Last Updated:November 29 @ 04:44 pm

Ky. judge to review Christian health care case

By Roger Alford

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A judge will consider whether a Christians-only health care plan should be held in contempt of court more than a year after the Kentucky Supreme Court subjected it to stricter regulations that could have meant its demise in the state.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate set a hearing for Aug. 30 in the case that pits theKentucky Department of Insurance against Medi-Share, a Florida-based cost-sharing ministry that helps pay medical bills for churchgoers.

The legal battle involves how tightly the state can regulate Medi-Share, which serves nearly 40,000 people in 49 states, including more than 700 in Kentucky.

Justices found in 2010 that Medi-Share is insurance and should be subject to the same regulations as secular health care plans, a move that could have forced the organization to serve non-Christians and to provide costly coverage of pre-existing conditions. Medi-Share says its members aren't buying insurance, but taking part in a charitable endeavor to help cover medical bills of fellow Christians and potentially have their own costs covered should the need arise.

Department of Insurance spokeswoman Ronda Sloan said she expects the judge to consider the state's motion to hold Medi-Share in contempt for disobeying a permanent injunction barring it from doing business in Kentucky.

"Medi-Share agreed to the injunction on March 1, 2011, but continues to operate in the state," Sloan said Monday.

The judge may also hear a motion to reconsider the injunction because of changes Medi-Share has made over the past year that could bring it into compliance with state insurance regulations.

Tea party activist David Adams, who has filed complaints with the Department of Insurance about Medi-Share and similar ministries, said he believes Kentucky's Christian community is closely watching the case.

"The more they look at this issue the clearer it will become to Kentucky's two million active Christians that their rights to save money on one of their biggest bills is being unconstitutionally inhibited by their state government," Adams said.

Medi-Share continues to recruit new members in Kentucky by running ads on Christian radio stations, despite the injunction.

Tony Meggs, president of Medi-Share's parent organization, Christian Care Ministry, has said he's confident that the health plan, as it operates now, is in full compliance with state regulations.

Medi-Share members affirm a statement of Christian beliefs and pledge to follow a code that includes no tobacco or illegal drugs, no sex outside of marriage, and no abuse of alcohol or legal medications. Every month, members pay a fixed "share" to cover the medical expenses of members in need. The cost usually is less than private insurance.

The organization says it helps Christians pay medical bills based on a Bible verse that urges people to "carry each other's burdens."

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1 Comment

  1. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    August 7, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    We looked at participating in this type of plan with the new HHS mandate requiring all insurance to cover contraception/abortificants/sterilization which is against our faith. The fact is that they don’t claim to be insurance and you are still liable for your own medical bills.

    I would not be in any way surprised to see that the judge is a Democrat and beholden to Mr. Obama. They will do anything to see that everyone is included in the scheme that is ObamaCare.

    What would be interesting to see is how the Amish community in Kentucky is treated as they engage in a similar method of cost sharing medical expenses (and other major expenses such as fires, crop disasters, etc).

    I thought the Democrats were “pro-choice”. Shouldn’t that mean I can cover my medical needs as I see fit, decide what I should eat or drink, decide where to send my children to school, decide if vaccines are a good or bad idea for my kids, etc. Oh wait, pro-choice only applies to killing babies…for the rest the government alone knows what is good for us!

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