Prevent the Sale of Junk Health Insurance Policies - Senate Vote FAILED
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UPDATE (10/30/19): S.J.Res.52 has failed in the Senate with a 43 to 52 vote.
Although Republicans failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) outright in 2017, they continue to pursue policies which erode insurance access and drive up premium costs. For example, the Trump administration has proposed regulations to allow consumers to purchase short-term insurance plans as a replacement for bona fide insurance coverage.
Short-term insurance plans are not subject to ACA regulations, so they can discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, decline to cover essential services like hospitalizations, and charge exorbitant deductibles. However, these plans’ premiums are cheaper, making them attractive to healthy consumers. For example, a short-term plan for a non-smoking woman in DC would have a premium of about $100 a month, but a deductible of $10,000 and no prescription drug coverage. Because these plans offer substandard coverage, put consumers at risk of medical bankruptcy, and encourage healthy people to exit the individual insurance market, the Obama administration limited the duration of short-term plans to three months. However, the Trump administration plans to let people purchase this coverage for up to 364 days, with the option to extend coverage for a maximum of 3 years. This move not only endangers consumers, who often don’t realize they’re purchasing junk coverage, but also leaves behind a relatively sicker and older pool of consumers purchasing insurance on the individual market. The exodus of healthy consumers from the individual market increases premiums for those still buying ACA-compliant coverage.
In the face of Republicans’ ongoing sabotage, states must prohibit the sale of substandard, non-ACA compliant plans in their state to protect their constituents’ access to healthcare and encourage healthy people to purchase adequate insurance.