Health Care Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share Act: A Step Toward Religious and Ethical Health Care Choices in West Virginia

Health Care Sharing Ministries Bills Approved by Senate and House Committees

The Health Care Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share Act was approved by Senate and House committees on Monday. The bill, which was handled by Banking and Insurance in the Senate and HB 4809 in the House, aims to create a Health Care Sharing Ministry that is exempt from state insurance laws.

A Health Care Sharing Ministry is not health insurance and serves as a facilitator among members who have a common set of ethical or religious beliefs. These ministries are not insurance companies, and the members are responsible for paying their own bills.

The Senate approved the bill in a voice vote, with Senators also hearing that more than 3,000 West Virginians participated in sharing ministries last year. The committee chair, Mike Azinger, is pushing for the bill to bypass Finance and go directly to the floor.

Meanwhile, the House approved the House version of the bill in a unanimous voice vote after just a brief discussion. This action sends the bill to the full House after it received approval from the House Banking and Insurance committee.

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