Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rising Interest in Health Care Ministries

The Wall Street Journal describes how "More People Turn to Faith-Based Groups for Health Coverage".

I very much like the idea of voluntary mutual-aid societies to share health costs. But some regulators don't.  An except:
Ministry officials say they aren’t offering insurance, don’t guarantee claims will be paid, and don’t need to be regulated. The nonprofits are well managed, according to ministry officials, with third-party audits and a sterling history of sharing members’ claims.

Ministries generally don’t allow members to sue and require disagreements to be settled by arbitration and mediation.

Some ministries say they cost about 30% less than private insurance. Monthly payments, or sharing, may range from about $75 for a single person under age 30 to $500 or so for a family.

State regulators also say health ministries disrupt the insurance market because they tend to attract healthier consumers, siphoning them from commercial plans that can be left with sicker or older customers. Most ministries don’t always share bills for certain pre-existing conditions, whereas the ACA requires insurers to cover anyone regardless of their past or current medical history.

“They [ministries] have the potential to destabilize the market by drawing off the good risk,” said Mike Kreidler, Washington’s state insurance commissioner.