Federal Proposal Could Make It Easier To Get Short-Term Health Insurance

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Last month, the Department of Labor issued a proposed rule that would shift regulations surrounding association health plans.

Proposed regulations from the administration would allow health insurers to sell individual consumers so-called "short-term" policies that can last up to 12 months, have fewer benefits, and lower premiums.

At a press briefing later, he added that the plans might be especially attractive for people who are between jobs, or who aren't eligible for Obamacare subsidies and live in areas with few affordable options.

Supporters said the rules are needed because the ACA plans have already become too costly for people who don't receive a government subsidy to help them purchase the coverage.

Short-term plans have continued to be available since the ACA was passed. By contrast, he said, short-term health plans are available with $1,000 deductibles. As a result, the proposed rule also noted that some people who switch to them from ACA coverage may see "reduced access to some services", and "increased out of pocket costs, possibly leading to financial hardship".

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CMS Administrator Seema Verma repeated the Trump administration's view that the current system of healthcare is "failing". "This is one step in the direction of providing Americans health insurance options that are more affordable and more suitable to individual and family circumstances". This would've meant buyers would be responsible to paying the penalty for violating the ACA's individual mandate, but that penalty won't exist after this year thanks to a provision in the tax cut legislation passed late in 2017.

Trump administration officials billed the proposed new regulations as a step to make health insurance more affordable.

"While some are critical of this fact, this also provides a much more affordable option for people in need".

One group that will be happy is insurance brokers, according to Kaiser Health News, because they often pay higher commissions than ACA plans.

"The consumers who buy these plans won't be the only ones harmed by the Trump administration rule". On a conference call with reporters, they repeatedly said that many consumers had only one choice of insurer in their Obamacare market and that premiums had skyrocketed since the exchanges opened in 2014. "I just don't believe in premature opinions on complex topics of serious weighty matters", he said. The federal government will pick up the tab for these people, and this will cost taxpayers $96 to $168 million more every year - a figure based on a conservative estimate of the number of people who will flee. "States will have the responsibility for making sure these policies benefit consumers". The requirement that most Americans have coverage has been repealed, effective next year.

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"The status quo is failing too many Americans who face skyrocketing costs and fewer and fewer choices", Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

However, critics of the proposed rule heartily disagreed.

The Trump administration on Tuesday laid out its plan to allow yearlong health insurance coverage that is skimpier, noncompliant with Obamacare standards - and far less expensive.

"While we are reviewing the proposed rule to understand its impact on the people we serve, we remain concerned that expanded use of short-term policies could further fragment the individual market, which would lead to higher premiums for many consumers, particularly those with pre-existing conditions", said Kristine Grow, spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans.

Eagan Kemp, a healthcare policy advocate for Public Citizen's Congress Watch Division, said the new rule would allow "unethical insurers to offer false promises that place consumers at risk". The plans do not need to cover the law's 10 essential benefits, like maternity care, and policyholders can impose lifetime or annual limits, which cap covered benefits. But those who actually need care could find themselves having to pay more out of pocket for treatment and medications.

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