Federal Legislation
September 13, 2013

H.R. 207—To Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to Make Members of Health Care Sharing Ministries Eligible to Establish Health Savings Accounts

Action Requested:
If you find this an issue of interest, we encourage you to contact your U.S. representative and ask him or her to support H.R. 207. You can use Samaritan Ministry’s web contact tool to put in your address and send a personalized letter to your own U.S. representative.

Summary:
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make members of health care sharing ministries (HCSMs) eligible to establish health savings accounts. HCSMs are the result of a cooperative effort of individuals and employers organized around the principle of “bearing one another’s burdens” in a time of need. While this is not a homeschooling issue, numerous homeschool families use or have considered using a health care sharing ministry.

Status:

9/13/2013 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means

Sponsor: Congressman Schock (IL-18)

Bill Summary and Status HR 207

HSLDA’s Position:
Support

Talking Points:

1. Mandatory insurance requirement for HSAs infringes upon and impairs religious liberty. HCSM members are presently in charge of the decisions regarding their own health care and able to refrain from supporting practices contrary to their moral convictions. Moreover, individuals participating in Health Care Sharing (HCS) do so according to their faith, seeking medical care, sharing and receiving financial assistance accordingly as a matter of faith and as dictated by their faith. Mandatory insurance, on the other hand, would legally require those participating in a HSA to purchase a high deductible insurance policy, policies that force citizens to give financial support to treatments that violate their convictions as well as interfere with their ability to live by faith.

2. Health care sharing deserves parity with health insurance in the internal revenue code. The federal tax code should be reformed so that HCS is given at least equal treatment with health insurance. This includes the availability of health savings accounts to individuals with high-deductible insurance plans or membership in a health care sharing ministry.

3. Health care sharing is consistent with the purposes of HSAs. While HDHPs are insurance, HSAs are not insurance. Instead HSAs are personal savings accounts and are also considered to be trusts. Likewise, HCSMs are not insurance. Both are designed to promote personal responsibility, price shopping, wise decision-making and personal savings. The ability of those utilizing HCSMs to establish HSA90s without purchasing HDHPs would further their ability to increase personal savings and more acutely price shop.

4. Allowing health care sharing members to establish a HSA will have a very minimal impact upon federal revenue—less than $22 million according to federal revenue estimates conducted by The Heritage Foundation.

 Other Resources

The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries