When the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, it immediately prompted concerns about freedom of conscience.
From this seemingly adverse situation sprouted a new cost-sharing organization, Solidarity HealthShare, which aims to place Catholic values, the common good, and affordable healthcare at the center of its mission.
“The inspiration of it was when the Affordable Care Act was passed. Some
Catholic leaders in Phoenix realized that our religious liberty and our
consciences were going to be violated if Catholics had to follow these
mandates,” the company’s CEO Bradley Hahn told CNA.
“So that kind of led the journey to find an ethical and affordable way to pay for medical costs,” Hahn continued.
The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. It includes a mandate from
the Department of Health and Human Services requiring insurance plans to
fund contraception, sterilizations and early abortion pills. The
mandate has prompted lawsuits from more than 300 plaintiffs, including
companies, non-profits, U.S. states, and individuals who say that it
violates their religious beliefs. Many of these lawsuits are still in
the process of litigation.
In response to religious freedom concerns – as well as concerns about
rising insurance costs – some Americans began turning to health
care-share organizations, which have grown in popularity over the past
Solidarity HealthShare, based in Phoenix, Arizona, was founded in 2012
in conjunction with a pre-existing healthshare group called Melita
Christian Fellowship Hospital Aid Plan. Solidarity HealthShare
facilitates health-sharing among individuals and families across the
country, who are looking to opt out of traditional healthcare for a more
ethical and faith-centered option.
Solidarity HealthShare is not health insurance. Rather, it is a ministry
intended to share the financial burden of those who pay for their own
healthcare through voluntary, financial sharing of eligible medical
costs between its members.
Rather than paying premiums to an insurance company, every member pays a
monthly “share,” which is directly matched to another member’s medical
Solidarity HealthShare is a non-profit organization and exempt from
federal regulations, protecting it from the contraception mandate.
Its members are also exempt from a separate mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.
Since their official launch last week, Solidarity HealthShare has gained
about 50 members in total, but Hahn expressed that they are looking to
“add about a thousand members in the next couple of months.” Although
they began taking members in July, Solidarity HealthShare didn’t
formally launch until Oct. 4.
Within a week, there was an incredible outpouring of support for
Solidarity HealthShare. Hahn said “the response from Catholics across
the country has been very incredibly positive and grateful that
Catholics now have an option that's available to them.”
Solidarity HealthShare welcomes any members who agree with the “moral,
ethical teachings of the Catholic Church,” Hahn noted, saying that the
whole backbone of the organization is founded upon the Catholic Church’s
The namesake of the organization points to the Catholic Church’s
teachings on solidarity, Hahn explained, saying “we aren’t just
committed to ourselves, we are committed to the common good and to help
Hahn also said that the idea behind solidarity encompasses
problem-solving at the lowest level possible. In this case, Solidarity
HealthShare is aiming to “restore that relationship where the doctor and
the patient decide what is best for medical care.”
Following their launch, Solidarity HealthShare is looking forward to
gaining more members and spreading the word about alternative health
care sharing through evangelization.
“We want to use Solidarity as an evangelization tool. We want to reach
out to other groups and ministries to help basically catechize and
explain why certain medical procedures are objectionable morally,” Hahn
“We want to use Solidarity more as an outreach so we can educate everyone, because the healthcare system touches everybody.”