The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury today issued a proposed rule that would allow consumers to buy short-term health plans of up to 364-days duration, eliminating the current less-than-three-months limit on short-term plans. Short-term, limited-duration plans are not required to comply with federal requirements for individual health insurance coverage, such as essential health benefit standards. “Today’s proposed rule is a step in the wrong direction for patients and health care providers because it would allow insurers to sell products that do not constitute true ‘insurance,’” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “These products would appear cheaper to consumers, but would do so at a significant cost: by covering fewer benefits and ensuring fewer patient protections, such as coverage of pre-existing medical conditions. In addition, the expansion of these types of plans could undermine the individual market by concentrating the risk of less healthy individuals in those markets, driving up the cost of comprehensive coverage. Many vulnerable individuals who rely on the marketplaces for comprehensive coverage could be left without affordable options.”

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