April 29, 2022
WASHINGTON D.C. — A hearing on a bill imposing burdensome regulation on Health Care Sharing Ministries in Colorado is scheduled for Monday, May 2 at 1:30 MT in the State Senate Committee on Business, Labor, and Technology. One commentator has labeled the bill “health coverage prison.”
HB 1269, which would require unworkable data collection of Health Care Sharing Ministries, along with a vast number of other types of arrangements, passed the Colorado House earlier in April.
The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries (The Alliance, ahcsm.org) continues to explain that the bill singles out all non-insurance arrangements that facilitate payment or arrangement for health care costs. This could include Health Savings Accounts, self-funded employer sponsored plans, hospital financial assistance programs and other charities such as GoFundMe, and particularly Health Care Sharing Ministries as subjected to expensive, intrusive, and confusing data submissions as a condition of operating in the state.
Katy Talento, executive director of The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, said, “The bill represents a massive power grab by the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), authorizing the state to impose unprecedented requirements on Health Care Sharing Ministries as a condition of operating in the state. If enacted, the bill would hurt the ability of more than 50,000 Colorado Christians to choose a health care option that matches their budget and their beliefs.”
However, the bill’s proponents claim the legislation is merely “a data bill.” Talento pointed out that description of the legislation is simply inaccurate.
A recent editorial explained that HB 1269 is “mean-spirited bill,” that actually provides weapons to the Division of Insurance to force ministry members into a state-controlled the “health coverage prison.” The legislation “requires that health sharing groups operating in other states report to the Colorado Commissioner of Insurance even if just one Colorado resident is a member,” according to the article.
By definition, Health Care Sharing Ministries are not insurance. Nevertheless, HB 1269 would compel these religious organizations to accept the regulatory authority of the DOI and would require ministries to submit to far-reaching reporting requirements under the DOI or else face massive fines or go out of business.
In more detail, the bill:
- Requires ministries to file detailed disclosures of everything from the ministry’s organizational chart to publicly naming every organization that is associated with the ministry’s administration and operations, such as accountants, IT vendors, churches, other ministries, janitorial services, and office suppliers — including how much such partners were paid by the ministry.
- Demands that ministries hand over to state regulators every private contract they have with health care providers.
- Requires the insurance bureaucracy to publish a “report” in their own words, describing the ministries for the public and advising the public how to file complaints about the ministries. This allows the regulators to go even further than their hostile, 2020 “consumer advisory” that openly discouraged the public from joining a ministry.
- Allows the Commissioner to publicly publish a list of all affiliated organizations with ministries, including vendors, partner ministries, contractors.
If approved, any ministries failing to meet these burdensome requirements to the letter could be fined up to $150,000. If the ministry continues to be deemed insufficiently compliant, it could even be shut down.
Colorado ministry members and supporters of Health Care Sharing Ministries should contact their Colorado State Senator and urge them to OPPOSE HB 22-1269 and its unfair treatment of the health care solution for thousands of religious Coloradans.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries is a 501(c)(6) trade organization representing the common interests of Health Care Sharing Ministry organizations which are facilitating the sharing of health care needs (financial, emotional, and spiritual) by individuals and families, and their participants. The Alliance engages with federal and state regulators, members of the media, and the Christian community to provide accurate and timely information on Health Care Sharing Ministries.