In the span of less than 12 hours this past week, the Trump administration took two seemingly contradictory actions that could have profound effects on the insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act. Health analysts say that at least one of the efforts, coupled with previous changes initiated by the administration, could help transform the insurance market to be much more like it was before the 2010 federal health law took effect — a time when regulation, coverage and consumer protections varied widely across the United States.
If you haven’t been following this weeks news, you need to be aware that this administrations inability to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is resulting in their chipping away at it one bill at a time.
In August, the administration released a rule allowing expanded use of short-term health plans, which are less expensive than ACA policies. To get those lower prices, most of these plans do not include insurance coverage for prescription drugs, maternity care, mental health or substance abuse treatments.
The move is unlikely to benefit people who have chronic health problems, because short-term plans are allowed to reject people with pre-existing conditions or decline to cover care for those medical problems.
Under the rule, insurers can sell these short-term policies (which may be sold as soon as next month) to last for up to a year’s duration, with an option to renew for up to three years. That reverses an Obama-era directive that limited the length of such policies to a maximum of 90 days.
What you can do:
• Start by learning about this week’s changes. Check out NPR’s article 2 Moves By Trump This Past Week Could Reshape U.S. Health Insurance in Big Ways
• Write/call your local and national representatives on issues that concern you.
• Work with condition specific organizations to lobby for health care changes that will make a difference.
• Run for local office and/or support someone who is running and shares your viewpoints.