By Kaiser Health News | Tuesday, Jun 11 2019 UPDATED 9:06 AM
The ministries connect people with similar religious beliefs, and members then help pay for each other’s medical costs. Because the ministries aren’t regulated by state insurance commissioners, consumers have little recourse if their medical bill isn’t paid or is late. Meanwhile, the Senate health committee scheduled a hearing on health costs for next week.
The Wall Street Journal: As Sharing Health-Care Costs Takes Off, States Warn: It Isn’t Insurance
Religious organizations where members help pay each other’s medical bills have grown from niche insurance alternatives to operations bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars, an increase that is also driving more consumer complaints and state scrutiny. More than a million people have joined the groups, known as health-care sharing ministries, up from an estimated 200,000 before the Affordable Care Act, which granted members an exemption from the law’s penalty for not having health insurance. The organizations generally provide a health-care cost-sharing arrangement among people with similar religious beliefs, and their cost is often far lower than full health insurance. (Armour and Wilde Mathews, 6/10)
The Senate Health Committee is planning a hearing next week on a wide-ranging bipartisan package to lower health care costs, followed by a markup the week after. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the committee, is planning to return to Washington on Monday, June 17, following surgery, which means he will be back for the hearing, his office said. (Sullivan, 6/10)
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