By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — A bill that would allow a Christian health ministry to resume operating in Kentucky won approval in the Senate Tuesday in a 35-0 vote. Senate Bill 3 now goes to the House. The measure would grant Medi-Share an exemption to the state’s insurance laws and require the health plan to tell subscribers that it is not an insurance company and does not guarantee the payment of medical bills.
Medi-Share, operated by Christian Care Ministries, was ordered by a judge to cease operations on Jan. 1 after a lengthy court battle with the Kentucky Department of Insurance over whether it should be regulated as an insurance company. Medi-Share’s members pay a monthly fee, which is sent to other members to cover medical costs. Members agree to live a Christian lifestyle, pledging not to smoke, drink alcohol or have sex outside of marriage. Medi-Share had more than 700 Kentucky members before Jan. 1.
Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, said he believes the House will add an emergency clause to the bill, allowing Medi-Share to resume coverage of members as soon as Gov. Steve Beshear signs the bill.