A health care sharing ministry that has brought 10,000 families to "share in one another's medical expense burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" has gone bankrupt with $50 million in unpaid bills.

CBN News said the Sharity Ministries have so many outstanding claims it would be unlikely for its thousands of members to receive the reimbursements owed them. Christianity Today, on the other hand, said Sharity Ministries was formerly known as Trinity HealthShare. The ministry started the liquidation process last year and had been facing a string of legal challenges, which included class-action lawsuits. The organization has also received cease and desist orders in various states where it operated as an unauthorized insurance provider.

One of the lawsuits came from the state of California this year. The lawsuit claims Sharity spent less than 16 cents per dollar on premiums and also denied the majority of claims. It turns out the organization was tagged by the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries for being a "sham front group" of Aliera Healthcare, which is a profit-based health care management company.

The NHPR explained that the Georgia-based Sharity and Aliera were complained by plan holders to state regulators for unpaid claims. The state regulators through the Insurance Department issued a cease and desist order against the two organizations in 2019. Sharity filed for bankruptcy protection through Chapter 11 in June while Aliera sued the state, which is still in process.

However, plan holders were told that though they were entitled to claims from the organizations, it would only be a fraction of the total money since the state's action against the companies could result in fines, among other expenses for court proceedings. Several other states including Colorado, Texas, and Washington have similarly investigated Aliera for their business practices.

Accordingly, Aliera acts as Sharity's vendor, which happened to act in bad faith against the ministry and its plan holders. Sharity's board voted in April 2021 to begin its bankruptcy proceedings upon discovering their unfulfilled member medical requests were more than their expected amount. They were starting their bankruptcy process in July when the board voted to liquidate the entire organization instead, which led to their dissolution last December.

The ministry's total unpaid member claims as of October 2021 were $300 million, which was six times higher than the $50 million the board originally knew of months earlier. Aliera was found guilty of fraud in November 2021 for the class action lawsuit against it.

Former Sharity President and Board Member Joe Guarino, who resigned in August 2021, revealed in an interview with Christianity Today that he was the only one who abstained to liquidate the entire organization. Guarino said he believed their original plan would work and that it was his duty as a Christian not to abandon their members.

"As a Christian, I felt it was not right to leave our members hanging out like that. I can't tell you how many times since then I have sobbed about all those tens of thousands of families who are without the means to pay their medical bills. For many of them, I'm sure it destroyed their lives," Guarino said.

Ironically, the ministry's website highlighted a vision of caring for others based on the Epistles of St. Paul in the Bible.

"Sharity Ministries is built on the centuries-old Christian tradition of caring for one another, including health care needs. Our members hold a common set of religious beliefs, such as 'bear one another's burdens' (Galatians 6:2) and 'share with the Lord's people who are in need' (Romans 12:13a)," the website said.