As we’ve noted so many times on this site before, there are Christian “health insurance” companies that only the most devout believers can buy into. And just like Christian films and theme parks, they’re so much worse than the original.
Groups like Samaritan Ministries and Liberty HealthShare ask everyone in the system to pay a specific amount into the insurance pool every month… but the companies don’t collect all the cash or send it to health care providers. For a fee, the company simply tells individuals where to send their money (e.g. Bob from Nebraska) and how much to send. If you need something covered yourself, you make a request and the company will send your name to others in the pool.
That’s not really different from regular insurance, but it’s not regulated, not all services are covered, and the providers can cut you off at anytime if you become too expensive to insure. Even worse: If you do something they deem “immoral,” you won’t get any money at all. (Good luck getting that contraception. And be sure to tell your same-sex partner they’re not covered on your insurance.)
So everything is great… until the moment you need them the most.
There have been numerous articles written about customers who were denied help precisely when they expected to receive it.
But a story like this doesn’t really hit home for some people until it’s covered on a late night comedy show.
Thankfully, John Oliver discussed these “health care sharing ministries” on Last Week Tonight:
(It’s so good to see Oliver’s church return to expose religious hypocrisy again.)
As the segment makes clear, these plans aren’t insurance. They’re gambling. Christians put money into the system with no guarantee that anything will come out on the other side. As I’ve said before, there are plenty of problems with the insurance industry, in large part due to sabotage by Republicans who have undermined the protections that were written into the Affordable Care Act. But Christian insurance companies manage to magnify those problems with a religious twist.
(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier)