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August 2018

Experts Condemn Trump Move To Push Junk Short-Term Plans

This morning, the Trump Administration announced a rule that encourages consumers to ditch comprehensive health care in favor of junk short-term plans that will leave them with piles of bills and without coverage should they get sick. This announcement is just the latest attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act, strip protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and drive up premiums. Here’s a look at what experts are saying:

Mary Dwight, Senior Vice President Of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: Plans Will Split Market Into Plans For Healthy And Plans For Sick. “The new plans will no longer be just transition coverage. They will be an alternative to comprehensive insurance. They will split the market into plans for healthy people and plans for sick people.” [New York Times, 8/1/18]

Sabrina Corlette, Professor At Georgetown University Health Policy Institute: Short-Term Plans Are “Very Much A Buyer-Beware Situation.”  [Bloomberg, 7/31/18]

Larry Levitt, Senior Vice President of Kaiser Family Foundation: Trump Using Short-Term Plans To Create Parallel Insurance Market That Can Skirt ACA Consumer Protections. “The Trump administration cannot eliminate the ACA’s insurance rules. Instead, they are using short-term insurance plans to create a parallel market of insurance plans that do not have to follow any of the ACA’s rules.” [Levitt, 8/1/18]

Chris Hansen, President Of The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: People With Cancer Could “Face Astronomical Costs.” “People who buy the new policies and develop cancer could ‘face astronomical costs’ and ‘may be forced to forgo treatment entirely because of costs.'” [New York Times, 8/1/18]

Georgetown Center On Health Insurance Reforms: As Bills Start To Pile Up Under Short-Term Plans, Many Folks Would Realize “They’re Not Really Insured At All.” “If you are pregnant, you will have to find another way to pay for the cost of your pre-natal care and labor and delivery (maternity care charges for a normal birth average $32,093; $51,125 for an uncomplicated C-section). If you get cancer, your plan will not cover oncology drugs, which can cost an average of $10,000 per month. If you are hospitalized, you may find yourself owing hundreds of thousands of dollars for services that are not covered by your plan.” [Georgetown Center On Health Insurance Reforms, 7/26/18]

Blue Cross Blue Blue Shield Association: “The Broader Availability And Longer Duration Of Slimmed Down Policies That Do Not Provide Comprehensive Coverage Has The Potential To Harm Consumers.” “The broader availability and longer duration of slimmed-down policies that do not provide comprehensive coverage has the potential to  harm consumers, both by making comprehensive coverage more expensive and by leaving some consumers unaware of the risks of these policies.” [Politico, 8/1/18]

Erika Sward, Assistant Vice President Of The American Lung Association Describes Rule As “One More Blow Of An Ax To Stable State Marketplaces.” [New York Times, 8/1/18]

America’s Health Insurance Plans: We Remain Concerned That Consumers Will Face HIgh Medical Bills When They Need Care That Isn’t Covered. We remain concerned that consumers who rely on short-term plans for an extended time period will face high medical bills when they need care that isn’t covered or exceed their coverage limits.” [Alice Ollstein, Talking Points Memo, 8/1/18]

New National Association of Insurance Commissioners Report Confirms That With Short-Term Plans, A Significantly Higher Percentage Of Money Goes Toward Administrative Costs And Profits Than Care. The NAIC report reveals that the largest seller of short-term plans, UnitedHealth, has a medical loss ratio, the ratio of money that goes toward care versus administrative costs and profits, of 43.7 percent, compared to the ACA-mandated minimum of 80 percent. [NAIC, July 2018]