May 4—California Attorney General
The alert asks consumers to immediately file a complaint with the
The move follows a
Thousands of Californians who struggle to afford private health insurance have turned to faith-based, healthcare sharing ministries, but experts have warned that the product isn't a replacement for insurance. Members make monthly payments into a system for healthcare costs to be shared among all members.
But the types of services covered are limited, and generally do not include preventive and primary care and preexisting conditions.
"Our office has received multiple complaints from devastated Californians who have been left in financial jeopardy with mounting medical bills after their healthcare sharing ministry plan failed to provide the reliable coverage they expected," Bonta said in the alert issued Friday. "Before signing up for one of these plans, please do your research and consider applying instead for affordable, reliable coverage through Covered California."
A spokesperson for the
"To protect their integrity, our office is unable comment on potential or ongoing investigations, including the complaints that we receive," the spokesperson told The Bee in an email.
According to the alert, "many HSMs (healthcare sharing ministries) may be operating in
Class action suit against Aliera, Trinity
The suit accused Aliera of leaving one
Aliera previously also denied allegations outlined in government investigations in other states, and told The Bee it would "vigorously defend" its position.
Healthcare sharing ministries, the alert says, "use misinformation to mislead consumers into enrolling under the guise of offering an affordable alternative to health insurance from the Covered California marketplace."
"However, unlike Covered California plans, healthcare sharing ministries are not obligated to cover preexisting conditions or guarantee coverage for medical costs or services" the alert reads.
Primary care, long-term care, contraceptives and abortion are among a list of medical needs not covered by the cost-sharing ministries. Medical necessities must also not result from conduct that's not consistent with membership requirements for some sharing ministries.
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