up to and including age forty nine (49). Screening colonoscopies, PSA tests and mammograms are eligible for sharing for members fifty (50) years of age and older every year. Well baby visits, including immunizations, are eligible for sharing within the first year of birth.

  20. Michael Lee says:

    Interesting article and informative from one ministries viewpoint. Have you looked at Altrua HealthShare? They accept all faiths or none also. Just accept a Standard of Living is required not Statement of Faith. Coverages are different, seem to be more comprehensive and more complete coverage. Of course may cost a little?

    • says:

      Yep, actually I spoke with someone from Altrua a week or two ago who explained that they have a Standard of Living requirement but not a statement of faith. Another great option for those of non-Christian or no faith!

  21. Lady Gillette says:

    Here’s a copy of the online chat conversation I had with Liberty Direct:
    January 27,2016

    Hi there, I’m here to help if you have any questions about Liberty Direct.

    I wanted to confirm by my enrolling as a covered patient does this meet my personal ACA requirements? Thank you

    The Liberty Direct is a program is ACA-exempt, so it does indeed meet the government mandate for health coverage under code: US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, section 26 U.S.C. 5000A(d)(2)(B)

    Is this program like a PPO or does each doctor I see need to be enrolled in your program and on your list? Also, what about hospitals? I plan to travel quite a bit this summer. What if I’m not near my primary doctor when something happens?

    I’m glad you asked, because this can be a confusing issue.
    You may use any physician you choose. Our affiliated practices simply add another dimension to the benefit related to subsidizing the membership fees of direct primary care practices and support for health coaching and nutritional supplements.
    Emergency care and hospitalizations are shared medical expenses at 100% after you meet your annual unshared amount.

    The unshared amount, is that the $500?

    Are you signing up as an Individual?


    Then your annual unshared amount would be $500.

    I see my doctor is now listed under Nevada. Yay! I use another doctor outside this practice for my gyno check ups. Can you tell me how this would typically work?

    Preventative services (like annual physicals, labs, x-rays, mammogram, etc) is shared regardless of meeting your unshared amount.

    Does this program also cover lab work (i.e. blood tests) and doctor prescribed bio identical compound pharmacy hormone prescriptions?

    Preventative services (like annual physicals, labs, x-rays, mammogram, etc) is shared regardless of meeting your unshared amount.
    New prescription medications are shareable medical expenses when they are filled within 45 days of your office visit and once you have met your annual unshared amount. You can read more about our costs and annual unshared amounts here:
    If you have medications that you are taking on a regular basis, you will have to be seen by your physician every 45 days in order for it to be eligible for sharing.
    Liberty also has a prescription discount program where members are able to save on the price of prescription drugs at thousands of participating pharmacies nationwide. Members save from 15% to 60% on generic prescriptions and 15% to 25% on brand name prescriptions. With this program, members will have the opportunity to save at over 60,000 participating pharmacies nationwide including Costco, Safeway, CVS, Duane Reade, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid and many more.
    If you have a specific prescription that you are taking and want to find out more about what it would cost you can use the online calculator found here:

    Is a couple with kids required to be married to apply for Family insurance?

    Yes, you need to be married. Here is where it talks about it in our sharing guidelines.
    A couple is two Sharing Members of the same household related by birth, marriage or adoption, and a family is comprised of three or more Sharing Members of the same household related by birth, marriage or adoption.

    Is there anything unique that I should be aware of before I sign up for this program? Anything that most people expect but are surprised by?

    I can give you the link to our sharing guidelines and you can look over that and see if anything catches your eye.

    This may also help answer some of your questions. Here are our official Sharing Guidelines. Eligible and ineligible medical expenses are defined beginning on page 9:

    I thought of one more question. My doctor is on your list. In order to have his monthly prescriptions for me covered you said I would be required to see him every 45 days to renew the prescription. Are those every 45 day visits covered?

    When you are paying your premier practice a membership fee (which will be covered by Liberty Direct), you can go to your doctor as often as you need to.

    Thank you! And finally, are there any pre-exisiting condition exclusions for coverage?

    Not all conditions are necessarily considered pre-existing, the best way to find out is to apply.
    If you do have a pre-existing condition, it is eligible based on the following schedule:
    1st year – 0% shareable
    2nd year – up to $25k in eligible shareable medical bills
    3rd year – up to $50k in eligible shareable medical bills
    4th year – no longer considered a pre-existing condition

  22. Lady Gillette says:

    BTW, as part of the Liberty Direct enrollment process you are asked about pre-exisiting conditions and the form contains the following information:

    Medical History Explanations
    *Conditions that exist at the time of enrollment that have evidenced symptoms and/or received treatment and/or medication within the past 24 months are not eligible for sharing through the first full year of continuous monthly membership.

  23. Scott D. Smith says:

    It seems interesting but not really what I want.

    Basically, insurance is a contract in which all premiums (*shares) are pooled and there is a contract with that pool of members which has substance under the laws of the state.

    This walks, talks and acts like insurance UNTIL you get to the contract where they may or may not decide to pay your bills. That smells of Madoff and at a minimum puts people at a higher risk of fraud (*religious organization and charities are high fraud and material error risks) or simple inability to meet medical payments.

    If the contract existed and ALL of the exclusions were open and noted I would have less of a problem with it. Based on that, I could plan/budget expenditures. I’d also like to couple this with an HSA but I see not information on that.

    Great concept but not quite there yet.

    • says:

      A lot of people are comfortable with the way sharing ministries are structured, others aren’t. To each their own!

    • pam says:

      Hi, Scott

      but the same thing can be said about any insurance plans tho.

      i once had some procedures that the insurance would not pay. & it was not until the office billed only to find out it was not covered.

      (none of the expenses were big enough to bankcruptcy; but still i had to pay the _full retail_ price; & the worst thing it did not even count toward deductible)

      if i had known, i probably would’ve just bargained down cost.
      another time, i knew ahead that it was not covered & managed to get a cash discount (which cost about $360 then)

      a lot of times, the clinic does not know how much it costs & how much it gets paid until it bills. pretty convoluted & stupid system.


  24. Sue says:

    I had hoped this was a better choice than what if offered through the HSA. I am healthy and take good care of myself by following holistic/functional medicine practices.
    My concern is getting reimbursed for Naturopathic Doctors, Acupuncture, Masaage, Chiropractic care, nutraceuticals and other modalities. Does anyone know the black and white answer to this? It seems there are a lot of grey areas, which raises more concerns.
    Thank you.

  25. Rebecca says:

    I am a member of Liberty Healthshare and have been for six months. So far, so good. They are much friendlier than insurance companies on the phone. I see an MD who does both western and integrative medicine who doesn’t accept insurance thus doesn’t like paperwork. Right now I am hoping to get some additional paperwork from her so that Liberty will count my alternative treatments on my “unshared amount” like a deductible. They were initially rejected due to additional documentation requirements for alternative medicine. In principle, Liberty says they approve of alternative treatments and most of their members use them. In my case, that includes supplements and a low does compounded hormone as well as diagnostic saliva test. Saliva test is not normally approved by insurance though is common in Europe. If all that is accepted, I will be very happy with my decision. So, far I have had no problems with communicating with Liberty but the seem to have grown rapidly and maybe are experiencing growing pains as the phone lines are busy. We pay $449 monthly for a family of 4.

  26. Michael says:

    I am a member of Altrua HealthShare and love it! Altrua’s plan most closely resembles traditional health coverage before ObamaCare. Our monthly contribution level is fixed and does not fluctuate. Our ‘needs’ are handled like traditional insurance and never publically published for anyone to see. Office visits including ‘wellness’ are covered with just a $35 payment. I have minor preexisting conditions and they are covered.
    Our plan is offered as employee benefit through my wife’s firm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *