Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais has issued a cease-and-desist order against Aliera Cos. Inc. and its subsidiary Trinity HealthShare Inc., on the grounds that they are not selling health insurance, but a health care sharing ministry.
“We are seeing entities in the marketplace misleading consumers and trying to avoid insurance regulation,” Mais said. “Consumers need protections from these practices which is what the CID is empowered to do. State regulation effectively protects consumers and ensures that promises made by insurers are kept.”
Aliera, which CID described as “an unlicensed insurance company in Connecticut,” has been administering and marketing health coverage on behalf of Trinity HealthShare; the latter represents itself as a health care sharing ministry whose members share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs.
“Trinity HealthShare programs are not insurance,” the company’s website states. Instead, the 501(c)(3) non-profit’s “members hold a common set of ethical and religious beliefs, and voluntarily agree to share their medical expenses in accordance with those beliefs. In other words, we guide the cost sharing of member contributions for certain eligible health care needs, such as hospitalization, surgery and emergency room visits.”
Nevertheless, Ted Doolittle, the State’s Healthcare Advocate, accused Aliera of engaging in “deceptive marketing and unfair claims adjudication practices that include preexisting condition exclusions, lifestyle choices and other reasons that ordinarily would be prohibited” under the Affordable Care Act.
While Aliera and Trinity will continue to process and pay health care claims for existing policies, they are prohibited from soliciting and selling any new business in Connecticut.
Connecticut residents with those plans will need to find new health insurance options during the open enrollment period for the 2020 plan year, CID added.
Over the past several months, cease-and-desist orders against the two firms have also been issued by Washington, Colorado, Texas and New Hampshire.