Health Care Sharing Ministries Bills Approved by Senate and House Committees

Health Care Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share Act: Senate and House Committees Approve Bills

The Health Care Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share Act was recently approved by both the Senate and House committees. The Senate version of the bill, SB 375, was handled by the Banking and Insurance committee, while the House version was HB 4809. These bills were designed to create a Health Care Sharing Ministry that is exempt from state insurance laws.

A Health Care Sharing Ministry is not health insurance and serves as a facilitator among members who have a common set of ethical or religious beliefs. These ministries are not insurance companies and the members are responsible for paying their own bills.

In the Senate, the bill received approval in a voice vote and was next to go to the Finance committee. Senators also heard that more than 3,000 West Virginians participated in sharing ministries last year. The committee chair, Mike Azinger, is pushing for the bill to bypass Finance and go directly to the floor.

On the other hand, in the House, the bill received approval in a unanimous voice vote after just a brief discussion. This action sends it to full House after receiving approval from Banking and Insurance committee of house.

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