Opting-out of ObamaCare through medical-sharing ministries

It’s gotten little attention, but it’s true: The individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance or face penalties, but members of medical-sharing ministries are exempt from the individual mandate that will be enforced beginning in 2015.

It’s there because of the work of then-Congressmen Tom Perriello, a Virginia Democrat and Sens. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa, who fought to add the exemption to the law. It’s the same principle that allowed for the Amish to be exempted from the individual mandate—with the crucial difference that it’s a lot more practical to join Medi-Share than it is to become Amish.

Founded in 1993, Medi-Share historically grew at roughly 10 percent a year. Since the Obamacare passed in the 2010, growth has ticked up to 15 percent as some Americans look to end-run the mandate. About 150,000 people are members of medical-sharing ministries, and 60,000 of them belong to Medi-Share, according to Medi-Share President and CEO Tony Meggs…

When you have a medical bill, you submit it to the organization. If it meets the eligibility requirements and your annual medical expenses have exceeded the threshold in the plan you signed up for, the bill is “shared”—that is, covered.