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Evangelical Christians Flocking to Healthcare Ministries

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By    |   Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 02:27 PM

Evangelical Christians are opting out of healthcare plans that cost thousands in deductibles every year and turning to health care sharing ministries that require members to help other members' major medical costs.

The groups have grown since Obamacare passed in 2010, reports The New York Times, and the law exempts such organizations' members from the mandate to have health insurance or pay a yearly penalty.

One of the groups, Samaritan Ministries International, matches up member families, who write checks to help pay fellow members' medical bills. and pay a flat rate monthly depending on the size of their families.

There are some worries from some insurance regulators over the religion-based exchanges.

"A premature baby could cost $1 million pretty easily, so it wouldn't take very many of those to put a significant strain on any group, let alone an unregulated group," said Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart.

Some members, though, say the ministries allow them to follow their religious beliefs rather than government mandates on buying insurance that covers benefits they do not agree with, such as abortion or birth control.

One couple, Lee and Amy Jebson of Virginia joined a ministry, Medi-Share and said they did not expect major medical costs, but then their son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and they incurred hundreds of thousands of bills in only a few months.

"One single fever is a $10,000-a-night hospital cost," said Amy Jebson.

She and her husband pay $500 a month to help cover others' medical costs, plus $2,500 a year toward their own expenses.

However, she said that most of their bills are being covered through the ministry.

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Evangelical Christians are opting out of healthcare plans that cost thousands in deductibles every year and turning to health care sharing ministries that require members to help other members' major medical costs.
evangelical, christians, flock, healthcare, ministries
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2016-27-10
Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 02:27 PM
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