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Starting this week, consumers may purchase short-term, limited-duration insurance policies that will provide coverage for up to one year.  It is important to remember that these skimpy plans were never intended to be used as long-term comprehensive health insurance. At best, they should be a stopgap for consumers who experience a temporary break in coverage. In a recent speech, even HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that “these plans aren’t for everyone, and they don’t always offer the same benefits as ACA plans.”

These junk plans “aren’t for everyone” because they are not required to abide by Affordable Care Act coverage standards. This so-called “insurance” is not required to cover essential health benefits, can deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, gender or age, and can impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage. Further, although these plans offer inadequate coverage, they have high out-of-pocket costs.

As Consumer Reports emphasized in the title of a recent report, “Short-Term Health Insurance Isn't as Cheap as You Think.”

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