20 Mar WRIGLEY SETTLES WITH HEALTHCARE MINISTRY JERICHO SHARE
March 14, 2023
CONTACT: Attorney General, Drew H. Wrigley 701.328.2210
Attorney General Drew Wrigley today announced a settlement with House of Prayer and Life, Incorporated dba Jericho Share, Jericho Health Share, and JHS Community (“Jericho Share”) a Healthcare Sharing Ministry based in Houston, Texas. The settlement resolved concerns that Jericho Share made misrepresentations and violated North Dakota law while advertising and offering its memberships to North Dakota residents.
The settlement requires Jericho Share to provide a verbal and written disclosure to consumers and establish a mechanism that ensures accountability and oversight over the marketing and sale of its health share membership programs to North Dakota residents. The settlement also requires payment of consumer restitution to 75 impacted consumers, and $15,000 in lieu of civil penalties, investigation costs, and attorney fees. “Jericho Share fully cooperated with the Attorney General’s investigation and provided its assurances through the settlement that it will change its business practices to comply with North Dakota law going forward,” said Wrigley.
Healthcare Sharing Ministries offer memberships under which groups of people who share a common faith make monthly payments that are used to cover the cost of members’ medical care. Healthcare Sharing Ministries are not health insurance, and their plans don’t come with the same guarantees, mandates, and protections as traditional health insurance plans.
The Attorney General opened an investigation into Jericho Share in August, 2022 after receiving consumer complaints alleging that Jericho Share was mispresenting its products. The Attorney General was concerned that Jericho Share was falsely representing its membership plans as health insurance and deceiving consumers into believing they were purchasing health insurance. Consumers reported they did not know the product they purchased was not health insurance until they received the membership card in the mail or attempted to use the membership at a medical clinic. Jericho Share advertised its products as health plans and dental plans in places where they know consumers go to find health insurance coverage or to consumers who have indicated they are seeking health insurance coverage. “Through its methods and means of marketing, Jericho Share created a false impression that its products are health insurance and took advantage of this false impression to make sales, and this is unacceptable,” Wrigley said.
Consumers also allege that Jericho Share made false promises regarding the coverage of its membership plans, including false representations regarding coverage for preexisting conditions and false promises that all medical expenses and prescriptions are covered.
Wrigley noted that some Healthcare Sharing Ministries take advantage of consumers who are desperately searching for affordable health care coverage and that they can mislead consumers by using marketing materials that look and sound like health insurance to trick consumers into purchasing their product.
“Healthcare Sharing Ministries, like Jericho Share, are not subject to the same laws and regulations as insurance companies. However, they are subject to North Dakota’s consumer protection laws, and this office will hold Healthcare Sharing Ministries responsible when their business practices mislead or deceive North Dakota consumers,” said Wrigley.