On March 19, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee voted to approve a misguided piece of legislation, Connecticut Senate Bill 1041. This legislation would impose illogical and ultimately, lethal regulations on Health Care Sharing Ministries. In the coming weeks it will go to a full floor vote.
Connecticut Senate Bill S.B. 1041 is a misguided bill that would hurt the ability of Connecticut residents to choose a health care option that matches their budget and their beliefs. More than 5,000 Connecticut residents have chosen a faith-based alternative to health insurance. They shouldn’t be regulated like insurance with all its costly mandates and restrictions.
These communities are led by faith and stay true to their biblical beliefs in their health care choices. Health Care Sharing Ministries have been dependably serving the residents of Connecticut for over 30 years.
Some of the most pernicious provisions in the bill are restrictions on communicating with potential new members. The bill prohibits any Health Care Sharing Ministry that uses paid staff or third party vendors to recruit and enroll members, indeed, to administer any part of their program at all.
The legislation would also bar Health Care Sharing Ministries from collaborating with groups like the Knights of Columbus or Promise Keepers to educate their members about Health Care Sharing Ministries. Additionally, offering access to programs that are negotiated by the ministry for their members such as prescription discounts, telehealth, dental discounts would not be allowed under this legislation. Rules like this that prevent growth and enhanced member services are a death sentence for any nonprofit Health Care Sharing Ministry.
S.B. 1041 is also damaging because it includes regulations that prevent Health Care Sharing Ministries from conducting necessary and standard operating practices. It would place restrictions on paid staff or third party vendors who negotiate bills with providers or assist members in negotiating bills with providers, including identifying fraudulent or erroneous medical bills — a critically important service that many members most value from their Health Care Sharing Ministries.
All Senators and Representatives should vote “NO” on S.B. 1041 and protect the ability of Connecticut residents to choose Health Care Sharing Ministries.