By Consumers For Quality Care, on March 2, 2020
A recent report by KMOV in St. Louis tells the story of one family’s ordeal when what they thought was an insurance plan they signed up for turned out to be fake.
Ali and Elijah Middlesworth recently had a baby, and the delivery was very complicated. Their son, Declan, had to be induced five weeks early and cared for in the NICU for weeks before the couple was allowed to take him home.
The couple thought they were out of the woods after Declan was stabilized and healthy, then the bills started coming in.
The joys of having a healthy baby have been watered down by mounting medical bills
“My responsibility is $47,481.61,” Ali said. But that’s just from one medical statement. “It’s close to totaling $150,000.”
The Middlesworths thought these bills would be covered by the plan they signed up with a company called Aliera. What they didn’t know is that Aliera is not actually an insurance company, but a “health sharing ministry.”
As Ali explained, Aliera sold their product to the family as insurance.
“They even sold it to us as insurance on the phone. Then when labor and delivery hit, they covered nothing.”
But health sharing ministries are under no legal obligation to cover the expenses of their customers. CQC has previously written about health care sharing ministries impacting consumers in Connecticut and elsewhere.
The Middlesworths are still facing $150,000 in medical debt. According to the Better Business Bureau, Aliera is facing more than 100 complaints in several states.