$7.5M collected, $246K spent: Feds shutter healthcare-sharing ministry

Federal authorities have shut down a Missouri-based healthcare-sharing ministry that allegedly only spent 3.5 percent of the money it collected toward paying medical bills, the Kansas City Star reported Feb. 20. 

The ministry — Medical Cost Sharing — allegedly engaged in a pattern of denying legitimate medical claims "based on a variety of specious reasons," according to the report.

The founders, James McGinnis and Craig Reynolds, allegedly spent a majority of the charity's money on things not related to healthcare, including putting $4 million into their own bank accounts, according to the report.  

The group collected about $7.5 million in membership fees since it was formed in 2013, but spent only $246,000 on healthcare costs, according to the report. Healthcare-sharing ministries are a form of health coverage where its members, who usually share a religious belief, make monthly payments to cover the expenses of other members. They are not health insurance plans. 

During an investigation, the FBI spoke with at least seven people who said they were misled by the ministry and left on the hook for significant medical bills, according to the report. Those who spoke with the FBI said the group promised to cover all preexisting conditions in exchange for monthly membership fees. But when they complained about high charges from hospitals, Medical Cost Sharing told them members were responsible for negotiating with hospitals and accused them of lying about their health history.  

The FBI raided the homes and office space of the founders in December, according to the report. Neither has been criminally charged. The men and Medical Cost Sharing denied they were committing fraud in a Feb. 3 court filing. 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars