Biden Reverses Trump’s Expansion of ‘junk’ Health Care Plans

Washington, D.C., Health Care Plans President Joe Biden is cracking down on what the White House calls “junk health insurance plans.” These are short-term plans with less comprehensive coverage that were made more popular by the Trump administration as a cheaper alternative to Obamacare plans.

Insurance rules set out in the Affordable Care Act, for example, require plans to cover preexisting conditions. That’s not the case with short-term goals, which can deny you full coverage when people change jobs and still need temporary health coverage.

Biden Reverses Trump’s Expansion of ‘junk’ Health Care Plans

The Trump administration had argued that the short-term plans were a more affordable option that could appeal to temporary contractors and gig economy workers who don’t get health insurance through a job.

Biden announced on Friday a draft regulation that, when finalized, would limit temporary plans to four months instead of the current maximum of three years. It would also require more information on coverage limits.

Before his East Room remarks, Biden was introduced by Cory Dowd, who said he had been billed more than $37,000 for an emergency appendectomy because his short-term plan covered only a fraction of the cost.

It’s not necessarily about health care,” Biden said. It’s about being teased for an idiot.

GOP Representative Virginia Foxx, chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said Biden is picking up a consumer choice hatchet as he backs the expensive and inflexible plans offered by the Affordable Care Act.

Biden also detailed steps to make it harder for healthcare plan providers to circumvent a recent law that protects consumers from surprise medical bills and announced that the administration is looking into the growing use of medical credit cards.

In addition, Biden publicized a new federal estimate showing that 1 in 3 Medicare beneficiaries will save an average of $400 a year on prescription drugs when an out-of-pocket cap begins in 2025.

The White House says the actions build on the president’s promise to lower health care costs for millions of Americans and his fight to eliminate junk taxes, including those for banking, travel and entertainment from I live.

White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden cited the example of a Montana man stuck with a $43,000 health care bill because his insurance company said his cancer was a preexisting condition, according to an article in 2019 by the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s not real insurance,” he said. “This is junk insurance.”

Here’s what to expect:

President Joe Biden comments on his plan to protect Americans' access to affordable health care in Virginia Beach, Virginia on February 28, 2023.

Limit “junk” insurance.

The Obama administration had limited the sale of short-term plans to 90-day periods, intending to use them when people switch from one source of coverage to another, such as when they’re between jobs.

In addition to not covering preexisting conditions, short-term plans don’t have to protect other benefits required by the ACA and can limit the amount of care you pay.

But as the Trump administration looked for ways to repeal and replace the ACA, the maximum duration has been extended to three years.

The Biden administration says the plans too often leave families caught up in thousands of dollars in bills when their health care isn’t covered.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2019 that unsuccessful legislation to block Trump’s expansion would result in 1.5 million fewer people purchasing short-term plans each year. Of these, more than 500,000 would have bought comprehensive Obamacare plans, an employer would have covered a small number, and approximately 500,000 would have gone uninsured.

Under Biden’s proposed change, anyone now enrolled in a short-term plan could keep it for their original coverage limit but would be subject to the new rules when their program expired.

Restoring a tight cap on short-term plans is one of the latest pieces on Biden’s agenda to reinvigorate the ACA, according to Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at KFF, a nonpartisan health research organization.

And he tweeted it took a long time.

Close the “loopholes” to stop surprise medical bills

The bipartisan No Surprises Act that went into effect last year was meant to protect patients from unexpectedly high bills when a doctor or other provider wasn’t part of their insurer network.

But Tanden says some plans and providers were trying to circumvent the rules by changing the terms they use in their contracts to argue, for example, that a hospital isn’t technically networked.

Frankly, what they’re doing is cheating the system, he said. This is not allowed and, as our guide will describe, must stop.

No Surprises Act protections must cover healthcare services or, if considered in-network, be subject to the Affordable Care Act annual cap on how much a consumer has to pay out-of-pocket.

Investigate medical credit cards.

Administration officials have many questions about the growing use of third-party medical credit cards and loans for treatment. The cards often include teaser rates and deferred interest features that can make them more expensive, according to the White House. Also, consumers may not fully understand the terms.

A joint review by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Health and Human Services will examine how products are sold and how debt is collected.

Financial firms are partnering with healthcare professionals to promote products that can drive patients deep into debt, said Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Reduce Medicare drug costs.

While promoting new actions, Biden is also promoting savings for seniors through health care, climate change, and taxes in recent years. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, out-of-pocket costs for the Medicares prescription drug plan are capped at $2,000 annually starting in 2025.

Nearly 19 million seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries will save an average of $400 a year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The about 2 million enrollees with the highest drug costs will save an average of $2,500 annually.

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