The Trump administration announced this week it will rewrite rules to extend the time consumers can rely on short-term health plans to a year at a time.
These short-term plans, which were intended to be a solution for people between jobs, do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s benefits requirements and can deny coverage or charge more to individuals who are in poor health.
“It’s one step in the direction of providing Americans with health insurance options that are both more affordable and more individualized for families’ circumstances,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar.
The directive to rewrite the rules for short-term plans follows another executive action issued by the Trump administration last fall to strengthen association health plans (AHPs) as a means of expanding affordable coverage options for small businesses and the self-employed.
The Department of Labor is currently accepting public comments on its proposed rules for AHPs until March 6. ASAE has already submitted comments, which focus on what types of organizations should qualify as an “employer” for the purposes of establishing an AHP (and who could participate in these AHPs), as well as the complexities associated with state regulation of AHPs. Importantly, the DOL’s proposed rule released last month would not preempt any current state regulations. Because the laws vary from state to state, AHP formation would be challenging without addressing state regulation, ASAE said. Interested groups can submit their own comments electronically at www.regulations.gov by referencing the Regulatory Identifier Number RIN 1210-AB85.