Saying goodbye to a six-figure medical bill

Carol Handy has never been happier saying goodbye: “So — this is just going to be history.”

Handy’s year-long battle with her so-called “health care sharing ministry” is over. Because her six-figure hospital bill is now forgiven.

“They have erased our entire bill. $106,545 and twenty-three cents I think it was. Absolutely thrilled. Couldn’t be more grateful,” says Handy.

Last year, Handy survived emergency surgery for a hiatal hernia at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.

She believed that bill would be covered by a health care sharing ministry named Sharity.

The idea is that you pay monthly and share each other’s medical expenses. But the Ferndale resident says that didn’t happen.

“It would take, I don’t know how long to pay that back,” worried Handy.

Sharity was formerly “Trinity Health Share.”

Trinity was fined by Washington’s Insurance Commissioner in 2019 and ordered to stop doing new business in Washington.

Commissioner Mike Kreidler says he hasn’t heard a lot about Sharity — yet.

“My guess is, unless they clean up their act and they’re a whole lot better than their predecessor, they’re going to follow the same pattern,” says Kreidler. “Bankruptcy, and on a regulatory side, we’re going to come after them.”

We contacted administrators with the PeaceHealth system.

A representative told us that because Sharity declared bankruptcy, Handy shouldn’t receive a bill.

And after our story, she got the good news.

“Oh, well there was no words. I wanted to laugh, I wanted to cry. Everything all at once. It was just overwhelming,” says Handy.

Now, she has a question for Sharity: “You’re taking the money, what are you doing with the money?”

She and her husband have a prayer for others still stuck in this unholy predicament.

“Hopefully it’ll work out the same for other people that are going through this,” says her husband, Al. “That got burned by the same company.”

If you’re a Sharity member caught up in all of this who was treated in the PeaceHealth system, give them a call to see if your bill is being forgiven.

We’ve also spoken to people within the Providence Health system. They said they had at least 232 accounts associated with Sharity/Trinity, 97 of which had gone to collections. But since August, they’ve written off $797,312.47 owed by 23 patients.

They say they’re willing to work with you — but you have to call.

Email Jesse right now at consumer@kiro7.com