Trump Administration Officials Advance Misleading Short-Term Plans as Latest Attempt to Undermine the Affordable Care Act
(February 27, 2018, Chicago, IL) – This week, the Trump Administration proposed new healthcare regulations making it easier for insurance companies to deny patients healthcare coverage based on pre-existing conditions and related costs. The so-called “short-term” health plans would circumvent regulations on essential health benefits, lowering costs but also egregiously lowering the value and services plans would have to cover, leaving people with chronic medical illnesses exposed to life-threatening gaps and spiraling costs. In response, Howard Brown Health released the following statement:
“This latest attempt to chip away at the Affordable Care Act only benefits insurance companies and creates more disadvantages for patients who need lifesaving healthcare coverage,” said David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health. “Day in and day out, Howard Brown sees patients who are concerned about keeping the coverage they have – they rely on it to ensure their vital healthcare needs are met so they may continue working, paying their rent, and paying for the medications they need to live and thrive. Our elected officials should be trying to strengthen the safety net, not strip it away.”
Under the previous rules, short-term health plans were only allowed for a period of 90 days, designed as a stop-gap measure for those who needed coverage while they secured long-term insurance. Short-term plans were not subject to rules that long-term healthcare plans were required to follow, such as being prohibited from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and not charging higher premiums based on medical history. Short-term plans, which offer limited coverage at a lower cost and may include lifetime spending caps, appeal to younger, healthier people. By taking these individuals out of the long-term insurance pool, the cost of insurance for those with chronic medical conditions (the individuals who need and use long-term plans) would become more and more expensive.
Munar continued, “We must continue to fight these efforts to slowly strip away healthcare from those who rely on their insurance to see their providers. Without access to medical care, health disparities among the most vulnerable communities, including people living with HIV, aging adults, and trans and gender non-conforming people, will only continue to rise.”
Read the full proposed rules here.