ALBANY, New York, September 29 — The New York State Department of Financial Services issued the following press release:
At July 8, 2021, Trinity Healthshare, Inc. (“Trinity”) abruptly filed for bankruptcy in an enforcement action brought by the Department of Financial Services alleging that Trinity and its affiliate, the Aliera Companies (“Aliera”), engaged in a fraudulent and illegal health insurance business in new York.
As part of its bankruptcy filing, Trinity, now called Sharity Ministries, dropped its current members and claimed it had no obligation to pay members’ medical claims, leaving millions of dollars in claims outstanding. Trinity’s actions underscore a fundamental principle underlying the Department’s enforcement action: insurance products should be subject to regulatory oversight to protect consumers. Insurance companies are regulated to ensure that they remain financially strong and keep the promises they make to their policyholders.
In October 2020, the Department brought an action against Trinity and Aliera for the illegal sale of unregulated insurance products. As DFS claims, Trinity and Aliera sold insurance products that were disguised as the Department of Health’s so-called “membership sharing” plans, claiming the products were not subject to regulatory oversight. Trinity claimed to be a shared health care ministry, but was completely dependent on Aliera, its for-profit subsidiary, for almost all of its operations.
DFS alleges that Aliara siphoned off most of the member payments from Trinity rather than leaving them for their intended use: paying for member claims. In short, through its coercive measures, the Ministry sought to protect new York consumers to be harmed by these illegal transactions. Now Aliera and Trinity are using Trinity’s bankruptcy filing as a shield against liability for breaking the law and paying medical reimbursements owed to consumers.
Consumers who had a plan with Trinity / Sharity or Aliera should immediately contact the DFS Consumer Support Unit on the Consumer Complaints Portal. A complete copy of the Statement of Charges and Notice of Hearing against Aliera and Trinity is available on the DFS website.