August 10, 2007 | 6:23 am
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
Marshall Allen is an old journalism friend of mine (by that I mean I’ve known him a little more than two years). He used to write about religion and crime—saints and sinners—for the Pasadena Star-News but moved last year to Sin City.
He has a story in the Las Vegas Sun that says the state insurance commissioner is shutting down Nevada operations a national Christian health care provider but they don’t have an insurance license. The company, Christian Care Medi-Share, argues that it doesn’t need a license because it’s not an insurance company; it’s a collective.
Medi-Share is a “mutually sharing ministry” among Christians who agree to help pay one another’s health costs, Sullivan said. Medi-Share members pay monthly “shares,” not premiums, ranging from $223 for singles younger than 40 to $459 for families. Members must profess to be Christians and adhere to a morally conservative lifestyle, including no tobacco and no abuse of drugs or alcohol. They risk having requests for money denied if their medical condition is the result of what is deemed a nonbiblical lifestyle.
Such conditions raise a red flag for the Nevada insurance commissioner’s office. For example, Medi-Share - whose guidelines are created by its members - provides coverage for pregnant married women but not for single mothers unless there’s evidence of a rape that has been reported to police.
Medi-Share membership is not open to non-Christians or to Christians with preexisting medical conditions.
Church leaders may be called to verify the testimony of applicants, the guidelines say.
Here’s my question: So say someone has a crisis of faith that becomes known to Medi-Share—could they be barred from medical coverage?
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