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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 Timesreports 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.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.