April 15, 2021
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler ordered Christian Discount Alliance LLC, doing business as Shared Health Alliance, to immediately stop selling insurance illegally and issued a fine of $7,500.
Shared Health Alliance was acting as an insurance producer for Alliance for Shared Health, which markets itself as a health care sharing ministry. Kreidler asserts that Alliance for Shared Health fails to meet the legal definition of a health care sharing ministry. In April 2020, he ordered it to stop doing business in Washington state and issued a fine of $100,000 for violating insurance laws. Alliance for Shared Health exercised its right to a hearing to contest both actions.
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, when Kreidler issued the cease-and-desist order. Since 2020, seven consumers have filed complaints with Kreidler’s office about Alliance for Shared Health’s practices, primarily involving its failure to pay claims. Some of the consumers face tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
A legitimate health care sharing ministry is a nonprofit organization whose members have shared a common set of ethical or religious beliefs since 1999 and share medical expenses consistent with those beliefs. These ministries typically provide limited coverage and exclude pre-existing medical conditions.
Alliance for Shared Health members in Washington state are eligible for a special enrollment through the Washington state Health Benefit Exchange.
People in Washington state who have trouble with their health insurance can file a complaint with Kreidler’s office.