While The Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress Push Junk Plans, States Join Health Care Advocates and Congressional Democrats in Fighting Back

 

Washington, D.C. –  While the Trump Administration continues its efforts to attack people with pre-existing conditions and sabotage health care through the expansion of junk insurance plans  — and Republicans in Congress refuse to join their Democratic colleagues in the Senate and House in stopping them — the state of California joins other states in protecting its residents from dangerous ‘junk’ plans through new legislation signed into law Saturday.

Going one step further in its rebuke of the Trump Administration’s disastrous health care policies, California also enacted new legislation protecting Californians against the Trump Administration’s scheme to reduce Medicaid coverage by imposing rigid work requirements. This is a win for health care, as these work requirements have proven to be impossible for many of those most in need of health care coverage to meet.

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care issued the following statement in response to the growing fight against junk plans:

“While Trump and his Republican allies take a sledgehammer to health care, it becomes even more important that states like California and others step up and protect our care, which is exactly what the American people want our leaders to do. The reasons that officials are fighting Trump’s junk plans in the states, that health care advocates are fighting them in court, that Democratic health care champions in Congress are fighting them on the Hill are simple: these junk plans are allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, they are not required to cover key benefits, such as cancer treatments and prescription drug coverage, and they deceive consumers by refusing to pay for costs after a person gets sick. Since these insurance plans truly are ‘junk’ and have a long history of scamming people who need health care coverage the most the real question is why Donald Trump thinks he can call himself a protector of people with pre-existing conditions at the same time that he and his allies in Washington are pushing junk plans onto the American people?”

 

Insurance Commissioners From Coast to Coast Have Spoken Out Against Short-Term Junk Plans:

Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner: “Of Course They’ll Be Less Expensive…That’s Because It’s Junk Insurance And It Won’t Cover The Same Things.” [HuffPost, 8/5/18]

Jessica Altman, PA Insurance Commissioner: The Administration Isn’t Talking About How Limited These Plans Are. “I’m frustrated with how [administration officials] are presenting this…They’re saying, ‘Here’s this option that’s affordable and wonderful,’ and not talking about how limited the plans are…You can look at one of these plans and you’ll see it covers doctors, hospitals, maybe even drugs, and so you think it will have everything I need…You won’t realize that the amounts are caps, or have exclusions ― it’s really difficult to expect that consumers will be able to figure out what all of this means, and really know what they are getting.” [HuffPost, 8/5/18]

PA Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman Has Already Revoked The Licenses Of Eight Brokers Or Agents Misrepresenting Short-term Plans. “In Pennsylvania, Altman said she has already revoked the licenses of eight brokers or agents who had been misrepresenting short-term plans.” [The Hill, 8/12/18]

TN Insurance Commissioner, Julie Mix McPeak Is Concerned About Whether Consumers Fully Understand The Plans They Buy. “‘We have to really make sure consumers know what they’re purchasing, and they’re aware of what’s covered and what’s not covered,’ Mix McPeak said. ‘The last thing we need is for consumers to have surprise bills.'” [The Hill, 8/12/18]

Lori Wing-Heier, Director Of Alaska Insurance Division: “I’m Concerned That People Will Buy These Policies, Show Up At The Hospital For A Condition They Did Not Expect, And Discover They Are Not Covered.” [HuffPost, 8/5/18]

Lori Wing-Heier, Director Of Alaska Insurance Division: Under Short-Term Plans, Insurers May Use Information You Submit In Good Faith To Deny Coverage. “You fill out the form, the medical forms, you think you are being honest about your history, and then the insurers go through your records and find something that you didn’t think was an issue, your doctor didn’t think was an issue, but now the insurer is saying it’s a pre-existing condition.” [HuffPost, 8/5/18]

Michael Conway, Colorado Interim Insurance Commissioner: People May Read Warnings, But Not Understand How Bare-bones These Plans Really Are. “They may read [the warning], but that’s not the same as understanding it…Because of the ACA, now people think the baseline has changed ― that certain things are always covered.” [HuffPost, 8/5/18]

Troy Oechsner, Deputy Superintendent At New York Department Of Financial Services: “These Are Substandard Products.” “‘These are substandard products,’ sold on the premise that ‘junk insurance is better than nothing’ for people who cannot afford comprehensive coverage, Troy J. Oechsner, a deputy superintendent at the New York Department of Financial Services, told the insurers.” [New York Times, 8/6/18]

View Protect Our Care’s factsheets on short term junk plans and association junk plans for more information.