Friday, 17 August, 2018

Many Customers Will Welcome Short-Term, (Really) Affordable Health Insurance Plans

Officials unveiled a final rule that will make it easier to obtain coverage through short-term health insurance plans which don't have to adhere to the law's consumer protections Cities Sue Trump for Violating Constitution With Latest Effort to Upend Obamacare
Gustavo Carr | 04 August, 2018, 11:40

Four cities are charging President Trump with violating Article II of the Constitution, which demands he "take care that the laws be faithfully executed", because of his latest effort to upend Obamacare.

However, Edmund F. Haislmaier, senior health policy researcher of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said people who are already sick and getting Obamacare subsidies will not be affected.

"To restore these to 364 days - as originally drafted - is exactly what we are looking for", said Jan Dubauskas, general counsel for the IHC Group, speaking before the final rule was released.

Ultimately, the complaint read, the Trump administration hopes to "deceptively shift the blame from their own actions to the Act itself" and to pressure Congress to repeal the ACA or to achieve a de facto repeal through executive action.

President Trump is delivering on his promise to provide affordable health insurance to Americans, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told FOX Business.

"We make no representation that it's equivalent coverage", Parker said.

Most exclude benefits for maternity care, preventive care, mental health services or substance abuse treatment. That would allow insurers to keep marketing the plans, instead of throwing the entire regulation into doubt. "They are not going to cover anything related to a pre-existing condition".

The real fear of critics of these plans is that they will give people an option other than the Affordable Care Act exchanges-and, if there is such an option, people will use it and harm the exchanges.

Some in the industry say they're developing "next generation" short-term plans that will be more responsive to consumer needs, with pros and cons clearly spelled out.

Azar said the new plans are tailor-made for the 'gig economy'. "President Trump is bringing more affordable insurance options back to the market, including through allowing the renewal of short-term plans".

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The lawsuit cited several actions Trump's administration has taken to undercut Obamacare. A standard silver plan under the Obama law now averages $481 a month for a 40-year-old nonsmoker.

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

Brokers will likely be pushing the plans, as they often pay higher commissions than do ACA plans.

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

Smedsrud said most plans restrict coverage for those who have sought treatment for a pre-existing condition over the past five years.

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

"Congress, the Administration, and the states should work to stabilize the individual market - not simply create a parallel market that works only for healthy people", wrote the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a national federation of 36 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. Such plans can be offered across state lines and are also designed for self-employed people.

The administration expects premiums for Obamacare plans to increase by 1% next year and by 5% in 2021 because of the shifts.

About 20 million are covered under the Obama law, combining its Medicaid expansion and subsidized private insurance for those who qualify.