Guest / Limited Access /

As Congress debates whether to mandate health insurance for all Americans, several Christian ministries whose members share each other's medical costs are hoping the final version of health care reform doesn't put them out of business.

Officials of three major "health sharing" organizations say they are watching the Capitol Hill discussions closely, and suggesting legislative language to ensure they qualify if Congress requires a "mandate" that all Americans carry health insurance.

"We don't just want to be left out in the cold," said Robert Baldwin, president of Florida-based Christian Care Ministry, which offers a "Medi-Share" program to its members.

Generally speaking, members of health-sharing groups—all of whom are professing Christians—pay a monthly fee that can range from $285 to $450 a month for a two-parent family. That fee is either sent to the ministry, which in turn passes it on to other members with certain medical bills, or sent directly to members in need.

It's an unorthodox way to pay medical expenses—and insurance regulators remain leery—but members say it's simply the latest incarnation of a 2,000-year tradition of believers carrying the burdens of other believers.

Baldwin is working with another organization, Illinois-based Samaritan Ministries, in the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries to inform legislators about the more than 100,000 members of organizations who have chosen their alternative to health insurance.

"We are actively trying to get language inserted into any bill that would have health care sharing ministries considered quality coverage under a mandate," said Joel Noble, public policy team leader for both the alliance and Samaritan Ministries.

He pointed to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow Christians Can Flourish in a Same-Sex-Marriage World
Subscriber Access Only How Christians Can Flourish in a Same-Sex-Marriage World
By many accounts, orthodox Christians have lost the culture wars. How they can live well—not vanish—in a time of retreat.
TrendingHow 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
How 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
Survey: Two in three evangelicals were attending monthly or more at the time of their first abortion.
Editor's PickThe Colonists’ New Religious Mystery
The Colonists’ New Religious Mystery
Sorry, Pilgrims: Jamestown’s spiritual life is suddenly much more fascinating.
Christianity Today
Faith-based Mutual Insurers Worry about Health Care Reform
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

July 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.