July 27, 2021
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Alliance for Shared Health, Inc., which markets itself as a health care sharing ministry, and Shared Health Alliance, acting as its insurance producer, paid fines imposed by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. Both agreed to stop doing insurance business in Washington state unless they follow the registration and licensing processes required by law.
Alliance for Shared Health must notify its remaining policyholders in Washington state that their coverage ends Dec. 31, 2021. Alliance for Shared Health members in Washington state may seek enrollment through the Washington state Health Benefit Exchange.
Kreidler’s office received eight complaints from consumers about their policies, primarily involving Alliance for Shared Health’s refusal to pay claims. Some of the consumers face tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Kreidler ordered both organizations to stop doing insurance business in Washington state — Alliance for Shared Health in April 2020 and Shared Health Alliance in April 2021. Alliance for Shared Health exercised its right to a hearing and the cease-and-desist order remained in place during the proceedings.
Shared Health Alliance was never licensed as an insurance producer in Washington state. It violated state law by selling 19 plans underwritten by Alliance for Shared Health to Washington state consumers from January 2019 until April 2020.
Kreidler asserted that Alliance for Shared Health failed to meet the legal definition of a health care sharing ministry and acted as an insurer in Washington without being authorized. A legitimate health care sharing ministry is a nonprofit organization whose members share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and shared medical expenses continuously since 1999. These ministries often provide limited coverage and exclude pre-existing medical conditions.
People in Washington state who have trouble with their health insurance can file a complaint with Kreidler’s office.