Christian Care Medishare

A bill that would allow exemptions for Christian health sharing organizations to operate in Kentucky sailed over it first hurdle in a Senate committee.

Senate Bill 3 is known as the Medishare bill, named for the health sharing organization Christian Care Medishare, which was recently kicked out of Kentucky by the Department of Insurance. Medishare operates by pooling money to help pay for members medical bills.

The bill would allow Medishare to re-start operations in Kentucky by giving it an exemption under current state insurance law.

DeWayne Walker was a member of Medishare and said the group helped pay a large amount of the medical bills when his wife got cancer.

Kentucky Senate Republicans are rallying around a bill to allow a Christian health-sharing organization to continue operating in Kentucky. 

Christian Care Medi-share collects dues from members, then uses those funds to pay other members' health bills. Last year, the Department of Insurance successfully argued in court that Medi-share should be regulated like other insurance companies. 

The decision effectively ended the program in Kentucky. Since then, many GOP lawmakers have signed on to c-osponsor a bill that would grant religious exemptions and allow Medi-share back in Kentucky.

DeWayne Walker is pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Lexington and a former Medi-Share member. He says Medi-share's demise in Kentucky has been difficult for him.

Members of a Christians-only health insurance plan will lose their coverage on Thursday under a judge's order to cease operations. Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate found that Medi-Share doesn't comply with Department of Insurance regulations and won't be allowed to operate in Kentucky.

A judge’s order blocking a Christian health sharing group from doing business in Kentucky has rallied supporters. This week, Judge Thomas Wingate ordered Christian Care Medishare to stop operating in the commonwealth immediately as part of an on-going legal battle between Medishare and the state. Christian members of Medishare pay into an account that can be used to pay other members' medical bills. And the state says the organization must follow the same rules as insurance companies.

Kentucky Tea Party activist David Adams has stepped up his battle with the state Department of Insurance by filing a federal civil rights complaint. Adams has spent the last three months fighting with the department over the rights of Christian Care Medishare and other Christians-only health sharing organizations, Christian HealthCare and Samaritan Ministries.