Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Donald Trump's cheaper short-term health plans have coverage gaps

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Delores Daniels | 04 August, 2018, 09:52

There has been a huge and utterly predictable outcry over the Trump administration's move to ensure that cheaper health insurance policies are available to the appropriate customers. Four cities collectively filed a lawsuit Thursday against Trump over "waging a relentless campaign to sabotage and, ultimately, to nullify" the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Next year, there will be no tax penalty for someone who opts for short-term coverage versus a comprehensive plan, so more people might consider the option.

These plans can vary premiums based on age, gender, health status, and medical history. They can include dollar limits on coverage, and there's no guarantee of renewal. "When people buy them, they are always going to be disappointed".

Short-term insurance policies go further than the association health plans in the ways they are exempt from parts of the 2010 health-care law that are meant to protect consumers from shoddy insurance that disadvantages consumers who need it most. These plans won't have to cover as many medical services and are exempt from covering people with pre-existing conditions.

Short-term insurance has fewer benefits.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury announced new rules Wednesday that make it easier for consumers to replace ACA insurance with these short-term policies. Asa result, any enrollee who develops a terminal or chronic condition or who has a premature child is left unprotected from catastrophic costs.

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"We fully recognize that these products are not necessarily for everyone, but we do think they will provide an affordable option to many, many people who've been priced out of the current market under the Obamacare regulations", said Randy Pate, a deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "We're finally taking care of our people".

"The insurance company will ask you a series of questions about your health", Moriello said.

Azar said the new plans are tailor-made for the 'gig economy'.

Administration officials said that the plans will contain notices urging consumers to read their policies carefully so they are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions or health benefits, such as hospitalization, preventative care or prescription drugs. "There is a relatively small risk to the insurance company on what they would pay out relative to those plans".

The administration's short-term plan proposal was widely criticized by patient advocacy and hospital industry groups, saying it could leave people without coverage when they get sick.

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McKenna said Wednesday the government heard from companies that the initial plan as announced last winter was too onerous. Even with the change, Saskatchewan's stance remains the same.

"It's a way better alternative to not being insured", said Jeff Smedsrud of Pivot Health. "And of course if you have any kind of pre-existing condition, or you want to have a baby or you're expecting to have serious medical needs taken care of these are not the plans for you", she says.

Nonetheless, the CEO of a company that offers short-term plans said they're a "rational decision" for some people.

Short-term plans join "association health plans" for small businesses as the administration promotes lower-cost health care options that cover less.

HHS estimates that about 200,000 people will buy short-term policies next year and as many as 1.6 million could own them after five years. Such plans can be offered across state lines and are also designed for self-employed people.

Just over 14 million people are enrolled in ACA plans this year.

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But a recent Kaiser Foundation analysis found turmoil in the unsubsidized market after two years of double-digit premium increases forced many consumers to drop out or seek other coverage.

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