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

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

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

"For many who've got pre-existing conditions or who have other health worries, the Obamacare plans might be right for them", Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday.

Proponents of short-term plans say they provide a fallback option for healthy people who make too much money to get subsidized coverage under Obama's health law.

"These policies are different from those offered on the exchange", said James Parker, a senior adviser for health reform at HHS, in a conference call with reporters.

The Trump administration is clearing the way for insurers to sell short-term health plans as a bargain alternative to pricey "Obamacare" for consumers struggling with high premiums. But that's because they are allowed to exclude those with pre-existing conditions and base rates on an applicant's medical history, unlike Obamacare plans.

Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, said in a prepared statement, "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".

The Trump administration estimates that 200,000 Obamacare enrollees will move to short-term plans next year. Ever since failing to totally repeal Obamacare, the Trump administration along with Republicans have taken steps to make it increasingly hard for the Affordable Care Act to function and to be affordable. The IHC Group is an organization of insurance carriers headquartered in Stamford, Conn.

Schumer said Democrats will introduce a resolution to rescind the rule using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to revoke an administration regulation with a simple majority any time up to 60 legislative days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Under the Trump administration's rule, these short-term plans will be renewable for up to three years. They include more than 210,000 in Oregon. These plans won't have to cover as many medical services and are exempt from covering people with pre-existing conditions. The plans have been a priority of President Trump, who says he wants consumers to have access to cheaper health insurance. 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. Short-term, limited-duration health plans are not considered "health insurance" under federal law, and as a result, they do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act. This will make short-term health plans easier and more affordable for patients to access, HHS says.

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"We continue to see a crisis of affordability in the individual insurance market, especially for those who don't qualify for large subsidies", noted CMS Administrator Seema Verma. According to a report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the policies paid out an average 55 percent of their premiums in actual health care previous year. But that lower cost comes with another price. "This final rule opens the door to new, more affordable coverage options for millions of middle-class Americans who have been priced out of ACA plans". The tax bill approved a year ago by Congress stops this financial penalty as of 2019.

As younger, healthier people opt out of ACA markets, premiums will rise for people buying ACA-regulated plans.

Short-term plans have been around for decades, meant as a stopgap for job changers, students and others who found themselves without coverage.

Short-term plans have also been a source of headaches for enrollees.

Officials hope the plans will appeal to people ineligible for income-based subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The Administration predicts some 600,000 people will sign up next year, roughly 100,000 of whom were previously uninsured.

The plans, which have been available for years and were originally created to fill a temporary gap in coverage, will likely be cheaper than Obamacare policies. The plans have limits on coverage.

The ACA required individual plans sold on and off the marketplace to cover a group of set benefits such as emergency, maternity and mental health care.

Some in the industry say they're developing "next generation" short-term plans that will be more responsive to consumer needs, with pros and cons clearly spelled out.

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