GOP lawmakers ask Trump to trash short-term health plan limits

By August 21, 2017Health Reform
Problem SolvedBy Virgil Dickson  | June 9, 2017

Republican lawmakers have asked the Trump administration to scrap a rule that limits the length a person can stay on a short-term health plan.

In a letter sent Thursday to HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price, 14 senators claimed people needed more coverage options as insurers exit Affordable Care Act exchanges.

“We must consider solutions that will increase consumer choice in the healthcare markets and, ultimately, decrease healthcare costs,” the senators said in a joint statement. “As health insurers continue to leave the Obamacare exchanges, consumers need more, not fewer, options for health insurance. Reversing this regulation will provide consumers with an important option for health coverage.”

The Obama administration first proposed the rule in June 2016 to prevent people from staying on short-term health plans for more than three months. The administration hoped the cap would encourage healthy people to use the exchanges to find long-term health coverage.

Short-term health plans are designed to fill only very short coverage gaps and do not meet the ACA’s requirements. Although premiums can be cheaper for short-term plans, they can factor in the patient’s health condition, discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions and the plans often don’t offer prescription benefits.

HealthMarkets, a private insurance agency, reported that short-term sales in 2015 were about 150% higher than in 2013. Insurers had started selling short-term plans as primary health coverage by allowing consumers to continually renew their plans.