U.S. Government Warns Against Buying Health Insurance Plans from ‘Deceptive’ Christian Health Cost-Sharing Ministries

Maria Franco (R) explains health insurance to Violet Lucas-Barajas, 28, at an event to inform people about the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California, November 25, 2013. | (Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Officials in Washington have ordered Trinity Healthshare, one of the nation’s leading Christian health cost-sharing ministries, to permanently stop insuring people in that state and pay a $150,000 fine for failing to meet the legal definition of a healthcare sharing ministry under state law.

“Many consumers here and in other parts of the country thought they were buying a health insurance plan, only to find out that pre-existing and chronic conditions weren’t covered,” Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in a recent statement. “That resulted in many people facing thousands of dollars of debt for medical expenses they believed would be covered.”

The Christian Post reached out to Trinity Healthshare for comment multiple times for this report but was repeatedly directed to an automated messaging service by representatives.

Kreidler ordered Trinity Healthshare and its “unlicensed insurance producer Aliera” to immediately stop selling health insurance and end deceptive business practices after receiving dozens of complaints from consumers who were denied coverage when filing medical claims, the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner said.

Aliera and Trinity sold 3,058 policies to Washington consumers and collected $3.8 million in premiums as of June 2019.

Trinity HealthShare, known formerly as Aliera Healthcare, is one of the six companies that were accredited as Health Sharing entities under the Affordable Care Act. The others are: Liberty HealthshareMedi-ShareSamaritan MinistriesAltrua Healthshare and Christian Healthcare Ministries.

According to Kreidler’s office, a legal healthcare sharing ministry is a nonprofit organization whose members have a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses consistent with those beliefs. Federal and state laws require that healthcare sharing ministries be formed before Dec. 31, 1999, and their members to have been actively sharing medical costs. Trinity, however, was formed in June 2018 with no members.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair