Warnings Proposed for Short Term Health Plans
On Feb. 13, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee considered a bill to put clear consumer warnings on short-term limited-duration health plans, disclosing the risks and warning in advance that coverage may not include pre-existing conditions. These plans offer limited benefits and insurers can deny claims they deem as a symptom of a pre-existing condition. Short-term health plans are promoted by the Trump administration as low-cost alternatives to comprehensive Affordable Care Act (ACA) polices.
In testimony, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman warned lawmakers about deceptive marketing practices that steer people into short-term plans, and about the practice of post-claims underwriting in short-term plans. She cited an instance in which a Pennsylvanian was denied coverage for heart failure treatment because the insurer said he could have been diagnosed with a heart condition prior to purchasing coverage. “They’ve shown the inclination to deny coverage rather than to provide it,” Altman said.
Altman said the expanded short-term plans could disrupt the marketplace and noted her department has already suspended the licenses of some agents and brokers for misrepresenting the short-term coverage as comprehensive. “The plans are sold without consumer access to provider directories, formularies, sample coverage documents, summaries of benefits and coverage, or a uniform glossary,” Altman said.