We have received a few inquiries about the recent court decision in Kentucky regarding Medi-Share, another health care sharing ministry, and we wanted to give everybody an update regarding how that decision relates to Samaritan Ministries.
On Tuesday, October 2, 2012, Kentucky’s Franklin County Circuit Court issued an opinion enjoining Medi-Share from operating in Kentucky. The action followed a 2010 Kentucky Supreme Court decision that Medi-Share was “insurance” under Kentucky law and did not come within an exemption due to its procedures. After reviewing some of Medi-Share’s new program changes, Franklin County Circuit Court stated that “the modified Medi-Share program still does not fit within the exemption” because its members do not share “directly.” The “exemption” the court was speaking of is an exemption from the requirement to seek licensing as an insurance company and it requires that a nonprofit organization “pays for subscribers’ financial or medical needs by payments directly from one (1) subscriber to another.”
Samaritan’s members are believers who voluntarily and directly share one another’s burdens by members sending personalized notes of encouragement and financial needs through the mail from one member directly to another. Members voluntarily bear one another’s financial burdens with no assumption of risk or contractual obligation other than a mutual respect and adherence to sincerely held religious beliefs founded in Scripture. That takes Samaritan out of the realm of insurance.
We do remain concerned, however, about the Kentucky Department of Insurance’s perceived hostility towards health care sharing in general and we will work to address this matter going forward, continuing to confirm that SMI is most certainly not insurance. In fact, SMI has received affirmation from one state official who applauded SMI’s “proven, faith-based, free-market solution to financing health care.”
SMI praises God that no state has ever concluded that Samaritan’s sharing is “insurance,” including Kentucky.