Proposed rule would lengthen duration of short-term health plans

February 23 2018|Publication: eNews Update

The Trump administration this week proposed a rule allowing consumers to purchase short-term health plans, circumventing the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits requirements, the Washington Post reported. The departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and of the Treasury issued the proposed rule, which would extend the amount of time non-compliant plans could be used from three months to 364 days. The proposal is intended to provide consumers who have been priced out of the market affordable coverage options, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma told reporters. But critics argued short-term plans could destabilize the individual insurance market by encouraging healthier people to choose the cheaper plans. “Today’s proposed rule is a step in the wrong direction for patients and health care providers because it would allow insurers to sell products that do not constitute true ‘insurance,'” American Hospital Association (AHA) President and CEO Rick Pollack said. “These products would appear cheaper to consumers, but would do so at a significant cost: by covering fewer benefits and ensuring fewer patient protections, such as coverage of pre-existing medical conditions.” The proposed rule is open for public comment for 60 days and could be made final this spring.