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Short-Term Plans Archives — Protect Our Care

“Cheap for A Reason”: Outcry Against Trump’s Junk Plan Proposal

This morning the Trump administration announced its decision to allow junk plans that can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, that are not required to cover key benefits, such as cancer treatments and prescription drug coverage, and that can refuse to pay for costs by claiming that you had a pre existing condition you didn’t tell them about.  

News coverage has called the administration’s actions out for what they are: a blatant move to dismantle protections for people with pre-existing conditions and undermine the Affordable Care Act.

Headlines paint a telling picture:

  • HuffPost: Horrible Health Insurance Now Legal Again, Thanks To Trump. [HuffPost, 8/1/18]
  • Bloomberg: Short-Term Health Plans Backed By Trump Are Cheap For A Reason. [Bloomberg, 7/31/18]
  • Associated Press: Officials Are Promoting Lower-Cost, Short-Term Health Plans. [Associated Press, 8/1/18]
  • New York Times: ‘Short Term’ Health Insurance? Up To 3 Years Under New Trump Policy. [New York Times, 8/1/18]
  • San Diego Union-Tribune: Trump Administration Widens Availability Of Skimpy, Short-Term Health Plans. [San Diego Times-Union, 8/1/18]
  • Politico: Trump Whacks Obamacare By Boosting Short-Term Health Plans. [Politico, 8/1/18]
  • Washington Post: Trump Administration Widens Availability Of Skimpy, Short-Term Health Plans. [Washington Post, 8/1/18]
  • Los Angeles Times: Trump Administration Moves To Further Expand Skimpy Health Plans. [Los Angeles Times, 8/1/18]
  • NPR: Under New Rules, Cheaper ‘Short-Term’ Health Care Plans Now Last Up To Three Years. [NPR, 8/1/18]
  • Governing: Trump Administration Loosens Restrictions On Skimpy, Short-Term Health Plans. [Governing, 8/1/18]
  • Kaiser Health News: Trump Administration Loosens Restrictions On Short-Term Health Plans. [Kaiser Health News, 8/1/18]
  • The Cut: Trump’s New Insurance Rules Put Women And Children At Risk. [The Cut, 8/1/18]

Reporters have been quick to note that these plans will hurt consumers…

Los Angeles Times: Expanding Short-Term Plans Is Opposed By Nearly Every Patient Advocacy Organization In The Country. “Expanding short-term plans also risks driving up costs for Americans with preexisting medical conditions who need more comprehensive benefits…Among the groups that have opposed the Trump administration’s moves are virtually every leading patient advocacy organization in the country, including the American Lung Assn., the American Heart Assn., the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the March of Dimes, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Susan G. Komen, AARP and the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society.

HuffPost: Short-Term Plans Provide Junk Coverage And Drive Up Costs Of Comprehensive Care. “Meanwhile, those seeking out comprehensive plans because they want or need them will discover those policies have gotten more expensive, thanks to the way short-term plans will affect the rest of the insurance market. Some insurance shoppers will have serious, even life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, which will mean their insurance must have a full set of benefits. But those kinds of policies will become more expensive than they can afford. [HuffPost, 8/1/18]

Bloomberg: Cheaper Plans “Can Come At A Cost.” “For some people, though, the cheaper premiums can come at a cost, such as when insurers claim that a cancer treatment shouldn’t be covered because a patient had the disease before buying coverage, as Bloomberg reported in October.” [Bloomberg, 7/31/18]

Short-Term Plans Sometimes Impose Unexpected Rules, Like For Instance Refusing To Cover Hospitalizations During The Weekend.There may be other strange rules. A review of some plan documents from Families USA found an Illinois plan that would cover only hospitalizations beginning during the week — inpatient stays that began on the weekend would not be allowed except in rare circumstances. Some plans had waiting periods for care. Cancer treatment, for example, is not covered in certain plans during the first month a person is enrolled in a plan, and no treatment for illness is covered in the first five days. That’s the kind of detail that might be easy to overlook when signing up for a plan if you aren’t expecting a cancer diagnosis.” [New York Times, 8/1/18]

….financially benefit insurance companies….

With Short-Term Plans, Insurance Companies Can Spend Less Money On Medical Care. “According to research from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average short-term plan in 2017 spent less than 65 percent of premium dollars on medical care. Some of the short-term plans in the association’s analysis keep more than half of all premiums as overhead and profit.” [New York Times, 8/1/18]

Brokers Tend To Make Higher Commission On Short-Term Plans. “Brokers also tend to make higher commissions on the short-term plans, since the companies share a cut of their larger profits to get referrals. According to eHealth, a national online brokerage, a typical Obamacare-compliant plan pays a commission of around 5 percent, while short-term plans pay out commissions closer to 20 percent. Because short-term plans are currently limited to 90 days, brokers now make more money selling comprehensive plans that cover more benefits. But that math may shift as short-term plans expand their duration under the new rule, giving brokers a stronger financial incentive to sell short-term plans instead.” [New York Times, 8/1/18]

…and are designed to undermine access to affordable, comprehensive care.

Huffington Post: “The New Rules Represent One Of The Most Consequential Steps That President Donald Trump And His Republican Allies Have Taken In Their Campaign To Dismantle The 2010 Health Care Law Known As Obamacare.” [HuffPost, 8/1/18]

Washington Post: Making It Easier To Buy Plans That Circumvent The Law Part Of Trump’s Strategy To Undercut The ACA.“Making it easier to buy health plans that avoid the law’s protections is part of a strategy being employed by Trump and his aides of relying on executive powers to undercut aspects of the law, whose demolition has been one of Trump’s central goals since his 2016 campaign.” [Washington Post, 8/1/18]

San Diego Union-Tribune: Plans Are “Devised To Foster Low-Price Insurance That Circumvents The Affordable Care Act’s Coverage Requirements And Consumer Protections.” “The new rules are the second tool the administration has devised lately to foster low-price insurance that circumvents the Affordable Care Act’s coverage requirements and consumer protections. In June, the Labor Department issued rules that will make it easier for small companies to buy a type of insurance known as association health plans and, for the first time, allow them to be sold to people who are self-employed…Both can have bigger price differences between older customers and younger ones. But only the short-term plans can also charge higher prices to customers with medical conditions that require care, deny them coverage, or avoid covering health problems that a customer had before buying the insurance — all practices that the ACA bans.” [San Diego Times-Union, 8/1/18]

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]

Trump Administration Ignores 98 Percent of Health Experts, Greenlights Junk Insurance Plans

This is the GOP’s Fifth Act of Sabotage In the Past Week Alone

Washington, D.C. – In response to the Trump Administration’s final rule bringing short-term, junk plans back to consumers, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“Today’s announcement is nothing more than the Trump Administration’s and Republicans latest attack on our health care, taking its summer of sabotage to a new level and once again leaving Americans holding the bill. Coming on the heels of the GOP pushing forward a lawsuit to end the protections Americans depend upon under the Affordable Care Act, including those for the 130 million people with pre-existing conditions, this rule will let insurance companies with billions in profits once again take Americans’ hard-earned money while drastically limiting coverage. Short term junk plans don’t cover people with pre-existing conditions, don’t include coverage for basic medical needs like prescription drugs, and refuse to pay benefits when a legitimate medical emergency arises. The Trump Administration and its Republican allies in Congress want to give insurance companies the power to deny coverage based on the flimsiest excuse, and this rule does just that. The public knows better than to fall for this charade.”

Today’s announcement is the fifth act of sabotage the Trump Administration and its GOP allies have undertaken in the past week alone. In the past seven days:

  1. The Trump Administration and twenty GOP attorneys general and governors pushed forward their lawsuit in an attempt to strike down protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  2. Not a single Republican Senator or House Member joined the Democratic resolutions authorizing the legislative chambers’ legal counsel to go to court and defend these protections.
  3. House Republicans went home after doing nothing to lower premiums or protect the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  4. New Jersey became the 25th state to see its projected premiums rise due to GOP actions. In fact, new data shows Americans will spend $3,000 more per year for marketplace coverage this year.
  5. Now, short term “junk plans could be back on the market.

Read more about this Summer of Sabotage here, and read about all the ways the Trump Administration has sabotaged health care over the past 18 months here.

ABOUT SHORT TERM JUNK PLANS:

  • 335 of 340 health groups, 98 percent of those that submitted comments to HHS, criticized the proposed rule.
  • Short-term junk plans can exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, affecting 130 million Americans and one in four children.
  • Short-term junk plans can refuse to cover essential health benefits, including maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health care, and preventive care.
  • Short-term junk plans can impose annual and lifetime limits.
  • Short-term junk plans can leave members facing “major, unpredictable financial risk,” with out-of-pocket maximums as high as $20,000 for just three months of coverage.
  • Short-term junk plans can retroactively cancel coverage after patients file claims.

For more information on short term junk plans, view our fact sheet.

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Short-Term Junk Plans

SHORT-TERM JUNK PLANS OFFER INADEQUATE MEDICAL COVERAGE AND CIRCUMVENT FUNDAMENTAL CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

Short-Term Plans May Exclude Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions. “Policyholders who get sick may be investigated by the insurer to determine whether the newly-diagnosed condition could be considered pre-existing and so excluded from coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

  • As Many As 130 Million Nonelderly Americans Have A Pre-Existing Condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]
  • 1 in 4 Children Would Be Impacted If Insurance Companies Could Deny Or Charge More Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

Short-Term Junk Plans Can Refuse To Cover Essential Health Benefits. “Typical short-term policies do not cover maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health care, preventive care, and other essential benefits, and may limit coverage in other ways.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

Under Many Short-Term Junk Plans, Benefits Are Capped At $1 Million Or Less. Short-term plans can impose lifetime and annual limits –  “for example, many policies cap covered benefits at $1 million or less.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

Commonwealth Fund: “Cost Sharing Designs In Short-Term Coverage Leave Members Facing Major, Unpredictable Financial Risk.” “The out-of-pocket maximum for each best-selling plan is higher than that allowed in individual or employer plans under the ACA, when adjusting for the shorter plan duration. When considering the deductible, the best-selling plans have out-of-pocket maximums ranging from $7,000 to $20,000 for just three months of coverage. In comparison, the ACA limits out-of-pocket maximums to $7,150 for the entire year.” [Commonwealth Fund, 8/11/17]

Short-Term Junk Plans Can Retroactively Cancel Coverage After Patients File Claims. “Individuals in STLDI plans would be at risk for rescission. Rescissions are retroactive cancellations of coverage, often occurring after individuals file claims due to medical necessity. While enrollees in ACA coverage cannot have their policy retroactively cancelled, enrollees in STLDI plans can.” [Wakely/ACAP, April 2018]

Short-Term Junk Plan Currently Being Sold In Thirteen States Does Not Cover Services For Patients Admitted To Hospital On The Weekend. “That brings us to the short-term plan marketed by UnitedHealth’s Golden Rule subsidiary….To begin with, the Golden Rule plan excludes pregnancy and provides for a lifetime maximum benefit of only $250,000. Remarkably, it won’t cover hospital room, board or nursing services for patients admitted to a hospital on a Friday or Saturday, unless for an emergency or for necessary surgery the next day.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/26/18]

JUNK COVERAGE PROVIDED BY SHORT-TERM PLANS LEAVES THOSE WHO GET SICK WITH THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN UNPAID BILLS

Atlanta Woman With Short-Term Plan Was Diagnosed With Cancer And Left With $400,000 Medical Bill.Dawn Jones…bought a short-term plan from Golden Rule Insurance, a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., so she’d be covered between jobs, according to court documents. Then, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite showing evidence she was unaware of the cancer when she bought the policy, the insurer didn’t pay for Jones’s treatment, leaving her with a $400,000 medical bill, according to a complaint she filed against the company in September 2016… the judge sided with Golden Rule and dismissed the case in August, finding the policy agreement clearly stated that preexisting conditions wouldn’t be covered, even if the customer was unaware of the condition. Jones wasn’t diagnosed until after she bought her policy.” [Bloomberg, 10/17/17]

San Antonio Man Paid Premiums To Short-Term Plan Company For Six Years, And Was Denied Coverage When He Developed Kidney Disease. “Pat’s decision to save some money by buying short-term insurance was a big mistake, says Karen Pollitz, project director of Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute and a leading expert on the individual-insurance market. ‘These short-term policies are a joke,’ she says. ‘Nobody should ever buy them. It is false security that is being sold. It’s junk.’ That’s because diagnosing and treating an illness may not fall neatly into six-month increments. While Pat had been continuously covered since 2002 by the same company, Assurant Health, each successive policy treated him as a brand-new customer. In looking back over Pat’s medical records, the company noticed test results from December, eight months earlier. Though Pat’s doctors didn’t determine the precise cause of the problem until the following July, his kidney disease was nonetheless judged a ‘pre-existing condition’ — meaning his insurance wouldn’t cover it, since he was now under a different six-month policy from the one he had when he got those first tests.” [Time, 3/5/09]

In San Francisco, Woman Was Hit With $150,000 Charge After Short-Term Health Plan Refused Coverage. “Grace Wood, an instructor at a university in San Francisco, bought a short-term plan in 2013. When she had to have a heart procedure, her insurer, HCC Life, balked, leaving her with roughly $150,000 in unpaid medical bills.” [New York Times, 11/30/17]

Short-Term Insurance Plan Refuses To Pay For Man’s Triple Bypass Surgery, Leaving Family With $900,000 In Bills. “One case pending in federal court involves Kevin Conroy, who had a heart attack in 2014 and underwent triple bypass surgery, just two months after his wife, Linda, obtained a short-term policy over the telephone. Their insurer, HHC Life, refused to pay the bills. ‘We freaked out,’ Ms. Conroy said. ‘What were we going to do? It was $900,000.’ The insurer informed the Conroys the policy was ‘rescinded,’ to use the industry jargon. “[New York Times, 11/30/17]

SUBPAR COVERAGE OFFERED BY SHORT-TERM PLANS RAISES HEALTH COSTS FOR CONSUMERS WHILE RAKING IN PROFITS FOR INSURANCE COMPANIES

Short-Term Health Plans Rake In Profits For Insurance Companies While Leaving Consumers Unprotected. “That’s why they make up such a high-profit portion of the insurance industry: They are largely designed to rake in premiums, even as they offer little in return. And even when they do pay for things, they often provide confusing or conflicting protocols for making claims. Collectively, short-term plans can leave thousands of people functionally uninsured or underinsured without addressing or lowering real systemwide costs.” [The Atlantic, 4/25/18]

More Premium Dollars Can Go Toward Profit, Rather Than Coverage With Short-Term Plans. Short-term plans do not have to follow the Medical Loss Ratio, meaning that more premium dollars gan go toward administration and profit than under other plans. For instance, the largest seller of short-term insurance only requires 50% of premium dollars to pay for medical coverage, much less than the 80% required by ACA-compliant plans. [Wakely/ACAP, April 2018]

Junk Plans Lead To Higher Premiums For Those Enrolled In Full Coverage Plans. “While recent state-level and federal proposals differ in the details, they’d have a similar result: People who buy skimpy plans would face staggering costs when they get sick, and consumers who want comprehensive coverage could face drastic premium increases.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/5/18]

Short-Term Plans Divide Insurance Market Between Sick And Healthy. “Because short-term plans are not considered individual market coverage that must meet ACA standards, they can, and typically do, exclude coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, limit the amount of benefits that a person can receive from the plan in a year, and fail to include many of the essential health benefits, such as maternity care, mental health and substance-use disorder services, and prescription drugs…Short-term plans would be most likely to attract healthier people, leading to premium increases for ACA-compliant plans and destabilizing individual insurance markets across the nation.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/29/17]

Junk Plans Mean Higher Premiums For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. By promoting short-term policies, the administration is making a trade-off: lower premiums and less coverage for healthy people, and higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions who need more comprehensive coverage.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

JUNK PLANS DESTABILIZE THE INDIVIDUAL MARKET, DRIVING UP COSTS FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES

Gary Claxton, Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President: Short-Term Plans “Draw In Healthy People And Spit Them Back Into The Marketplace When They’re Sick.” “Short-term health plans, meanwhile, have the ability to charge sick people more than healthy people, to deny people with preexisting conditions, and kick people off the plans if they get sick. If federal agencies decided to lift the limits on the short-term plans, and to exempt people on them from the penalty for not buying health insurance, Obamacare’s individual market could become destabilized, Claxton says. Healthy people would join the short-term plans when they were healthy, stay on them for a year, and pay little for skimpier coverage. If they got sick, they would be kicked off those plans and onto the Obamacare exchanges, where coverage is expansive but prices would be higher than they are now.” [The Atlantic, 10/12/17]

Tim Jost, Health Law Expert: Short Term Health Plans Provide Subpar Coverage and Destabilize Market. “As their name suggests, short-term plans provide coverage for a limited period of time, often six months or less. They generally don’t cover such things as preexisting conditions, maternity services or prescription drugs. The policies typically have maximum coverage limits of about $1 million. Insurers can turn people down if they’re sick and may decide not to renew someone’s policy… ‘The big health insurance companies are really mixed on this,’ said Timothy Jost, emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law and an expert on the health law. ‘They see this as a seriously destabilizing force in the market, this crap coverage.’” [Kaiser Health News, 1/31/17]

When Healthy Individuals Opt For Short-Term Plans, Costs Go Up For Those Who Are Sick. To the extent that healthy individuals opt for cheaper short-term policies instead of ACA-compliant plans, such adverse selection contributes to instability in the reformed non-group market and raises the cost of coverage for people who have health conditions.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Vice President: Short-Term Plans Will Raise Premiums for Middle Class Families. “‘The repeal of the mandate and expansion of association health plans and the rise of short-term plans will certainly send premiums rising for middle-class people with pre-existing conditions whose only option is the [ObamaCare]-regulated market,’ said Larry Levitt, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.” [The Hill, 1/7/18]

KEY HEALTH INSURANCE STAKEHOLDERS WARN AGAINST SHORT-TERM PLANS

98 Percent Of Health Groups That Submitted Comments To HHS Have Serious Concerns About The Short-Term Proposal.  “More than 98% — or 335 of 340 — of the healthcare groups that commented on the proposal to loosen restrictions on short-term health plans criticized it, in many cases warning that the rule could gravely hurt sick patients.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/30/18]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: “Health Care Changes Could Leave Millions Of Cancer Patients And Survivors Unable To Access Meaningful Coverage.” “Today’s executive order jeopardizes the ability of millions of cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease from being able to access or afford meaningful health insurance. Exempting an entire set of health plans from covering essential health benefits like prescription drugs or specialty care and allowing expansion and renewability of bare-bones short-term plans will split the insurance market. If younger and healthier people leave the market, people with serious illnesses like cancer will be left facing higher and higher premiums with few, if any, insurance choices.  Moreover, those who purchase cheap plans are likely to discover their coverage is inadequate when an unexpected health crisis happens leaving them financially devastated and costing the health care system more overall.” [ACS CAN, 10/12/17]

Blue Cross Blue Shield Officials Worry Short-Term Health Plans “Could Really Weaken The Efforts To Stabilize The Marketplace.” “Short-term plans can turn away people with pre-existing conditions, place caps on how much they’ll cover, and decline to cover services like maternity care. All of which means they could siphon healthy consumers out of the ACA’s marketplaces. ‘It could really weaken the efforts to stabilize the marketplace,’ says Kris Haltmeyer, BCBSA’s vice president of legislative and regulatory policy.” [Axios, 2/6/18]

American Academy of Family Physicians: STLD Plans Would Destabilize Individual Market. “We are troubled by how the proposed rule would further destabilize the individual market by drawing young, healthy people away from meaningful, comprehensive coverage…under the proposed rule, insurers could reduce or eliminate certain EHBs to avoid vulnerable, expensive patients by excluding specific services.” [Letter to HHS, 4/18/18]

ACS CAN: Short-Term Plans Are Exempt From Important Consumer Protections. “We are very concerned about policies that would expand access to STLD policies because these products are exempt from important consumer protections, such as prohibitions on lifetime and annual dollar limits, limits on the use of pre-existing condition exclusions, and the prohibition on medical underwriting…We are afraid that some consumers choose to enroll in STLD policies simply because of the lower premium and are unaware of the limitations of the coverage.” [ACS CAN letter to HHS, 4/20/18]

Alliance of Community Health Plans: Concerned It Will Leave Consumers With Fewer Coverage Options “ACHP is also concerned that the proposed rule will cause more insurers to flee the market, leaving consumers with fewer coverage options.” [Letter to HHS, 4/19/18]

American College of Rheumatology: Short-Term Plans Will Hurt Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis. “We urge the agencies to consider how healthy individuals leaving the exchanges to purchase STLDI plans would affect market stability and premiums for those still in the health exchange. Potentially, our patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis could see an upward swing in their premiums, causing further affordability and access issues” [American College of Rheumatology, 4/23/18]

AHIP: Short-Term Plans Should Not Be Offered As Replacement For Comprehensive Coverage.  “‘We recommend that short-term plans should not be offered as a full replacement for comprehensive coverage,’ AHIP says — because that could pull healthy customers out of the market for ACA coverage.” [Axios, 4/23/18]

Dr. David O. Barbe, president of American Medical Association: These Plans Would Result In “Inadequate Health Insurance Coverage.” “We believe the proposed rule, however, would culminate in plans being offered that fall far short of maintaining crucial state and federal patient protections, disrupt and destabilize the individual health insurance markets, and result in substandard, inadequate health insurance coverage.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

Margaret Murray, CEO of Association for Community Affiliated Plans: Short Term Plans “strip every provision that might be of value to a patient.” “Not only do STLDI plans not cover pre-existing conditions, but what was covered when you bought the plan can be excluded three months later when you try to renew the plan. Rescissions are rampant in the STLDI market, leading to retroactive cancellation of policies that stick patients with enormous medical bills.” [Washington Examiner, 4/26/18]

Mario Molina, Former CEO of Molina Healthcare: Hopefully You Already Had Kids, Because Short-Term Plans Gut Maternity Care. “Hopefully, you had kids already, because under the short-term health plan expansion encouraged by an executive order signed last year, covered maternity care vanishes in 100% of plans analyzed by [the Kaiser Family Foundation]” [Mario Molina, 4/23/18]

California Department Of Insurance: “Trump Executive Order Will Create A Health Insurance Race To The Bottom.” “Increased sale of short-term policies that don’t cover essential health care needs or comply with most rules that apply to health insurance will harm consumers and create health insurance market instability.” [CDI, 10/12/17]

Sandy Praeger, Former Republican State Insurance Regulator In Kansas And Onetime President Of National Association Of Insurance Commissioners: “Basically anybody who knows anything about healthcare is opposed to these proposals.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/30/18]

President Trump Doubles Down on Health Care Sabotage at Bill Signing Ceremony

Washington, D.C. – After President Trump boasted about his Administration’s ongoing health care sabotage during a bill signing, saying that “we will have gotten rid of a majority of Obamacare” in relation to his Administration’s expected rules on short-term and association health plans, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“President Trump is bragging about his Administration’s continuing efforts to undermine and sabotage Americans’ health coverage through short-term junk and association health plans on the very same day that a new analysis shows unprecedented opposition to both proposals from over 90% of health care groups. Instead of forging ahead down this destructive path, Trump should listen to the vast majority of Americans, who oppose his repeal-and-sabotage agenda, and withdraw this harmful rule. It’s time for President Trump to end this partisan war on Americans’ health care.”

FACT SHEETS:

SHORT-TERM PLANS leave people who get sick with thousands of dollars in medical bills because they don’t have to cover basic medical services.

ASSOCIATION HEALTH PLANS may also refuse to cover basic medical services, and have a long history of fraud and unpaid claims.

Health Insurance Experts Confirm Rate Hikes Driven By Sabotage

New estimates from the health insurance industry trade group and other expert organizations are making it clear that Republican sabotage is dramatically increasing the premiums everyday Americans will be paying for health coverage in 2019. In a report that should shock every person struggling to afford health care, the health insurance companies expect rate hikes of up to 15.7% specifically because of Republican actions to undermine and sabotage the health care system.

AHIP: Factors Influencing 2019 Premiums in the Individual Market [5/25]

  • Short-term plan regulation: “Proposed rule would likely increase premiums in the individual market by 1.7% in the near-term and up to 6.6% once these changes are fully implemented.”
  • Association Health Plan regulation: “Could increase premiums in the individual market by up to 4 percent.”
  • Tax bill: Elimination of the individual mandate will increase premiums in 2019 … Recent regulatory guidance by the Administration expanded the list of hardship exemptions to the mandate for 2018, which could inject further uncertainty in the market ahead of 2019.”

AHIP, May 2018

Congressional Budget Office: Federal Subsidies for Health Insurance Coverage for People Under Age 65: 2018 to 2028 [5/23]

  • Significant hikes projected: Premiums for benchmark plans are expected to increase by 15 percent next year, and 7 percent per year between 2019 and 2028.
  • Republican sabotage to blame: CBO says these coverage losses and premium increases will happen “mainly because the penalty associated with the individual mandate will be eliminated and premiums in the nongroup market will be higher.”

CBO, May 2018

Center for American Progress: State-by-State Estimated Premium Increases due to Individual Mandate Repeal and Short-Term Plan Rule [5/18]

  • Four-figure rate hikesEstimated premium increases due to these acts of marketplace sabotage average $1,013 nationally for benchmark premiums for a 40-year-old individual.”
  • Cumulative sabotage impact: “After all, through previous acts of marketplace sabotage, the Trump administration has already unnecessarily driven up 2018 premiums for ACA-compliant coverage. For example, last year, CAP estimated that the Trump administration’s decisions to cancel cost-sharing reduction payments and to undermine enforcement of the individual mandate would increase average benchmark premiums for a 40-year-old by $1,061.”

The People Who Know Health Care the Best Say Short-Term Plans Are the Worst

Yesterday marked the deadline for comments to be submitted on the Trump Administration’s proposed short-term scam insurance. A wide variety of health care experts – including doctors, insurance exchange operators, insurance companies, analysts, and more than 100 patient groups – continue to make clear their strong opposition to the Administration’s proposal. Here’s what they had to say:

American Medical Association: Proposed Rule “Would Result In Substandard, Inadequate Health Insurance Coverage.” “We believe the proposed rule, however, would culminate in plans being offered that fall far short of maintaining crucial state and federal patient protections, disrupt and destabilize the individual health insurance markets, and result in substandard, inadequate health insurance coverage.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Liver Foundation, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Autism Speaks, Chron’s & Colitis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Family Voices, Hemophilia Federation of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, Mended Little Hearts, NAMI, National Health Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization for Rare Disorders, National Patient Advocacy Foundation, National Psoriasis Foundation: “Given The History Of Discrimination And Inadequate Coverage Within Short-term Limited-duration Plans, We Are Deeply Concerned That The Proposed Rule Could Seriously Undermine The Key Principles Of Access, Adequacy, And Affordability That Are The Underpinnings Of Current Law – And Put Those We Represent At Enormous Risk.” “Given the history of discrimination and inadequate coverage within short-term limited-duration plans, we are deeply concerned that the proposed rule could seriously undermine the key principles of access, adequacy, and affordability that are the underpinnings of current law – and put those we represent at enormous risk. We urge the Departments to withdraw the proposed rule until the needs of our populations are met and instead, to focus on stabilizing the individual insurance markets and lowering premiums for QHPs.” [ACS-CAN, 4/23]

American Academy Of Family Physicians: “Short-Term, Limited-Duration Plans Will Not Provide Meaningful Insurance Coverage.” “The AAFP strongly opposes the proposed rule since it allows plans to sell low-value insurance policies that could subject patients to catastrophic medical bills and medical bankruptcy. We oppose efforts to exempt short-term, limited-duration plans from consumer protections such as covering preexisting conditions or essential health benefits (EHBs). Furthermore, we oppose allowing any plans to establish caps on annual benefits since limiting benefits can expose patients to extraordinarily high out-of-pocket costs… The AAFP has significant concerns with these proposals since short-term, limited-duration plans will not provide meaningful insurance coverage. While these plans could increase the availability and affordability of services, we do not think doing so should come at the expense of meaningful insurance coverage.” [AFP, 4/18]

America’s Health Insurance Plans: “Not A Replacement For Comprehensive Coverage.” “‘We are concerned that this proposed rule will lead to more people being uninsured and under-insured, and to higher costs in the long run,’ AHIP chief executive Matt Eyles said. ‘Short-term plans can provide an important temporary bridge for Americans who are transitioning between plans. But they are not a replacement for comprehensive coverage.’” [Forbes, 4/23]

Alliance Of Community Health Plans: “The Proposed Rule Will Undermine Consumer Protections.” “The proposed rule will undermine consumer protections because short-term, limited duration plans do not require coverage of essential health benefits or coverage of pre-existing conditions. There is a substantial risk that consumers will not understand the coverage limitations that accompany short term plans. Contracts for medical coverage can be quite complex, and consumers may assume that essential health benefits are covered by short-term, limited duration plans, but for a shorter period of time. This could lead to consumers purchasing health insurance that is inadequate for their medical needs, potentially resulting in personal bankruptcy and an increase in uncompensated care for hospitals and other facilities. There is evidence of this connection between coverage and personal financial status: A Consumer Reports study found that increased health care coverage over the past several years was associated with a reduction by half in the number of personal bankruptcy filings. With the increased use of short-term, limited duration plans, we anticipate a troubling reversal of this trend.” [ACHP, 4/19/18]

American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network: “We Believe That The Proposed Rule Should Be Withdrawn.” “We are very concerned about policies that would expand access to STLD policies because these products are exempt from important consumer protections, such as prohibitions on lifetime and annual dollar limits, limits on the use of pre-existing condition exclusions, and the prohibition on medical underwriting. These protections are key to ensuring that individuals with cancer (including those in active treatment and survivors) have access to quality health care needed to treat their disease. Without these protections, individuals could find themselves enrolled in policies that fail to provide coverage of medically necessary services. We believe this proposed rule should be withdrawn unless the needs of the patient community have been met.” [ACS CAN, 4/20/18]

American Hospital Association And Federation Of American Hosptials: “Concerned That The Result Will Be Increased Uncompensated Care.” “The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals said the proposed rule, if finalized, would drain hospitals’ resources. The federation, which represents investor-owned hospitals, said its members ‘are concerned that the result will be increased uncompensated care, particularly for patients who need uncovered services or treatment for preexisting conditions.’” [Modern Health Care, 4/23]

Association for Community Affiliated Plans: Rule WIll Harm Consumers And Health Care Providers. “The Association for Community Affiliated Plans, a group representing safety-net plans that cover Medicaid, Medicare special-needs and marketplace members, warned that finalizing the rule as proposed would harm consumers and healthcare providers. The group warned that sellers of short-term plans have been known to rescind coverage as soon as an individual becomes ill and files a substantial claim. The space has been riddled with patient lawsuits over unpaid medical bills. ACAP pointed to the recent 42-state investigation into the business and marketing practices of Tokio Marine’s HCC Life subsidiary, a short-term medical insurer. Earlier this month, HCC Life reached a settlement to pay a fine of $5 million. The insurer is also prohibited from selling short-term plans for at least five years. ACAP also warned that skimpy short-term plan benefits would lead to increased uncompensated care.” [Modern Health Care, 4/23]

Heather Korbulic, Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Director: “Deeply Concerned” About Proposed Rule. “The head of Nevada’s health insurance exchange is ‘deeply concerned’ about a proposed federal rule change that would extend the length of short-term health plans, saying in a Friday letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the policy will likely result in higher premiums for people who purchase insurance on the exchange… Korbulic is just one of many in the health-care field nationwide who has expressed concern that approving the federal rule will siphon off the healthiest individuals from the individual market, leaving behind a sicker, more expensive population. In the letter to CMS, Korbulic wrote that individuals with pre-existing conditions or who anticipate needing medical care will likely remain on the exchange where they can purchase plans with comprehensive health benefits but will likely face premium increases.” [Nevada Independent, 4/23]

American Heart Advocacy: Patients “Will Suffer If This Rule Becomes Law.” “Today is the deadline to tell HHS not to extend short-term health plans. The outcome is clear — Patients living with CVD, stroke survivors and others with pre-existing conditions will suffer if this rule becomes law.” [American Heart Advocacy, 4/23/18]

Matt Slonaker, Utah Health Policy Project Executive Director: Short-Term Plans Designed To Weaken ACA. “Matt Slonaker is the executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project. He said the new plans are a way to weaken the health law. ‘Unfortunately what is happening here is the short-term insurance idea is being used as a guise to erode some of the protections of the Affordable Care Act,’ Slonaker said.” [KUER, 4/23]

Tanji Northrup, Assistant Commissioner of the Utah Insurance Department: Short-Term Plans Could Increase Premiums By Double-Digits. “Tanji Northrup is the Assistant Commissioner of the Utah Insurance Department. She says these new plans will pull people out of ACA plans and make them more expensive. ‘There will definitely be increases because of pulling those healthy people out of the traditional market,’ Northrup said… Northrup says if these short-term plans go through, Affordable Care Act rates could increase by double-digits. She says no insurers in Utah have contacted her department yet to develop these new plans.” [KUER, 4/23]

Mario Molina, Former CEO of Molina Healthcare: Hopefully You Already Have Kids Because Maternity Care Won’t Be Covered. “Hopefully, you had kids already, because under the short-term health plan expansion encouraged by an executive order signed last year, covered maternity care vanishes in 100% of plans analyzed by [the Kaiser Family Foundation]” [Mario Molina, 4/23/18]

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Significant Concerns. “[BCBS] has significant concerns that allowing consumers to stay on these plans for a full year ‘would cause rates to increase for those who need or want comprehensive health insurance coverage.'” [Washington Post, 4/24/18]

Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Vice President: “These Short-Term Policy Brochures Read Like An Obstacle Course Of Exclusions.” [Washington Post, 4/23/18]

Kaiser Family Foundation: Analysis: Most Short-Term Health Plans Don’t Cover Drug Treatment or Prescription Drugs, and None Cover Maternity Care. “A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of short-term, limited duration health plans for sale through two major national online brokers finds big gaps in the benefits they offer. Through an executive order and proposed new regulations, the Trump Administration is seeking to encourage broader use of short-term, limited duration health plans as a cheaper alternative to individual market plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements. Repeal of the individual mandate penalty – which currently applies to people buying short-term plans – is also expected to boost enrollment starting next year. The analysis examines 24 distinct short-term insurance products currently marketed in 45 states and the District of Columbia through eHealth or Agile Health Insurance. It finds: 43 percent do not cover mental health services; 62 percent do not cover substance abuse treatment; 71 percent do not cover outpatient prescription drugs; and none of the plans cover maternity care.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 4/23]

Washington Post: Trump Proposal Could Mean Healthy People Save On Insurance While Others Get Priced Out. “The Trump administration’s proposal to build up short-term health insurance plans as a ‘lifeline’ for people who can’t afford Affordable Care Act coverage could split the insurance market in two, siphoning young, healthy people into cheaper, more minimal plans — while those who remain in ACA plans face premiums that spiral upward even faster… The effects of that policy change, combined with zeroing out the individual mandate’s financial penalty in 2019 will be harmful to the most vulnerable patients, according to more than 100 patient groups and many health policy wonks.” [Washington Post, 4/23]

Las Vegas Sun: Health Experts Concerned About Risks Of Limited-duration Health Plans. “People would be able to stay on a type of sub-par temporary health plan longer under a proposed Trump administration rule, sparking a concern that the plans won’t give consumers sufficient coverage. The proposal would lift the cap on short-term limited duration plans from six months to just under a year to give more options to consumers who cannot afford the rising cost of health care, according to the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies involved. The plans can be much cheaper, but do not carry Obamacare-required benefits such as coverage for preexisting conditions.” [Las Vegas Sun, 4/23]

The Hill: Insurer Group Issues Warning On Trump Administration’s Short-Term Health Plan Proposal. “The nation’s largest trade group for health insurance companies is sounding the alarm on a proposal from the Trump administration that would expand the sale of plans that cover fewer services.  America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) says the proposal could lead to more people being uninsured or underinsured and result in higher health-care costs in the long run.” [The Hill, 4/23]

Forbes: Health Insurers: Trump’s Short-Term Plans Will Trigger Loss Of Coverage. “The Trump administration’s proposed cheaper short-term plans may not provide adequate coverage and would trigger an increase in the number of uninsured and under-insured Americans, say health insurers that would be expected to sell such coverage. Through their lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, companies Monday were the latest to weigh in on the Trump administration’s proposed rule on short-term plans… Health insurance companies Monday morning issued their critique of the Trump administration’s proposal, joining a parade of doctor groups concerned about any effort to reduce coverage or pare benefits.” [Forbes, 4/23]

Healthcare Dive: Payer Trade Groups Slam Short-term Health Plan Proposal. “The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) both slammed CMS’ proposal to expand short-term, limited duration (STLD) insurance plans, saying the proposed rule would undermine key consumer protections, lead to higher premiums in the individual market and jeopardize market stability.  The proposed rule, pushed by the Trump administration as a way to increase access to cheaper plan alternatives and sidestep the Affordable Care Act, would allow consumers to purchase plans for up to 12 months that do not adhere to federal rules for individual health insurance. STLD plans can charge those with pre-existing conditions more and may not cover ACA essential health benefits such as prescription drug coverage. The insurance lobbies argued that other policy mechanisms would be more effective at improving the individual health insurance market.” [Healthcare Div, 4/23]

Washington Times: Insurers’ Lobby Asks Trump To Curtail Short-term Insurance Plan. “Health insurers’ main lobbying group urged the Trump administration Monday to curtail its push to let Americans get around Obamacare by purchasing cheap ‘short-term’ plans for a full year, saying consumers will be left with skimpy coverage. Matt Eyles, the incoming president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, also said the plan — if it proceeds — should not be enacted until 2020, so insurers have time to plan for a reconfigured marketplace.” [Washington Times, 4/23]

Washington Examiner: Trump-Backed Short-Term Health Plans Have Big Gaps In Benefits, Analysis Finds. “Short-term health insurance plans that the Trump administration wants to expand don’t offer the same benefits of Obamacare plans, a new analysis found. A study from the health research firm Kaiser Family Foundation looked at how short-term plans cover the same benefits as Obamacare. The healthcare law requires plans sold on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges to cover 10 essential health benefits that include mental health services, prescription drug coverage, and maternity care. The Trump administration is seeking to expand the duration of the short-term plans from 90 days to nearly 12 months. These plans are cheaper than Obamacare plans because in part they do not have to cover as many benefits.” [Washington Examiner, 4/23]

Forbes: Doctors Attack Trump’s Short-Term Health Plans Ahead Of Comment Deadline. “An effort by the Trump administration to introduce cheaper short-term health insurance plans is under attack by physician groups who see the plans eliminating benefits and putting patient health at risk. The American Academy of Family Physicians and other doctor groups have unleashed detailed critiques of Trump’s effort to introduce cheaper health insurance with skimpier benefits ahead of a Monday deadline at 5 pm to provide public comments to the administration.” [Forbes, 4/22]

Vox: If You Need Prescriptions Or Maternity Care, You Won’t Like Trump’s Short-term Insurance Plans. “Short-term plans are much less likely to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment or prescription drugs — all of which must be covered by ACA plans. What is insurance, you might ask, if it doesn’t cover medications? This is also a setback for the ongoing effort to have mental health and substance abuse treated as equal to other physical health needs.” [Vox, 4/23/18]

Healthcare Dive: Report Finds Most Short-term Plans Don’t Cover Maternity, Substance Misuse Care. “A Kaiser Family Foundation report argues that recent efforts to promote short-term plans could have an adverse effect on the Affordable Care Act-compliant individual market, creating higher premiums for compliant plans and potentially leaving a greater number of people uninsured.  The expansion of short-term plans, along with the elimination of the individual mandate penalty, could also make it difficult for people who need behavioral health services and substance misuse treatment, which aren’t typically covered benefits under those plans. The Trump administration’s plans for short-term expansion would primarily impact the middle class, as lower-income people are protected from premium increases through the use of federal subsidies, KFF said.” [Healthcare Dive, 4/24]

Insurance News Net: Trump Administration Implored To Curtail Short-Term Plan. “Health insurers, patient groups and Senate Democrats implored the Trump administration Monday to curb or cancel its push to let Americans get around Obamacare by using cheaper, short-term health plans for a full year, saying the plan would destabilize the insurance markets and increase the number of uninsured… More than 100 patient-advocacy groups protested the proposal Monday, the final day to submit comments to HHS, noting the full-year plans could duck Obamacare rules requiring robust coverage or preventing insurers from denying sicker patients or charging them more than healthy ones.” [Insurance News Net, 4/24]

Modern Health Care: Insurers, Hospitals Warn Short-term Plans Aren’t The Answer. “Several health insurance and hospital associations urged HHS to spike the proposed rule to expand access to short-term, limited-duration health insurance, warning it would lead to higher premiums for Affordable Care Act-compliant plans and more uncompensated care delivered at hospitals. Meanwhile, stakeholders in the short-term insurance market encouraged HHS to finalize the proposed rule allowing the sale of short-term plans with durations of up to 12 months, saying the extension would lead to lower premiums and more options for consumers. It is clear those stakeholders would see more customers and higher revenue if the proposed rule is finalized.” [Modern Health Care, 4/23]

Washington Examiner: Healthcare Groups Plea With Trump Administration To Nix Short-Term Insurance Plan Rule.  “A wide array of doctor, insurer, and other major healthcare groups pleaded with the Trump administration to nix plans to expand short-term insurance plans… Healthcare groups say in comments to the proposed regulation, which were due Monday, the plans are no better than “junk insurance” that erode patient protections. The regulation would expand the duration of the short-term plans from 90 days to nearly 12 months.” [Washington Examiner, 4/23]

47 Senators: The Proposed Rule Will “Increase Costs And Reduce Access To Quality Coverage For Millions Of Americans, Harm People With Pre-Existing Conditions, And Force Premium Increases On Older Americans.” “If finalized, the rule could increase costs and reduce access to quality coverage for millions of Americans, harm people with pre-existing conditions, and force premium increases on older Americans. This rule expands the sale and marketing of “junk plans” that exclude basic benefits including hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and maternity care. We urge you not to finalize the proposed rule and instead work with us to ensure that all American families have choices of affordable, meaningful health care coverage.” [State of Reform, 4/23]

Trump Admin Should Listen to Overwhelming Opposition & Scrap Its Junk Plan Proposal

Washington, D.C. – As an outpouring of public opposition marked today’s junk plan proposal comment deadline, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Over the past two months, Americans have clearly rejected the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal because it would move our health care in exactly the wrong direction. We don’t want to go back to the days when insurance companies could charge more for pre-existing conditions or deny coverage altogether and when junk plans didn’t have to cover basic medical services. This rule has drawn criticism from over one hundred prominent disease groups, from the AARP, from doctors and providers, and from thousands of everyday Americans. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has confirmed that it would raise rates on the one-in-four Americans with a pre-existing condition. The Trump Administration should listen to the experts, doctors, insurance commissioners, and individual advocates who have together formed a tidal wave of opposition to junk plans, and withdraw this dangerous proposal.”

EXPERTS REJECT PROPOSAL

113 Groups Plead For Congress To Block Trump Administration’s Expansion Of Short-Term Health Plans: “While short-term plans can offer less expensive coverage, they are not required to adhere to important standards, including the ten essential health benefit categories, guaranteed issue, out-of-pocket maximums, age-rating protections, and many other critical consumer protections,” the groups, including the American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen, and Justice in Aging, said in an April 17 letter (PDF) to congressional leaders. [Fierce Healthcare, 4/18/18]

AARP Warning: Short-Term Health Plans = Higher Premiums for Older Adults: You might have thought that efforts to unravel the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were over, but newly proposed regulations and legislation are once again threatening to have similar harmful effects for older adults ages 50-64 who rely on individual market coverage. [AARP Blog, 3/21/18]

National Association of Insurance Commissioners Report: “Risk pool segmentation has the obvious effect of driving up premiums in the health plans that protect individuals from health status discrimination.” [NAIC, 3/22/18]

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Insurers could reduce or eliminate certain essential health benefits to avoid vulnerable, expensive patients by excluding specific services.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

American Medical Association: “We believe the proposed rule, however, would culminate in plans being offered that fall far short of maintaining crucial state and federal patient protections, disrupt and destabilize the individual health insurance markets, and result in substandard, inadequate health insurance coverage.” [Forbes, 4/22/18]

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP): “Because many short-term plans are offered to consumers only after submitting information about their health status or prior medical conditions, we must also recognize that short-term plans will not meet the needs of many Americans with pre-existing health conditions.” [AHIP letter, 4/20/18]

The Barrasso Bill: Less Choices, Worse Outcomes, More Repeal and Sabotage

Washington, D.C. – In response to Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) introduction of the latest Republican ACA repeal and sabotage bill, the Improving Choices in Health Care Coverage Act, which would codify the expansion of the Trump Administration’s proposed short-term, junk insurance plans, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse release the following statement:

“This legislation is nothing more than the GOP’s latest attack against Affordable Care Act, and it should be dead on arrival in the Senate. A permanent embrace of junk insurance plans would once again allow insurers to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions and re-implement lifetime caps, eliminate essential health benefits, allowing maternity care and substance abuse treatment to be denied, and leave Americans holding the bill – often running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Like the many GOP sabotage legislative efforts before it, the Barrasso bill must be rejected. Congressional Republicans should instead be work with their Democratic counterparts to come up with commonsense, bipartisan solutions which actually stabilize the marketplace and provide relief to Americans. Enough is enough – it’s time for the GOP to end their war on health care.”

Protect Our Care Supports Baldwin Bill to Stop Junk Plans

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced the introduction of the Fair Care Act, legislation which would block insurers from selling the short-term, junk insurance plans proposed by the Trump Administration. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in support:

“Senator Baldwin’s bill to stop junk plans would protect Americans from the Trump Administration’s latest attack on American health care, and the Senate should take it up and pass it immediately. Short-term plans are nothing but junk insurance, and if Trump’s rule goes through it will allow insurance companies to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, deny coverage when it is needed most, and drive up costs for real insurance by further destabilizing states’ individual insurance markets. The vast majority of leading health care experts oppose bringing back these junk plans. Millions of Americans’ health care depends on stopping this junk plan proposal, and our coalition thanks Senator Baldwin and her bill’s cosponsors for taking action to stop this sabotage.”

RESOURCES

  • Protect Our Care fact sheet on Trump’s proposed junk plan rule, which Senator Baldwin’s bill would block
  • Timeline summarizing Trump Administration health care sabotage