It was reported this week that the Administration conditioned its support of legislation to stabilize the ACA Marketplace on it including proposals that will undermine benefits and erode coverage protections. In this latest scheme to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Administration wants any Congressional plan to stabilize the Marketplace to also expand the sale of junk insurance and raise premiums for older people – up to five times as much as what younger people pay.
Raising premiums in this manner is unacceptable and unfair. A provision of the ACA currently limits this “age band rating” to a 3:1 ratio. An AARP Public Policy Institute paper rightfully notes that “this important consumer protection ensures that older adults who are not yet eligible for Medicare have access to affordable health insurance coverage.” Unfortunately, the Administration’s proposal would take us back to the days before the ACA when older people didn’t have this protection.
Expanding the use of short-term "junk" insurance plans that don’t comply with ACA minimum-coverage rules or protections is an equally troubling proposal. Consumers who purchase these so-called insurance plans would be left without critical comprehensive coverage when they need care the most. The sale of these plans would also leave consumers who remain in the individual market, including those with pre-existing conditions, with higher costs.
Earlier this week, along with other advocacy organizations, the Center submitted comments for a proposed rule concerning Association Health Plans (AHPs). We shared concerns that the proposal would weaken the individual and small group markets that provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and increase costs and limit choice for some employers. This is just one more proposal in a long list of executive actions intended to weaken the ACA’s guaranteed consumer protections, raise costs and destabilize the market.
We call on the Administration to abandon these harmful proposals and work with Congress on a bipartisan stabilization package.
- Read the Center’s full comments on Association Health Plans at http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/center-comments-on-association-health-plans-2018