Azar Announces Proposal To Allow Expanded Access To Short-Term Plans That Do Not Comply With ACA Rules.

February 21, 2018



The Washington Post  (2/20, Goldstein) reports that on Tuesday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Trump Administration wants “to significantly broaden Americans’ ability to rely on short-term health plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act’s benefits requirements and consumer protections.” This change would allow consumers to purchase such plans for up to 12 months, instead of the current three.

        The New York Times  (2/20, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that this proposal was “another swipe” at the ACA, and says that it “would make it much easier for consumers to buy less expensive health insurance policies that do not comply with coverage requirements of the law.”

        USA Today  (2/20, O'Donnell) reports that HHS “said the rule would help people who have been struggling with high premiums” for “plans many see as overly generous. Some women who are no longer of child bearing age, for example, say they shouldn’t have to buy insurance that covers birth control and maternity care.” The article says insurers and consumer advocates “were quick to caution about the downsides, however.” They warned that the new plans “could deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, generally cover few benefits and can cap the benefits provided.”

        CNN Money  (2/20, Luhby) reports that the type of plans being proposed, “which have been available for years and were originally designed to fill a temporary gap in coverage, are likely to be cheaper than” ACA policies. However, “that’s because they are allowed to exclude those with pre-existing conditions and base rates on an applicant’s medical history, unlike plans sold on the” ACA exchanges.

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