Trump's short-term health plans are cheaper but cover less

The Trump administration's new regulation expanding short-term health insurance plans contains what amounts to a legal life preserver in case a key feature is struck down by a court.

This action overturns an Obama administration directive that limited such plans to 90 days.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury announced new rules Wednesday that make it easier for consumers to replace ACA insurance with these short-term policies.

President Donald Trump's plan to reshape Obamacare without repealing the law continued Wednesday, as his administration rolled out its final plan to expand the use of skinny, short-term health insurance coverage. ACAP has long opposed this ... proposal as an arbitrary and capricious effort to do a regulatory end-run around the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act. However, short-term insurers will be allowed to raise rates each year.

The Trump administration's recent freeze of payments to insurers with sicker customers is another swipe at Obamacare. We're finally taking care of our people'. The IHC Group is an organization of insurance carriers headquartered in Stamford, Conn.

Because healthy people are most likely to bolt from the exchanges, expansion of short-term plans will increase federal spending on ACA premium subsidies by $28.2 billion over 10 years, the CMS estimated. They predict about 600,000 people will enroll in a short-term plan in 2019, with 100,000 to 200,000 of those dropping ACA coverage to do so. But they may have higher out-of-pocket costs, as well as yearly or lifetime limits on coverage forbidden by the ACA. They usually exclude coverage for critical health services that consumers have come to expect their policies to cover. As Bloomberg has reported, many short-term plan enrollees have been hit with unexpected costs and denied coverage when seeking benefits. Three-quarters of respondents to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll said it is "very important" that Obamacare's rule prohibiting insurers from denying coverage due to a person's medical history remains law, while almost that many feel the same way about banning insurers from charging sick people higher rates.

Zach Klein, the city attorney for Columbus, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, told reporters Thursday that the Trump administration's cuts to ACA funding and promotion of unregulated health plans that violate the ACA will place a heavy burden on his city's resources. All have warned that consumers with bare-bones plans would be stranded when they need care - and that the defection of low-priced customers from ACA marketplaces would drive up prices for those who remain.

Those changes to Obama-era rules, and other congressional actions, are expected to impact the cost of coverage for individuals in the ACA marketplace. But that lower cost comes with another price.

But that won't matter starting in January, when the penalty will disappear as a result of a tax overhaul that the Republican-led Congress adopted late previous year. According to NBC News, 3 million fewer people had health insurance in 2017 compared to the year prior, and city-subsidized health centers in Columbus saw nearly 3,000 more uninsured patients.

Four states-Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island-essentially bar sales of short-term plans, while others, including California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota, are considering or have passed restrictions on these plans.

Federal health officials said that insurers will have to give customers notices, encouraging them to read carefully what the plans do and do not cover.

The Trump administration now says that short-term plans can last up to 12 months and be renewed for up to 36 months.

Supporters of the new rules say the short-term plans won't affect the ACA market as much as critics fear because the plans will mainly appeal to those consumers already sitting on the sidelines, or those who don't get a subsidy. What if they had the constant worry of how to pay for their insurance?

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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