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Idaho Religous Groups Could get Exempions from Insurance Laws

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Nonprofit religious organizations that help members share medical costs are closer to being exempted from Idaho insurance laws. The Senate voted Tuesday 34-1 to back removing Health Care Sharing Ministries from the state’s definition of an insurance company.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll of Grangeville, fears what she calls overzealous insurance regulators who try to subject these ministries to the same requirements as insurers, essentially putting them out of business. About 20 other states have already taken similar steps to remove such ministries from regulatory oversight.

These groups amount to cost-sharing agreements between members, to care for each other according to principles found in the Bible. GOP Sen. Patti Anne Lodge compared the spirit fostered by these groups to old-time barnraisings. The bill now heads to the House.

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