Healthcare-sharing ministries' revenue, members — and complaints — surge

Healthcare-sharing ministries, which are religious organizations whose members help pay each other's medical bills, now cover more than a million people — up from about 200,000 before the ACA, according to The Wall Street Journal.  

Five things to know:

1. Under the ACA, members of healthcare-sharing ministries were exempt from the law's now-axed individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance.

2. While members' costs are often lower than full health insurance, ministries are also exempt from many of the ACA's regulations. For example, they don't have to cover people with preexisting conditions or preventive services, according to WSJ.

3. Higher membership is increasing revenue for the ministries. Among some of the biggest is Christian Healthcare Ministries, which reported $340 million in revenue in its 2017 tax filing. From 2015-17, Liberty HealthShare recorded a 900 percent increase in revenue from $6.5 million to $65 million.

4. Amid the growth, consumer complaints about unpaid medical bills are increasing. State scrutiny of the plans is also on the rise. In May, Washington's insurance commissioner ordered a Delaware-based healthcare-sharing ministry and its administrator to stop selling "sham" health insurance in the state, though the organizations denied they were misleading consumers.

5. Still, the ministries say any increase in complaints is negligible in comparison to the level of growth they've witnessed in past years. The organizations also say they make sure members know they aren't purchasing health insurance and can appeal denied claims, according to WSJ.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Top 40 articles from the past 6 months