The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a rule Tuesday that they expect will 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.
The new rule comes in direct response to an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump in October of 2017 directing HHS, the Labor Department and Treasury to find ways to increase access to more affordable health insurance.
“Americans need more choices in health insurance so they can find coverage that meets their needs,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “The status quo is failing too many Americans who face skyrocketing costs and fewer and fewer choices. The Trump Administration is taking action so individuals and families have access to quality, affordable healthcare that works for them.”
Prior to the rule going into effect, short-term insurance is not required to conform to Obamacare’s expensive mandates and typically costs much less. But, the plans could only be purchased for a term of up to 3 months. The new rule makes it possible for plans up to a year to be purchased that do not include expensive options healthcare consumers either don’t want or can’t afford.
“Americans who find themselves between jobs or simply can’t afford coverage because prices are too high will be helped by President Trump’s Healthcare for All Executive Order,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma. “In a market that is experiencing double-digit rate increases, allowing short-term, limited-duration insurance to cover longer periods gives Americans options and could be the difference between someone getting coverage or going without coverage at all.”