Short-Term Plans Green Lit by Trump Administration Jeopardize Protections for People with Preexisting Conditions and Gut Additional Consumer Protections in the Affordable Care Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 1, 2018

Contact: Jack Cardinal, 781.960.5208

(BOSTON, MA)Statement of Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst, in response to the Trump administration’s approval of a federal rule that will allow insurance companies to skirt Affordable Care Act provisions that prevent insurance companies from selling short-term plans lacking comprehensive coverage.

“Today, the Trump administration continued efforts to enact policies that drive up the cost of care and undermine consumer protections with a federal rule to expand short-term health plans. These short-term plans have the power to skirt the most important protections the Affordable Care Act (ACA) put in place to prevent people living with preexisting conditions, women and older adults from discrimination in pricing and coverage options.

“The decision of the administration means insurers may now exclude coverage of preexisting conditions, omit core benefits such as maternity services and prescription drugs, and charge far higher out-of-pocket costs to people who get sick. These plans are a step backward into a life of instability and uncertainty for those living with preexisting conditions like cancer, heart disease, asthma or diabetes.

“Additionally, this rule will make it that much harder on anyone who wants access to comprehensive health coverage in the individual market now or in the future. The decision to expand this type of junk insurance carves a pathway for insurance companies to offer short-term plans as an alternative to more comprehensive coverage sold on the ACA’s marketplaces. Encouraging the spread of short-term plans creates an uneven playing field in which older, less healthy patients are forced to pay more for less – or risk foregoing health coverage altogether – while people who purchase this junk insurance will find the coverage woefully inadequate when they face an illness or injury.

“We cannot continue this ideologically driven march backwards on health care to a time when care was unaffordable to those who need it most and families were one illness away from personal and financial ruin. The Trump administration’s decision to undermine consumer protections runs directly counter to what we know the public wants. This rule does nothing to address the affordability of health care and will instead create an uneven playing field for people living with preexisting conditions, women and older adults.”

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About Community Catalyst

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

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