AP, August 27, 2010

A Christians-only health care plan provides a "contract for insurance" and doesn't qualify for exemption from state regulations as a religious publication, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a decision that potentially opens the plan to stricter regulations by the state.

A split high court found that that the Medi-Share program "fits comfortably within the statutory definition of an insurance contract" because it shifts the risk of payments for medical expenses from the individual to a pool of people paying into the program.

"Thus, regardless of how Medi-Share defines itself or what disclaimers it includes in its literature, in the final analysis, there is a shifting of risk," Justice Daniel J. Venters wrote for the court.

The court also found that Medi-Share doesn't qualify for the Religious Publication Exemption to Kentucky's insurance code because the funds paid into the program go to a pool and not directly from one person to another, a requirement to be excluded from regulations.

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