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Facing Cease And Desist Order, Health Care Ministry Pushes Back Against N.H. Regulators

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A health care entity ordered by regulators to stop selling products is asking the state to let it keep its current members enrolled through the end of 2020.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department issued a cease and desist order in late October requiring Trinity HealthShare and a partner company, Aliera, to immediately stop selling or renewing “illegal health insurance” in New Hampshire.

[Read NHPR's previous coverage of this story here.]

Trinity offers an alternative to insurance known as a health care sharing ministry. Members of the sharing ministry pledge to uphold certain religious values, and then pay monthly premiums with the expectation that the money will be shared when medical bills arise.

The Insurance Department contends Aliera and Trinity fail to meet certain state and federal requirements, including that any health care sharing ministry be established before December 31, 1999. 

Aliera, which markets and provides administrative services for Trinity, has said it will appeal the order, and that it will “vigorously defend against false claims.”

In a letter to the Insurance Department dated November 8, Trinity says it “disputes many of the allegations,” but says it will fully comply with the directive not to enroll any new members.

However, the Georgia-based entity is requesting that its 1,400 or so current New Hampshire members be allowed to remain enrolled through December 2020. 

“Trinity believes this proposal will ensure that New Hampshire consumers are protected and afforded sufficient time and information to find suitable alternatives,” writes the firm’s attorney.

The Insurance Department says it is still reviewing the letter. It previously stated that all New Hampshire consumers enrolled in Trinity’s ministry will need to find new coverage during the government's open enrollment window, which ends on December 15.

New Hampshire is the latest state to take regulatory action against Aliera and Trinity. Earlier this year, Texas, Colorado and Washington all issued public statements concerning the entities. 

There is at least one class action lawsuit pending against the companies for marketing and selling unauthorized products. 

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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