Connecticut Senate Bill 1041 Puts the Health Care Security of 5,000 Residents at Risk
May 10, 2021
LEBANON, Conn. — For the past 10 years, Art and Cristina Calef have belonged to a unique health care sharing community — Samaritan Ministries International (www.samaritanministries.org). In that time, the Connecticut-based couple has welcomed seven children into their lives, incurring the tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that often come with raising a large family. The Samaritan Ministries community has shared their health care costs and encouraged their faith through prayer, fellowship and friendship along the way. That has meant everything to them.
The couple’s personal choice of Samaritan Ministries for their health care sharing needs and their many positive experiences within this community are especially important right now because the freedom of Connecticut citizens who have chosen health care sharing is at risk of being eliminated. Connecticut lawmakers will soon vote on a proposed bill that would effectively strip the Calef family and other state residents of the freedom to belong to any faith-based health care sharing community, including Samaritan Ministries.
“The Samaritan Ministries community has not only shared all of our bills, it has also supported us with heartfelt prayer and hundreds of personal notes of encouragement from fellow members,” the Calefs wrote in an op-ed for The Connecticut Mirror on April 7, 2021.
As the couple explained in their op-ed, “Faith-centered communities have been providing members in the state with a satisfactory and affordable non-insurance approach for decades, so it’s concerning that lawmakers in Hartford are taking steps to effectively ban this health care option.”
Connecticut’s Senate Bill 1041 as written is a misguided bill that would restrict the ability of Connecticut residents to choose a health care option that matches their beliefs. It would impose “illogical and ultimately, lethal regulations” on health care sharing ministries, the Calefs noted. “At a time of tremendous economic and health uncertainty, it is alarming to see elected leaders add to human suffering by taking steps to deprive thousands of people like me of our preferred health care solution,” they added.
The couple is encouraging Sen. Matthew Lesser, who has endorsed the bill, to work with Samaritan Ministries and other health care sharing ministries to adapt the bill in a way that would protect Connecticut residents’ option to choose health care sharing. “A non-insurance charitable ministry should not be under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut department of insurance,” they wrote.
The Calefs have found more than financial value and support at Samaritan—they have found comfort in being part of a health care sharing ministry that aligns with their faith. Members share medical expenses that are approved by the members themselves. It is not an insurance plan.
In their piece, the Calefs agree with legislators that any bad actors who are “posing” as health care sharing ministries should be investigated, but this is something the state of Connecticut allows for in existing law. Senate Bill 1041 “would instead shut down every nonprofit sharing ministry that is faithfully serving the citizens of Connecticut,” the couple said.This is why the new legislation is so concerning—and why all those who value freedom of choice in health care in America must know what’s going on in Connecticut.
As this couple pointed out, “All senators and representatives should vote ‘no’ on S.B. 1041 and protect the ability of Connecticut residents to choose health care sharing ministries. These ministries should continue to be an option for those that want to be a part of one of these faith-based communities.
“Health care is personal and a health care sharing ministry is the right fit for our family,” they added.
Samaritan Ministries provides people of faith with an effective, Bible-driven health care community in which approximately $30 million in medical needs is shared person-to-person every month. During the past 26 years, Samaritan Ministries members have shared more than $3 billion in needs while praying for and encouraging other fellow members through personal notes, cards, and letters.
To interview a representative from Samaritan Ministries International, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Marjorie Pratt, 610.584.1096, ext. 107, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.