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‘Sharing Ministries’ For Medical Costs Gain Popularity

nurse checking patient's pulse.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Health care sharing ministries, an alternative to health insurance allowed under the Affordable Care Act, have grown in popularity since 2010 with about 450,000 Americans now participating, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

There are four major health care sharing ministries in the United States, including the Medi-Share program, which has 160,000 members, 8,000 of whom live in Florida, according to the Times. The general concept is that members pay a monthly fee, and when significant medical expenses arise, other members help cover those costs.

Most states, including Florida, exclude these ministries from the state insurance code. That means there’s no state oversight of the sharing ministries, experts told the Times

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.