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New Christian Healthcare Coverage Now Available In Montana

Screen capture from the Medi-Share website.
Screen capture from the Medi-Share website.

Montana’s top insurance regulator is promoting a new healthcare coverage option that he doesn’t regulate.

It's called Medi-Share, and is run by a Christian non-profit in Florida that markets it as a ministry where members pay into accounts that are used to pay medical bills for other members.

Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale says, "this office does not consider the service that they are offering an insurance product."

But, Medi-Share does qualify as health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which means people can use the service to satisfy that law's mandate that most Americans have to have health coverage, or pay a tax penalty.

Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matthew Rosendale.
Credit Montana Legislature
State auditor Matthew Rosendale.

Commissioner Rosendale says he’s happy that Montanans now have another option to satisfy the federal health insurance mandate. He says he believes it will be cheaper than many health insurance plans currently offered in Montana, but said he doesn’t know how much it costs.

Unlike health insurance plans that Rosedale’s office regulates, Medi-Share does not guarantee that all medical bills will be paid. Nor does it have to satisfy Affordable Care Act rules requiring coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

People who join Medi-Share must have, "a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ," and attest that they do not use tobacco or illegal drugs or abuse alcohol and do not engage in sex outside a, "Biblical Christian marriage."

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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