Trump agrees to let insurers sell cheaper health plans than ObamaCare

Four U.S. cities sue over Trump 'sabotage' of Obamacare

Many Customers Will Welcome Short-Term, (Really) Affordable Health Insurance Plans

Under the Obama administration, such plans were limited to three months' duration.

Short-term plans are also very profitable for insurers - more than one-third of the premiums people pay goes toward overhead and profit instead of paying for policyholders' health care, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Unable to repeal much of "Obamacare", the Trump administration has tried to undercut how it's supposed to work and to create options for people who don't qualify for financial assistance with premiums.

"These policies are different from those offered on the exchange", said James Parker, a senior adviser for health reform at HHS, in a conference call with reporters.

In the months since the idea surfaced, it has elicited a wall of opposition from the health insurance industry, hospitals and patient advocacy groups.

Enrollees who get injured or sick are likely to return to the ACA's guaranteed-issue market at open enrollment and buy a plan that covers their condition, further weakening the ACA market. HHS officials have argued that the move would expand coverage choices for consumers by offering lower premium plans.

But short-term insurance clearly has fewer benefits. Both can have bigger price differences between older customers and younger ones.

"Short-term plans don't have to meet the Affordable Care Act's consumer protection and coverage requirements, so many will not cover services such as mental health care or prescription drugs". Making the plans renewable is a novel twist. It's not certain if that's going to translate into broad consumer appeal among people who need an individual policy.

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Administration officials estimate plan premiums could be half the cost of the more comprehensive ACA insurance. The cheapest short-term policy can cost only 20% of the least expensive Obamacare bronze plan in an area, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Trump administration now says that short-term plans can last up to 12 months and be renewed for up to 36 months. More short-term plans will be available starting this fall. They do not satisfy the ACA's requirement that most Americans carry health insurance. The CMS projected that 600,000 people will buy the skinny coverage next year.

But that won't matter starting in January, when the penalty will disappear as a result of a tax overhaul that the Republican-led Congress adopted late a year ago. They usually exclude coverage for critical health services that consumers have come to expect their policies to cover.

Since the administration first proposed an expansion of short-term plans, health policy researchers have been studying the potential effects - and what the existing plans are like. Three-quarters of respondents to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll said it is "very important" that Obamacare's rule prohibiting insurers from denying coverage due to a person's medical history remains law, while almost that many feel the same way about banning insurers from charging sick people higher rates.

The new rules will require insurers to include clear explanations about what is covered, and to warn consumers that they do not have an automatic right to renew their policies when they expire.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that roughly 6 million more people will eventually enroll in either an association plan or a short-term plan.

Baldwin, a member of Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said Trump has been sabotaging the health system "by undermining guaranteed health protection and access to affordable care", which has resulted in "severe instability", and notable premium spikes in Wisconsin earlier this year.

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