New Executive Order: Expanding Access to Short-Term Health Plans Is Bad for Consumers and the Individual Market

On October 12, 2017, President Trump signed a “very major” executive order related to health care that is “going to cover a lot of territory.” The executive order takes steps to roll back a consumer protection related to short-term health plans, in addition to allowing the sale of association health plans that are unregulated by the states and do not include many consumer protections from the Affordable Care Act. Our analysis of short-term coverage finds these plans, more often than not, discriminate against consumers with preexisting conditions and have high cost sharing and numerous exclusions that result in minimal protection.

Short-term plans are designed to fill temporary gaps in coverage. And yet, prior to 2016, some plans covered enrollees for an entire year. After becoming aware that some people were enrolling in short-term coverage as their primary coverage, instead of a comprehensive health plan, federal regulations limited short-term coverage to a duration of three months. Today’s executive order is expected to be the first step to reverse this limitation and allow short-term coverage be offered for up to an entire year again.

In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Dania Palanker, Kevin Lucia and Emily Curran assess what might be in the promised executive order and its impact on consumers and health insurance markets. You can read the full post here.