organization that offers a faith-based approach to health insurance has been
banned from operating in Washington because it does not meet the legal
definition of a “health share ministry.”
Mike Kreidler banned Trinity HealthShare Inc. from doing business in the state,
saying the organization improperly marketed itself as a health care sharing
Trinity describes itself
as a “nonprofit health care sharing ministry” on its website.
Kreidler’s office notes
federal and state law requires health care sharing ministries to have formed
before Dec. 31, 1999.
Trinity formed in June
2018 as the successor to a small ministry that met the definition.
can keep their coverage for up to a calendar year to give time to pursue other
ordered Trinity and its marketing partner, The Aliera Companies, to stop
operating in Washington after customers reported their claims were denied.
A class-action lawsuit
alleging Trinity and Aliera violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act is
pending in U.S. District Court for Western Washington.
Aliera maintains it
hasn’t broken state law and has requested a hearing.
As of June, Aliera and
Trinity had sold 3,058 policies to Washington consumers and collected $3.8
million in premiums. The insurance commissioner estimates Trinity owed nearly
$42,300 in premium taxes.
Policy holders Roslyn
Jackson, Gerald Jackson and Dean Mellom filed the class-action suit in August.
The suit alleges Aliera
and Trinity unfairly and deceptively marketed, sold and administered
unauthorized insurance plans to state residents without the required approval
from the insurance commissioner.
The amended complaint
calls Trinity a “profit-making enterprise” for Aliera’s owners under which
Aliera and its owners take nearly 84 percent of member contributions, leaving
16 percent to pay claims for health benefits.
The suit seeks to
recover all premiums paid by Washington customers along with expenses, triple
damages up to $25,000 for each violation of the Consumer Protection Act,
attorney fees and other damages.
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