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Patient groups urge court to reject rule weakening health insurance standards

​Short-term insurance rule could leave many uninsured or underinsured

Patient groups representing millions of people with serious health conditions are urging a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reject a federal rule expanding the availability of short-term limited-duration (STLD) insurance plans. The Court is scheduled to hear arguments today, March 20.

STLD plans are exempt from having to cover essential health benefits, like prescription drugs and hospitalization, and can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The groups, which include the ACS CAN, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Hemophilia Federation of America, March of Dimes, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, argue the rule effectively allows STLD plans to serve as replacements for comprehensive coverage in violation of current law.

A statement from the groups follows:

“Rarely has the need for comprehensive health care coverage been clearer than it is today, yet the expansion of short-term limited-duration insurance plans threatens to erode patient access to meaningful coverage and put others at risk with inadequate insurance plans.

“Increased access to short-term plans jeopardizes the individual insurance market by dividing it between younger and healthier people, who are drawn to these barebones plans, and people with pre-existing conditions and older individuals who are forced to pay more for comprehensive plans or forgo insurance all together.

“Because short-term plans can exclude or charge people more based on their health status, patients with pre-existing conditions could face insurmountable premiums for the ACA-compliant plans. Meanwhile, those who enroll in short-term plans could face devastating bills should they become unexpectedly ill, including from COVID-19, and require services like hospitalization, which these plans often do not cover.

“Considering the overwhelming risk to patients and the demonstrable problems with these short-term plans, we urge the Court to strike down this rule and uphold the critical coverage standards under current law.”


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