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Affordable Care Act

Loophole in Health Law: Ministries

Some people refuse to buy insurance that complies with the Affordable Care Act for political reasons. Others simply don't think it's really affordable.

The New York Times reports that a growing number of them have turned to the religious loophole in the health law. Two of those profiled are Florida women who are members of a faith-based nonprofit called Christian Healthcare Ministries.

Susan Tucker of Venice, 54, views the ACA as government intrusion in her personal life. She pays $150 a month for a plan with less-comprehensive coverage than required by the federal law.

Norma Beech of Port St. Lucie, who now qualifies for Medicare, used the ministry plan in past years when she underwent a bone marrow transplant for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She negotiated the bills from $1 million down to around $350,000, and then the Ministries plan sent her checks to pay the rest.

To be sure, the faith-based programs do not include the law's consumer protections; for example, they can still exclude coverage of preexisting conditions.