Earlier this year, the Trump Administration finalized a rule expanding short-term limited-duration health plans. As a reminder, these health plans do not have to comply with many of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) patient protections — they can exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, impose lifetime limits, and do not have to cover all the benefits included in traditional ACA plans.
Prior to this new rule, individuals were permitted to purchase these plans for up to three months as a stopgap due to a change in employment or other life event. Under the newly finalized rule, these plans are permitted for up to twelve months and they can be renewed or extended for up to three years.
This is likely to pull young, healthy people out of the insurance marketplace, further destabilizing the market and making it more expensive for those who remain — including cancer patients. Additionally, should an individual be diagnosed with cancer while they are on a short-term limited-duration plan, it will not cover the level of care that they would need.
In early October, a group of Democratic Senators forced a vote on legislation that would roll back the Administration’s final rule. Unfortunately, the bill failed on the Senate floor, receiving just 50 votes (and needing 51 to pass).
But this is not the end of the road. A lawsuit has been filed by a coalition of consumer advocates and safety net health plans arguing that the rule is inconsistent with the Affordable Care Act and therefore should be found invalid. The court began to hear oral arguments on the case on October 26th.
Additionally, states are taking action. Individual states have the authority to regulate short-term limited-duration health plans and can put in place additional rules and protections. Some states are even going as far as banning these plans altogether.
There are a lot of moving pieces, but Fight CRC will continue to monitor and keep you updated on ways to be engaged. Stay tuned!
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