October 3, 2012
Court Rules Medi-Share Must End Cost-Sharing Ministry In Kentucky
Christian health organization avoids contempt of court, but ordered to stop advertising.
Ever since the Kentucky Supreme Court issued an injunction against Medi-Share in 2011, the Christians-only healthcare ministry has continued to operate in the Bluegrass State. State lawyers pressed for a contempt of court charge this summer. Now a judge has ordered Medi-Share's work in Kentucky to a halt.
The Associated Press reports that Franklin County Circuit judge Thomas Wingate ruled yesterday that the Florida-based organization run by Christian Care Ministry must acquire approval from the Kentucky Department of Insurance before it can continue operations in the state.
However, Wingate did not hold Medi-Share in contempt of court for continuing to operate in Kentucky despite the 2011 injunction against it doing so. The judge said he found no proof that Medi-Share acted in willful disobedience by continuing to operate after the state supreme court ruling in 2010, which found that the organization should be regulated just like other forms of insurance.
Medi-Share is a cost-sharing organization open only to Christians who agree to abstain from drug and alcohol use, among other restrictions. The ministry helps alleviate healthcare costs, but members do not purchase a plan; its website offers disclaimers to warn users that Medi-Share should not be substituted for an insurance policy.
Now, Wingate has ordered that, until it secures approval from the state insurance department, the organization must also post on its website that it is not authorized to operate in Kentucky.
CT has reported the rise of Christian cost-sharing ministries and their challenges, as well as noted concerns over how federal healthcare reform would affect them. In addition to Medi-Share's legal troubles, CT has also reported on how another cost-sharing ministry, the Christian Brotherhood Newsletter, worked to reclaim credibility following a messy financial scandal that threatened to end the ministry.