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ICYMI: Expanding maximum duration of short-term plans expands freedom, choice for consumers 

Aug 13, 2018 by AFP

Americans for Prosperity Policy Manager David Barnes | The Hill

Before last week, Americans without employer-sponsored coverage seeking quality, affordable health insurance were caught between paying continually escalating ObamaCare premiums for one-size-fits-all plans that ignored their unique needs, or foregoing coverage altogether.

Now, thanks to the Trump administration’s final rule on short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans, millions of Americans no longer have to make that difficult choice. …

STLD plans are an affordable alternative to ObamaCare plans, which are costly and volatile. ObamaCare requires users to purchase coverage stuffed with “essential health benefits” that were mandated to be a part of these plans regardless of the consumer’s needs. This top-down approach to health care caused premiums to skyrocket from 2017 to 2018, in some cases by as much as 17 percent for family coverage. In contrast, STLD plans allow families to customize their health care and purchase the benefit coverage that works for them. As a result, premiums for STLD plans are 50 to 80 percent lower than ObamaCare’s. …

Additionally, the insurance carriers left on ObamaCare’s decimated exchanges offer narrow networks of coverage. Many quality doctors and top hospitals don’t accept current ObamaCare plans, but they do take STLD plans – giving patients greater access to more of the best health care providers in the country.

Opponents of the rule argue these plans will leave people in the lurch if they develop a high-cost medical condition, and that’s why they’re doing people a favor by trapping them on exchanges. But as exchanges become dominated by Medicaid-type policies, those worried about developing a serious condition would actually want to be in an off-exchange, STLD plan with access to top providers.

The Trump administration’s final rule expands these benefits of STLD plans to an even greater number of people. By extending the allowed coverage period from three months to 12 – and greenlighting the option for consumers to renew these plans for up to 36 months – an estimated 1.4 million Americans will take advantage of these short-term plans. …

In making its ruling, the administration has reintroduced freedom and greater choice into the health care market. This can only benefit consumers trapped in rigid, expensive ObamaCare plans. Now they have access to a competitive STLD market offering a wider variety of flexible plans, at a price that’s within reach for everyday American families.

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