Are faith-based “medical bill-sharing organizations” a further alternative to Affordable Care Act-compliant healthcare plans? The Miami Herald reported on August 26, 2014, that indeed they are.
I confirmed that 26 U.S. Code § 5000A(d)(2)(B) expressly exempts members of “health care sharing ministr[ies]” from the mandate to purchase health insurance. These health-sharing ministries, which have quietly been around for decades and far longer than the Affordable Care Act itself, pool the funds of thousands of like-minded people of faith, to cover medical bills of participating members when they need medical care. Each member pays annual fees, in the vein of insurance premiums, to be members in the group. However, the companies are adamant they are not insurance.
An article in the Journal of Law and Health called Health Care Sharing Ministries: Scam or Solution? provides an interesting, in-depth analysis of the concept and related issues.