Massachusetts Data on Health Care Sharing Ministries Reveal Finances That Put Consumers at Risk

Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSM) continue to be marketed widely, often as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace plans, even though HCSMs don’t follow the same rules and typically don’t provide the same protections. There is a dearth of data on HCSM operations and finances, but a Massachusetts rule has offered a glimpse behind the curtain. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund, JoAnn Volk, Justin Giovannelli, and Christina Goe dig into new data on HCSMs.

Instead of Encouraging Enrollment in Comprehensive Health Coverage, New Federal Guidance Requires Taxpayers to Subsidize Health Care Sharing Ministries

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has published a proposed rule that would grant tax advantages reserved for insurance to individuals’ spending on health care sharing ministries, raising real questions about using federal funds to promote a coverage option that fails to provide consumers with financial protection for health care expenses. JoAnn Volk walks through the proposed rule and its potential implications for consumers.

Aliera Healthcare Prompts Increased State Activity on Health Care Sharing Ministries

Over the last few months, state officials have increasingly acted to warn consumers about the potential risks of enrolling in health care sharing ministries (HCSMs). These efforts have ranged from educating consumers on HCSMs to initiating legal action against fraudulent practices. While some consumers may find value in HCSMs, recent actions by Aliera Healthcare provide one example of how entities may use HCSMs’ unregulated status to skirt oversight and take advantage of consumers.

What Do You Know About Health Care Sharing Ministries?

A number of states have acted in recent years to exempt health care sharing ministries from traditional insurance market rules. Katie Dunton examines this trend, the implications under the Affordable Care Act, and the impact on consumers.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the individual blog post authors and do not represent the views of Georgetown University, the Center on Health Insurance Reforms, any organization that the author is affiliated with, or the opinions of any other author who publishes on this blog.