Friday, November 29, 2019

State Insurance Regulators Target Trinity Health-Care Sharing Ministry

NPR reported earlier this week on enforcement actions by insurance regulators in Texas, Colorado, Washington and New Hampshire against Aliera and its affiliate Trinity HealthShare for violating rules relating to health-care sharing ministries. These plans for sharing health care costs of members are significantly cheaper than standard health insurance policies. Most of the Christian affiliated ministries will not cover abortion services, and offer prayer hotlines for members. The October 30 press release from the New Hampshire Insurance Department announcing its enforcement action states in part:
Trinity represents itself as a health care sharing ministry, which would be exempt from state insurance regulation. A legal health care sharing ministry is a nonprofit organization in existence since December 31, 1999, whose members share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses among members. [Trinity was not formed until 2018 and did not show it is faith based and limited its membership to those with common beliefs.]
The Department’s Consumer Services Division received dozens of complaints and concerns from consumers. Some people believed they were buying health insurance and did not know they had joined a health care sharing ministry. Many people discovered this when their claims were denied because their medical conditions were considered pre-existing under the plan, or were not covered because they were deemed inappropriate for a “Christian lifestyle.” 
[Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]