Affordable health care is here: HHS Sec. Alex Azar

Leslie Hanson
August 4, 2018

The Trump administration has finalized a rule to allow insurers to sell short-term health insurance plans for up to 12 months, a controversial move that has been criticized by the industry.

Four cities on Thursday sued President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump pastor: Trump is "the most pro-black" president I've ever seen Trump renews calls for interview with Mueller: report CNN's Acosta: Hannity is "injecting poison into the nation's political bloodstream" MORE, arguing that he is violating his constitutional duty to enforce the law by "sabotaging" ObamaCare.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar on the Trump administration's efforts to reduce health care costs for Americans and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's, (D-Calif.), criticisms of the administration's new tax cut proposal.

People who don't get insurance through their jobs will now be able to buy short-term policies that may be cheaper than Affordable Care Act coverage. "And insurance companies can deny customers coverage on these plans if they have a pre-existing medical condition and charge people more if they are likely to need medical care". A recent study looked at short-term health plans sold in the Charlotte region and found that a lot of them didn't cover benefits for prescription drugs, mental health services, or substance use disorder treatment.

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceHealthcare! "We're finally taking care of our people". "The premium baseline from which they're operating is entirely too high and unaffordable for so many people, but under President Trump we've brought stabilization there that at least is bringing some relief to individuals".

Short-term plans, if they appeal to many consumers, could also play a role. In response, Obama-era health officials in 2016 restricted the short-term policies to three months.

An Urban Institute study last winter estimated that 4.2 million people would enroll in the expanded version of short-term plans the administration had in mind.

The new rule stems from an executive order President Donald Trump signed in October aimed at boosting competition, giving consumers more choices and lowering premiums. Federal regulations for association health plans have been approved. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey of current plans found none that covered maternity and many that did not cover prescription drugs or substance abuse treatment - required under the Obama law.

"The people who benefit most from this plan are self-employed or small business owners in the individual market that were hit the hardest by the skyrocketing premiums under Obamacare", said Haislmaier.

Officials say the plans can now last up to 12 months and be renewed for up to 36 months.

Over 52 percent of counties in America have just one ObamaCare exchange, Azar said, and the rule could be an "attractive option for millions of people" without health insurance.

Major insurer UnitedHealthcare is marketing short-term plans. "These policies are not qualified health plans", Parker said, referring to insurance that meetings ACA standards. "And of course if you have any kind of pre-existing condition, or you want to have a baby or you're expecting to have serious medical needs taken care of these are not the plans for you", she says.

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. "There is a relatively small risk to the insurance company on what they would pay out relative to those plans".

Nonetheless, the CEO of a company that offers short-term plans said they're a "rational decision" for some people.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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