Apr 25, 2018

ICYMI: Freedom Partners: Short-Term Health Plans Provide Alternative to Premium Hikes

Post by Freedom Partners

Freedom Partners Executive Vice President Nathan Nascimento  |  Morning Consult

Some in Washington would have us believe there is only one way to provide relief to the millions of Americans trapped between paying the high cost of Obamacare or dropping coverage altogether: Send billions of taxpayer dollars to health insurance companies.

They’re wrong. There is a better way.

Short-term plans are just what the name implies – coverage for three to 12 months, but in most cases at a much lower cost to consumers because they are only paying for services they need and no longer paying for care they don’t need.

To that end, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that would reverse an Obama administration regulation limiting to three months the amount of time individuals could be enrolled in short-term health plans.

The administration has support from Congress, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who recently introduced legislation that would codify the proposed rule into law.

An analysis by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that short-term plans are generally more affordable than ACA-compliant plans. For example, in the fourth quarter of 2016, a short-term plan was costing approximately $124 a month compared to $393 for someone who does not qualify for subsidies purchasing an ACA-compliant plan.

If lawmakers really want to help families struggling with high premiums, a better approach is working with the administration to expand short-term plans and explore other regulatory fixes to provide Americans with more choices.

Congress could also streamline the Food and Drug Administration approval process to expedite treatments and medications for the people who need them the most. Finally, lawmakers could also consider empowering states to reform Medicaid to improve health outcomes for the most disadvantaged.

Any or all of those options would be preferable to giving billions in subsidies to the insurance industry and depriving Americans of the ability to access quality health care at a price they can afford to pay.