Even those people who hate Obamacare come running to it when they need help. A person who contacted me to clarify that he could enroll in an Obamacare plan because his Christian health care sharing ministry wouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions shows how people use these sharing ministries to dodge Obamacare and reveal their hypocrisy when they do need real health insurance.
Christian health care doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions
I was contacted by a gentleman in early December wanting to confirm that the Covered California health plans covered pre-existing conditions. “Absolutely”, I told him, ridding health insurance of the pre-existing clause was one of the corner stones of the Affordable Care Act. He then asked if there was any penalty if he dropped the health insurance after a couple of months. “No”, I assured him, there would be no penalty from Covered California or the health insurance company but he would have to pay the Shared Responsibility Payment to the IRS for not having credible health insurance for more than three months of the year.
Cheap health care services subsidized by the evil government
The gentleman informed me that he wasn’t subject to the Shared Responsibility Payment (aka Individual Mandate) because he was a member of a Christian health care sharing ministry that exempted him and his wife from the penalty. The only problem was that the Christian health sharing ministry doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions like his wife’s carpel tunnel syndrome. He was hoping to enroll in a tax subsidized Covered California, get the surgery for his wife, and then drop the health insurance.
IRS Form i8965 Health Coverage Exemptions
Members of a health care sharing ministry (code “D”). You can claim a coverage exemption for yourself or another member of your tax household for any month in which the individual was a member of a health care sharing ministry for at least 1 day in the month. Enter code “D” in Part III, column c, and identify the months to which the coverage exemption applies as described under Column d – p—Calendar Months, later.
In general, a health care sharing ministry is a tax-exempt organization whose members share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs and share medical expenses in accordance with those beliefs, even after a member develops a medical condition. The health care sharing ministry (or a predecessor) must have been in existence and sharing medical expenses continuously and without interruption since December 31, 1999. An individual who is unsure whether a ministry meets the requirements should contact the ministry for further information.
It is not a Christian value to game the system
My calm professional exterior replied that the man could drop the health insurance after the surgery. My real self, inside my head, screamed he was a hypocrite and one of the reasons why credible health insurance is so expensive. I was surprised to learn by the man’s inquiry that it is a Christian value to rip off the government and private companies. Real Christians don’t try to game the system and that is exactly what he wanted to do.
Tax subsidy plus cost sharing reductions
The family income was low enough to qualify for the premium assistance through Covered California. He was going to get subsidize health insurance and probably qualify for the Enhanced Silver Plan with reduced cost sharing. This would have made the surgery for his wife’s hand very inexpensive, all at the tax payer’s expense. Instead of exploiting Covered California and the tax credits, he at least could have purchased a health plan directly from an insurance company without the premium assistance. But the dollars signs floating around in this man’s head were larger than any ethical questions of screwing fellow tax payers and health insurance members.
Christian health care sharing ministries discriminate
I’ve talked to numerous families that hate Obamacare and turned to the sharing ministries to lower their monthly health insurance premium. But if you make your bed, lie in it. If a sharing ministry doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, don’t come begging to Obamacare to fix your discriminatory little social group. Obamacare doesn’t discriminate, but these Christian sharing ministries do. If you are a Jew or a Muslim you can’t join a Christian health care sharing ministry. As soon as the Christian coven excludes a pre-existing condition, these hypocrites come running to Obamacare.
I hate the government but love the subsidies
The icing on the cake from this fellow who thought the government was pure evil and Obamacare was the devil incarnate was his glee at becoming Medicare eligible in 2016. He had no concept that Medicare is heavily subsidized by the federal government. Medicare is as socialist as his Christian health care sharing ministry in that both have a social contract to support and care for one another. But with Medicare, it doesn’t discriminate like the sharing ministries. The concept that these folks are supporting a form of socialism with these sharing ministries would explode their little minds.
Fortunately, the gentleman did not ask me to enroll him into a plan. These types of folks never do. They ask me a thousand questions about Covered California, health insurance, and how the premium tax credits work with taxes – for which I gladly and stupidly answer to the best of my ability – then they go and enroll themselves. I, as an agent, get cut out of the pittance called a commission that sustains my website and ability to answer questions free of charge. But this shows you how stupid I am, I’ve actually helped these people after they have screwed up their Covered California account putting the whole family into Med-Cal, and they still don’t delegate me as their agent. Seriously…I’m an idiot.
Please don’t call me if…
For God’s sake, and my mental health, if you hate Obamacare and you are looking for an angle to avoid it, don’t call me. If your Christian health care sharing ministry has tossed you under the Sunday School Bus because of your pre-existing condition and you only want coverage for a couple months for surgery, don’t call me. Because I won’t discriminate against you and I will answer your questions politely and professionally. I’ll even help you enroll. But I’d really rather not be an accessory to your hypocrisy and scam of Obamacare. Who knows, you may actually like having real health insurance that doesn’t discriminate against you because you were born that way.