Judge issues permanent injunction barring Medi-Share, a Christian health-coverage plan, from operating in Kentucky

After a legal battle that lasted almost nine years, the Christian health-coverage plan Medi-Share will be prohibited from operating in Kentucky, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate decided today.

The state Department of Insurance and the Office of the Attorney General first sued Medi-Share in June 2002, saying the group was an unauthorized insurer. The Florida-based group claimed it was a “sharing program,” and so exempt from state regulation. In August 2010, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Medi-Share was insurance and “was not exempt from state regulation under the religious publication statute,” says a press release from the Public Protection Cabinet.

“Medi-Share members affirm a statement of Christian beliefs and pledge to follow a code that includes no tobacco or illegal drugs, no sex outside of marriage, and no abuse of alcohol or legal medications. Every month, they pay a fixed ‘share’ to cover the medical expenses of members in need. The cost usually is less than private insurance, but it’s not tax deductible. Members use a network of medical providers,” Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of The Associated Press reports.

Wingate signed a permanent injunction against Medi-Share, prohibiting the group and any successor program from operating in the state unless it obtains appropriate documentation or actually qualifies as a “sharing program.” Medi-Share members in Kentucky should immediately try to find health insurance elsewhere.

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