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Proposed health plan rule likely to leave patients with insufficient coverage at higher costs

As directed by the President’s executive order, the Department of Labor issued proposed rules on Jan. 4 governing the expansion of association health plans (AHP).

A statement from Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

“While the proposed rule released today allows for the sale of additional insurance products, past experience has shown that these products would weaken patient protections and potentially divide the individual insurance market.  

“The proposed rule would allow AHPs to offer insurance coverage that would likely have lower premiums because these products would cover fewer benefits, and be exempt from many of the patient protections provided under current law. This will likely split the health insurance market because these products would be attractive to younger and healthier individuals. As a result, those with serious health conditions like cancer would be left paying ever-increasing premiums for comprehensive coverage.

“The rule proposed today will almost certainly result in more people facing financial distress when an unexpected health crisis happens and they discover their AHP coverage is inadequate.

“Cancer patients and survivors need access to high quality affordable insurance that provides comprehensive coverage. ACS CAN will raise concerns with policymakers through the public comment period to protect patients from the risk and consequences of a divided and potentially problematic insurance market.”

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