Liberty Healthshare and netWell are both popular health sharing plans. They bother offer affordability, help you avoid the needless complexity of health insurance, and put you back in control of your health. However, you still need to choose the right plan.
While Liberty has been around for a long time and has been a leader in the segment, netWell does offer some pretty attractive benefits. In this comparison guide, we’ll take a deeper look at the two healthshare plans to see how they really stack up to one another.
Liberty Healthshare vs. netWell: A Quick Head-to-Head
- While netWell slightly edges out Liberty in many areas, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Choose the healthshare that works best for you, your family, your healthcare needs, and your budget.
- netWell has a strong statement of religious and ethical beliefs that guide the group. In comparison, Liberty has experienced a series of shakeups and controversies in recent months related to officer compensation, and delayed payments for sharing requests.
- netWell offers three levels of membership, from the basic Advantage plan (catastrophic) to the Elite+ plan.
- Both plans offer maternity cost sharing (with a waiting period).
- netWell offers counseling/therapist cost sharing for mental health needs.
A Deeper Look at netWell
With our head-to-head comparison out of the way, let’s dig into netWell and what makes it tick.
- Like many other healthshares, it’s a religious-based group and has a very strong statement of faith and ethics. Members must also adhere to these beliefs, which helps create a strong sense of belonging and community.
- netWell is also available in most states, except for Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. It is one of the more popular healthshare plans in Florida and Texas.
- With three levels of membership, there’s something for everyone, whether you want catastrophic protection “just in case”, a preventative plan without hospitalization, or all the bells and whistles through the Elite+ plan. With that being said, all membership plans come with important basics, including up to $15,000 per incident in ambulance cost sharing, six visits to a chiropractor (after 90 days), imaging after 90 days (up to $500 if the imaging is conducted in a doctor’s office), labs (with the same caveats as imaging), surgery after 90 days, and cancer treatment sharing ($250,000 in your first year and $500,000 in your second year).
- Mental health and maternity are both shared through netWell, although the mental health options are somewhat more limited than what you might find with traditional insurance. There are plenty of telemedicine inclusions, though, all provided by SwiftMD. You also get prescription discounts and access to over 600 free medications, including those for chronic health conditions (something that many healthshares avoid).
- You’ll also find that netWell shares pre-existing conditions after 90 days, so long as those conditions are neither life-threatening nor life-changing. Some member limitations on preexisting conditions exist, though, so make sure to speak with your Personal Benefits Manager for more information on these.
- Finally, netWell is all about freedom of choice. You can see any doctor or visit any hospital you want and netWell will negotiate your bill balance. However, you also have access to a PHCS Practitioner network. Using a network facility also means access to discounts. You’ll also have access to discounts on vision and dental care, lab fees, supplements, and more.
Exploring Liberty Healthshare
Liberty Healthshare has been a mainstay of the health sharing movement for a long time. However, the recent spate of controversies and price hikes has shaken its reputation. The appointment of a new CEO is promising, but it remains to be seen if his guidance will help straighten things out.
- Like netWell, Liberty offers sharing for pregnancy, although there is a waiting period before any costs are shared.
- Liberty also offers a good prescription discount program through both HealthShare RX and SavNet).
- Most of the plans available through Liberty come with a low IUA, which means you’ll spend less out of pocket before your costs can be shared with the group. Like netWell, you have access to multiple different membership levels, although the specifics vary.
- Liberty does provide access to some preventative care services, although netWell slightly edges them out.
- Liberty does have something of a negative reputation due to the perceived unpredictability of what will be shared and what will not be shared. Some of this is likely due to members not reading their agreement fully.
- You get access to discounted vision and dental services through SavNet, but there is no sharing of these costs through the program itself.
netWell vs. Liberty Healthshare: The Bottom Line
While Liberty Healthshare remains a popular option with plenty to offer, our recommendation between the two is netWell. You simply get access to more perks and benefits than what Liberty currently offers.
Compare Pricing on the Best Healthshare Plans Available
netWell & Liberty Healthshare FAQ
Do you have questions about healthshares? Worried about finding affordable options to cover your healthcare needs? We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Are healthshares legal in my state?
Health sharing plans are legal in most states, although only 31 currently have safe harbor laws that distinguish them from health insurance organizations. Check with your state government to determine if healthshares are legal for you.
Does netWell share pregnancy-related costs?
Yes, netWell will share your pregnancy-related costs. However, there is a six-month waiting period before that occurs, so plan accordingly.
What is the difference between cost sharing and coverage?
“Coverage” is a term that applies to health insurance carriers. They “cover” your costs by paying all or a portion of your bill. Health shares do not “cover” costs – they share your costs across the network, with members all paying a portion of them.
Health sharing is not insurance, and there is no insurance company involved.
Is netWell a faith-based health sharing network?
Yes, netWell has a statement of faith and ethics, as does Liberty.
What are the most common complaints about Liberty Healthshare?
Liberty has several types of complaints, including rising costs, unpredictable sharing, slow turnaround times, poor customer service, and more. The network has also been the target of a lawsuit (which did not go in Liberty’s favor).
How much does a netWell membership cost?
Your cost depends on the plan you choose, as well as other factors. The base plan (Advantage) starts at $195 per month, while the most popular plan (Elite+) starts at $269 per month.
Choosing the Right Healthshare Network for You
While both Liberty and netWell offer benefits, we feel that netWell edges out its competitor with a wider range of inclusions, more affordable rates, and other benefits. The network’s reputation is also more positive than Liberty’s, although new leadership may turn things around for Liberty Healthshare eventually.
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Here are some additional articles on healthsharing programs: MediShare vs. netWell — Healthshare Comparison Guide 2023 | Liberty Healthshare vs Zion Health [2023 Comparison Guide]
Here are some additional pages related to this article: netWell Healthshare – Health Care Cost Sharing Plans to Fit Your Lifestyle | All You Need To Know About Healthshare Plans
Whitney Kline is a Personal Benefits Manager (PBM) for HSA for America. As a PBM, she helps individuals and small businesses find money-saving alternatives to traditional health insurance – including HSA plans, health sharing programs, DPC memberships, and other innovative solutions.