• Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Legislative Victory for Health Care Sharing Ministries: Freedom to Share Act Passes Unanimously in the House


Feb 13, 2024
Senate and House committees both pass bills regarding health care sharing ministries

On Monday, both the Senate and House committees approved legislation exempting Health Care Sharing Ministries from state insurance laws. The bill, known as the Health Care Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share Act, was passed by a unanimous voice vote in the House Judiciary after only a minute of discussion.

Health Care Sharing Ministries are not health insurance companies, but rather facilitators among members who agree to help each other with medical expenses through contributions. These ministries are limited to members who share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs.

The Senate’s version of the bill is SB 375, which was handled by Banking and Insurance. Public higher education institutions that require health insurance must recognize a student’s membership in a sharing ministry in lieu of insurance. However, participants of a sharing ministry may contribute amounts with no promise to pay by the ministry or among the participants. It is still up to each member to pay their own bills.

According to Senate committee counsel, 31 states already have health care sharing ministries in code and recognize that they are not health insurance. The insurance commissioner of West Virginia already recognizes that these ministries are not insurance companies and this bill simply codifies that recognition.

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