Trump Administration Wants To Let Insurers Offer Plans With Fewer Benefits

The Trump Administration wants to allow insurance companies to offer more policies with more limited health benefits. Also, they would give these companies the authority to reject customers for pre-existing medical conditions.

These policies would not meet the legal requirements under the Affordable Care Act, as they offer only limited coverage. The argument for the relaxed requirements is that though the plans are limited, they would allow customers who cannot afford insurance now to find cheaper plans. These limited coverage plans are meant for individuals between jobs, or going through a life-transition when they cannot afford a more comprehensive plan. 

The Trump Administration also intends to extend the terms for short term plans from three months up to a year, or more. Short term plans do not have to include the minimum essential health benefits required to be an ACA-compliant policy; such as mental health care and prescription coverage. Also, insurance companies can refuse to offer coverage to someone with a preexisting condition, or charge more money if an individual is more likely to need more care.

"The expansion of short-term health insurance plans is part of a strategy to create a parallel insurance market that does not comply with the ACA's rules," Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said on Twitter. The goal of the ACA was to ensure that everyone has access to quality health coverage without discriminating against those who have pre-existing medical conditions.

The new rules "can make these policies inexpensive, they also create plans with potentially inadequate coverage." They will also make it harder for sicker people to obtain the coverage they need, at a cost they can afford. 

The proposed rule is open for public comment for the next 60 days. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal ACA exchange, is looking for input as to how long short-term policies should last, and whether consumers will be able to renew them, essentially turning them into permanent insurance options.

You can read more by checking out the original article written by Allison Kodjak for NPR, here.