Trump Administration works to give relief to Americans facing high premiums, fewer choices

Feb. 21, 2018

In direct response to President Trump’s October 2017 Executive Order, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury (the Departments) issued a proposed rule that is intended to increase competition, choice, and access to lower-cost healthcare options for Americans.

The rule proposes to expand the availability of short-term, limited-duration health insurance by allowing consumers to buy plans providing coverage for any period of less than 12 months, rather than the current maximum period of less than three months. The proposed rule, if finalized, will provide additional options to Americans who cannot afford to pay the costs of soaring healthcare premiums or do not have access to healthcare choices that meet their needs under current law.

Short-term, limited-duration insurance, which is not required to comply with federal requirements for individual health insurance coverage, is designed to provide temporary coverage for individuals transitioning between healthcare policies, such as an individual in between jobs, or a student taking a semester off from school. Access to these plans has become increasingly important as premiums have more than doubled between 2013 and 2017 in health plans on the Federal Health Insurance Exchange. And half of the counties in America have only one insurance carrier to choose from.

The Departments published a final rule in 2016, which restricted short-term, limited-duration insurance to less than three months. Key stakeholders, including state regulators, have expressed concerns that the current limit could cause harm to some consumers, limit consumer options, and have little positive impact on the risk pools in the long run. The proposed rule would address these concerns by reverting to the previous definition of short-term, limited-duration insurance which permits coverage for nearly a full 12 months.

CMS announcement

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