Freedom To Share At College Act


Participants of health care sharing ministries financially assist fellow participants with large medical expenses with a result usually provided by health insurance. Colleges should accept the ministry of Health Care Sharing in lieu of requiring health insurance from students. A health care sharing ministry (HCSM) is a health care cost sharing arrangement among persons of similar and sincerely held beliefs, administered by a not-for-profit religious organization. Those sharing through HCSMs are called participants, and the money sent by participants to other participants to help pay for their medical expenses is called a share. The sharing is accomplished through participants’ monthly gifts directed to families in financial distress and not to an insurance reserve fund.  In addition to addressing the financial needs of those facing health challenges, HCSMs also seek to help meet spiritual and emotional needs as of part the sense of community which exists among participants. This model policy is designed so that an institution of higher education explicitly recognizes HCSM as a viable non-insurance means for their students to meet the mandatory insurance requirement of the institution.

Freedom To Share At College Act

Section 1. Short Title.  This Act shall be known as the “Health Care Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share at College Act.”

Section 2. Definitions.  For the purposes of this section, “health care sharing ministry” means a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income tax under section 501 of the internal revenue code and that:

  • Limits its participants to those who share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs;

(B) Acts as a facilitator among participants who have financial or medical needs and matches those participants with other participants with the present ability to assist those with financial or medical needs in accordance with criteria established by the health care sharing ministry; Provides amounts that participants may contribute with no assumption of risk or promise to pay among the participants and no assumption of risk or promise to pay by the health care sharing ministry to the participants;

(C) Provides a written monthly statement to all participants that lists the total dollar amount of qualified needs submitted to the health care sharing ministry as well as the amount actually published or assigned to participants for their contribution; and

(D) Provides a written disclaimer on or accompanying all applications and guideline materials distributed by or on behalf of the organization that reads, in substance:

(E) “Notice: The organization facilitating the sharing of medical expenses is not an insurance company, and neither its guidelines nor plan of operation is an insurance policy.  Whether anyone chooses to assist you with your medical bills will be totally voluntary because no other participant will be compelled by law to contribute toward your medical bills.  As such, participation in the organization or a subscription to any of its documents should never be considered to be insurance.  Regardless of whether you receive any payments for medical expenses or whether this organization continues to operate, you are always personally responsible for the payment of your own medical bills.”

[Note:  If the state has already passed a law protecting HCSM from the Insurance Code, like the ALEC Model Freedom to Share Act, it could cross reference the definition found in the Act.]

Section 3.  Exemption of Health Care Sharing Ministries Members from College Health Insurance Requirements.

[Language for states not imposing a legislative requirement, via their college, for college students to have health insurance.]

If a governing board of an institution of higher education requires a student to purchase health care insurance, the board must allow an exemption for those participating in a health care sharing ministry.  An institution must notify students of the right to request the exemption.

[Language for states where the state imposes a health insurance requirement on college students via their college]

{Insert State name} public institutions of higher education must grant an exemption from its required student health insurance plan coverage if the student requests the waiver and the student is a member of health care sharing ministry.  An institution must notify students of the right to request the exemption.

Section 4. {Severability Clause}

Section 5. {Repealer Clause}

Section 6. {Effective Date}