Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Associated Press
FRANKFORT, Ky. - A Christian health program is back in operation in Kentucky, paying medical bills for churchgoers who pledge not to smoke, drink or engage in sex outside of marriage.
Christian Care Ministry President Tony Meggs said Friday that Kentucky residents have already begun rejoining Medi-Share, a less expensive alternative to traditional insurance plans because participants tend to be healthier.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate lifted an order Tuesday that had barred Florida-based Medi-Share from operating in Kentucky. Wingate took the action after state lawmakers intervened, changing the state's insurance code to specifically allow Medi-Share and similar programs to do business here.
Wingate's order concludes a decade-long legal battle between the Kentucky Department of Insurance and Medi-Share.
"We appreciate that Kentucky Christians once again have the freedom to manage their medical bills by sharing them with other Christians through Medi-Share," Meggs said in a statement. "We've already heard from a number of Kentucky families who are grateful and excited to rejoin Medi-Share."
The case put the Department of Insurance in the unenviable position of fighting against a Christian cost-sharing ministry in a Bible-belt state. The agency took the case to court because of concerns that some Christians might mistakenly believe they're paying into an insurance plan that guarantees coverage if they're hospitalized.
Medi-Share has more than 58,000 members in 48 states. It has paid some $25 million in medical bills for Kentucky participants over the past 10 years.