States are taking the lead in fighting back against #ShortAssPlans
Over at The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel has a great roundup of some of the actions various states are taking to counteract Donald Trump's potentially illegal sabotage of the Affordable Care Act:
The Department of Health and Human Services is urging states to cooperate with the federal government, but instead, insurance commissioners are panning the new plans as "junk” insurance and state legislatures are putting restrictions on their sales.
State insurance officials argue that, despite being less expensive than ObamaCare plans, the short-term plans are bad for consumers and aren't an adequate substitute for comprehensive insurance.
“These policies are substandard, don’t cover essential health benefits, and consumers at a minimum don’t understand [what they’re buying], and at worse are misled,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) said.
States also fear the availability of short-term plans will drive up premium costs for ObamaCare.
...But the tradeoff is that people with pre-existing conditions can be charged more. In addition, the plans to do not have to comply with ObamaCare mandates for covering certain services, such as mental health treatment, maternity care or prescription drugs.
...California currently only allows short-term plans to last for 185 days, with an option to renew for another 185 days only. The Democratic-dominated state legislature is poised to pass a bill that would ban the sale of short-term insurance plans outright.
Lawmakers in Hawaii passed a law that would essentially eliminate the state’s short-term health plan market by prohibiting their sale to anyone who is eligible for a plan on the ObamaCare exchange.
In Maryland, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in April signed a bill that limits short-term plans to three months and prohibits their renewal.
Mike Kreidler, Washington state’s Democratic insurance commissioner, said his office is in the process of writing new rules that would limit coverage to three months, without the ability to renew the plan. There would also be strong transparency requirements.
...In Pennsylvania, Altman said she has already revoked the licenses of eight brokers or agents who had been misrepresenting short-term plans.
Even in a conservative state like Tennessee, insurance commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said she is concerned about whether consumers will fully understand the plans they buy.
Back in February, the Commonwealth Fund wrote up an explainer of what the regulatory status for short-term plans is in several states, while the Urban Institute ran their own state-level analysis. Here's a reprint of their list with revisions to show more recent developments since they originally posted their analyses. I may be missing a few here and there; feel free to let me know!