Tag: California

CHURCHES AND THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY

While for property and casualty (think auto, personal injury, etc.) insurance coverage specialty companies have arisen that sell coverage to churches, in the health insurance arena there has not yet arisen a company willing to tailor coverage to a church, at least not in all states.  Believing that the reluctance of companies to offer tailored coverage (excluding abortion or other procedures) came solely from regulatory pressure, in Skyline Wesleyan Church v California Department of Managed Health Care, Order on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment, (SD Ca., 2018), the church sued the regulatory agency to force a change in policy.  Unfortunately, the regulator had never refused to approve a tailored insurance policy and none were ever offered to it to consider.  The church was unable to prove that there was behind the scenes a conspiracy or unwritten regulatory pronouncement in place.  Because the church could not obtain an injunction against a regulation that did not appear to exist, the case was dismissed.

Denominations and church associations can only address this by becoming self-insured, or establishing stop loss programs, or buying or forming their own insurance company.  In the health insurance area these are extremely difficult plans to manage.  In stop loss plans operated by the author, two or three years of below market costs would be followed by an adjustment year where the plan costs exceeded the market.  This was caused by the roll over of the excess coverage policies the plans purchased adjusting to the incredible rate of price increase in medical services prevalent for decades in western civilization.

The lesson from the Skyline case may also be that political or economic solutions are not always found in litigation.  While there are areas in which a failure to engage in legal process could cost churches their freedoms, some areas require political or economic action.  A person with one vote is not as powerful as one person with a check in moving political walls.  While the church corporation may not be able to do much politically, there is no stopping the membership.