Mike Conway Mike Conway (Credit: Colorado Division of Insurance)

Colorado has joined the list of states that are objecting to Aliera Healthcare Inc.’s approach to the health care sharing ministry market.

Michael Conway, Colorado’s insurance commissioner, has filed a cease-and-desist order against Aliera and an Aliera partner company, Trinity Healthshare Inc.

(Related: State Squares Off Against Health Care Sharing Ministry Program)

Trinity runs a health care sharing ministry program.

Aliera has been marketing health care sharing plans from Trinity throughout the country.

Conway contends that the Trinity program looks like health insurance, is health insurance under Colorado law, and is being sold without Aliera or Trinity meeting Colorado’s requirements for health insurance issuers or distributors.

The Colorado Division of Insurance has received consumer complaints against Aliera and Trinity’s business transactions and products, according to the cease-and-desist order.

Washington state regulators issued a similar order earlier this month.

The Texas Department of Insurance announced in July that it had filed a lawsuit against Aliera in June, and that Aliera had agreed not to write new business in Texas until the case was resolved.

Insurance regulators in another state, New Hampshire, issued an alert in May advising consumers that Aliera might be operating illegally in New Hampshire.

Aliera said in response to Washington state’s action that Aliera has been offering consumers a way to get high-quality health coverage at an affordable price.

The company said that regulators have been making hyperbolic claims against it, and that it remains committed to working with regulators to provide health care sharing solutions for ministry members.

“We will vigorously defend the right of these members to exercise their religious convictions in making their health care choices,” Aliera said.

Health Care Sharing Ministry Background

A provision in the Affordable Care Act lets health care cost sharing ministries provide health coverage for members that can keep members from having to pay the penalty imposed on many people without what the government classifies as adequate health coverage, or minimum essential coverage.

Members of the ministries agree to help all members pay health care costs by paying regular dues and, in some cases, making extra contributions.

The ministries have about 969,000 members in 29 states, according to the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries.

Many ACA supporters object to the idea of the ministries encouraging people to buy coverage that fails to meet ACA major medical underwriting and benefits requirements.

Some regulators in states that have been hostile toward the ACA have supported the ministry concept but expressed concerns about the idea of the ministries offering something that looks like health coverage outside the jurisdiction of state insurance, health care or managed care regulators.

Resources

A copy of the Colorado announcement is available here.

A copy of the Texas announcement is available here.

— Read NAHU Members Head to Albuquerqueon ThinkAdvisor.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.