Administration Push for Alternative Coverage Options Will Mean Higher Marketplace Premiums and Fewer Consumer Protections

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<p>The Trump administration’s proposed regulations encouraging the sale of inexpensive, bare-bones health plans that do not comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefit requirements or consumer protections could siphon healthy enrollees from the insurance marketplaces, leaving them with a smaller, sicker group of enrollees. And this could mean higher premiums and fewer plan options for people remaining in the individual market.</p><p>A new Commonwealth Fund report by Kevin Lucia and colleagues at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute examines these “alternative coverage arrangements” — including short-term plans, association health plans, and health care sharing ministries — and the actions states have taken to regulate them.</p>
<p>While low upfront costs may make them appealing to healthy consumers, these alternative plans often cover fewer services and expose people to high out-of-pocket costs when they get sick, the report finds. Moreover, because the plans don’t have to meet many – or, sometimes, any – of the ACA’s federal consumer protections, more consumers are likely to be exposed to financial risk and fraud. </p>
<p>The authors say states have broad authority to regulate alternative coverage options. But so far only a handful have taken steps to limit the availability non-ACA-compliant plans and protect their marketplaces.</p> Read the report