STATEHOUSE — State Representative Eric Koch (R-Bedford) has received the Health Care Sharing Protection Award from the Alliance for Health Care Sharing Ministries, an organization that serves the common interests of faith-based ministries that facilitate the sharing of health care needs by individuals and families. Rep. Koch earned the award for his authorship of House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1050 in the 2012 legislative session, which increased Hoosiers’ health care options allowing them to be a part of health care sharing ministries.
The purpose of a health care sharing ministry is to provide a shared risk pool in paying for and taking care of their participants’ medical bills. HEA 1050 specified requirements for health care ministries, giving their members a higher degree of legal protection and certainty. Since a health care sharing ministry is not insurance, the bill exempts these organizations from requirements of the insurance law. Members of health care sharing ministries are also exempt from the Affordable Care Act.
“The intent of this legislation was to protect Hoosiers who are members of health care sharing ministries,” said Rep. Koch. “These ministries are faith-based alternatives to government-sponsored health care, and HEA 1050 protects religious liberties by ensuring that the regulators do not attempt to restrict something that may appear to be insurance but is not.”
The award was presented to Rep. Koch by Curt Smith, President of the Indiana Family Institute. The organization testified in support of the measure, which passed the legislature and was signed into law in 2012.
"We are so grateful to Rep. Koch for elevating this important First Amendment-protected right to such a high status,” Smith said. “Indiana enjoys strong protections for religious liberties, and this law certainly continues that fine tradition for the representative's constituents and for all Hoosiers.”
HEA 1050 was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) and went into effect on July 1, 2012.
“It was an honor to receive the Legislative Achievement Award,” said Rep. Koch. “When HEA 1050 was signed into law, 16 other states had already put similar protections in place for these ministries, and I was pleased to ensure that Indiana has extended the same protections.”