Biden will reject Trump’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans

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The Biden administration is limiting the duration of short-term health insurance plans.



CNN

The Biden administration is cutting short-term health insurance plans, which it calls “junk insurance” that can leave patients facing huge medical bills.

The rule, which was proposed last summer as part of a series of actions aimed at lowering health care costs, limits the length of new sales of these controversial plans to three months with the option to renew for a maximum of four months in total , according to the administration. said on Thursday. It also requires plans to provide consumers with clear explanations of their benefits, which are typically weaker than Affordable Care Act policies, and inform them how to find more comprehensive coverage.

The move is the latest attempt by President Joe Biden to compare his approach to health care with that of former President Donald Trump, who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Trump extended the duration of short-term health insurance plans during his administration in an effort to weaken the Affordable Care Act.

“These junk insurance plans tricked consumers into thinking they were buying real health insurance,” White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden told reporters. “Then when people need medical care, they find that their plans limit their benefits, that their care is related to a pre-existing condition, that their care is simply not covered at all.”

“Just when you need insurance the most, you’re stuck with a giant bill. This is not real insurance, this is a scam,” she continued, noting that Trump’s policy change “really hurt consumers.”

The rule largely reverses the former president’s 2018 expansion of short-term plans, which extended the duration of the policies to just under a year and allowed them to be renewed for a total of up to 36 months. Those currently on short-term plans will see no changes to their policies.

Short-term plans do not have to adhere to Obamacare’s consumer protections. For example, they are not required to offer comprehensive coverage and may discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

The Trump administration touted them as a cheaper alternative to Affordable Care Act policies as benefit caps and a healthier pool of enrollees allow short-term plans to keep premiums lower.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act also fear that short-term plans could draw younger, healthier people away from Obamacare policies since those people are more likely to opt out of minimalist coverage. That could leave a larger share of older and sicker Americans in marketplace plans, which could drive up premiums.

In addition to the short-term health insurance rule, the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday unveiled a final rule that makes it easier for families to apply for and renew coverage in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, by standardizing those. nationwide and making it easier for eligible children and adults to stay covered. It also expanded some of the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act for Medicaid and CHIP enrollees, including eliminating annual and lifetime limits on CHIP child coverage.

Children will no longer be locked out of CHIP coverage if their families cannot pay the premiums and will no longer be subject to a waiting period for coverage. Also, the rule improves children’s transfer from Medicaid and CHIP when family income increases. And it prohibits states from conducting renewals more often than every 12 months and requiring in-person interviews for seniors and those with disabilities.

The long-awaited reduction in short-term plans is one of the latest efforts by the Biden administration to lower health care costs and crack down on windfall fees, part of its agenda aimed at helping middle- and working-class Americans.

On the campaign trail, Biden has highlighted differences in his approach to health care costs, including high drug prices.

A record number of people — more than 21 million — have signed up for 2024 coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. The expanded federal premium subsidies that congressional Democrats passed soon after Biden took office in 2021 have lured many consumers to Obamacare policies. They expire at the end of next year.

More than 45 million people in total have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act, according to the Biden administration.

Also, the president has focused on his efforts to lower drug prices, primarily through the Inflation Reduction Act, including negotiating Medicare drug prices for the first time and capping the monthly cost of insulin and annual drug spending by out of pocket for Medicare. the registrants.

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