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This week, Politico reported the President as saying "I have my two Alexes [Azar and Acosta]… coming out with plans that are phenomenal plans, phenomenal plans,” and that “They’ll be out over the next four weeks [and] it's going to cover a tremendous amount of territory." The report goes on to say that “Trump specifically mentioned association health plans…” and “The Trump administration also is expected to finalize its regulations on short-term health plans.”

We have previously highlighted how destructive these types of short-term, junk plans could be to both the individual and small-group markets, and the adverse impact on older consumers and those with disabilities. The expansion of Association Health Plans would weaken important consumer protections guaranteed by the ACA. These plans would also destabilize the market and raise costs for other consumers. Under a recently proposed rule, these plans could be treated like large employer plans, which don’t have to play by the same ACA coverage rules as the individual or small group markets.

Similarly, Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance does not have to comply with ACA consumer protections. This so called “insurance” is junk coverage which offers nothing but minimal catastrophic protection for consumers. This “coverage” has high out of pocket costs, annual and lifetime limits, discriminates against individuals who need care the most, and doesn’t even cover basic health care services.

These plans are certainly not “phenomenal plans,” as touted by the President.

In a recent report showing the impact of Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance and the repeal of the individual mandate, the Center for American Progress indicates that “Estimated premium increases due to these acts of marketplace sabotage average $1,013 nationally for benchmark premiums for a 40-year-old individual.”

We urge the Administration not to move forward with efforts to unleash these plans on the ACA Marketplace that would erode coverage protections, especially for individuals with complex care needs. 

May 31, 2018 – B. Belton

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