House Could Vote To Allow Ministries To Pay Medical Bills

Sep 24, 2012

Members of faith-based groups in Michigan could soon be allowed to share the costs of their medical bills as an alternative to buying health insurance. The state House is expected to vote this week on the measure.

Several states already allow faith-based groups that share the costs of medical bills.

Republican state Representative Lisa Lyons sponsored the measure. She says some families and businesses have found it’s a way to manage their healthcare costs.

“For many people, it’s cheaper than a premium, but it’s not for everybody, either,” Lyons says.

And that’s because there’s no guarantee anyone’s medical bills will be covered. The commitment to share the costs of medical bills is a faith-based promise, but not a legal contract.

Members of health care ministries are exempt from the requirement in the new federal health care law that most people carry insurance starting in 2014. 

That’s led some critics to complain that faith-based medical bill-sharing could undermine the benefits of the federal health care law.