New healthcare options for consumers

The Trump administration has expanded options for families struggling to find affordable health coverage.

The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury issued a new rule allowing individuals or families to utilize short-term, limited duration plans of up to 12 months, with potential for extensions up to 36 months. The Obama administration restricted these plans to three months without the option for renewal in 2016.

Short-term, limited-duration insurance is not required to comply with federal market requirements. It is largely used for those who are transitioning between different coverage options, such as those who would otherwise have a lapse in coverage when starting or transitioning to a new job, but can also be used by families without access to subsidized Obamacare plans because they make a little too much to qualify for a subsidy.

But they can’t afford the cost of health insurance.

These plans will be significantly more affordable. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the average monthly premium for an individual with a short-term plan was $124, compared to $393 for an unsubsidized plan in the exchange.

A recent report found that the number of people enrolling in the individual markets without subsidies declined by 20 percent, while premiums rose by 21 percent.

The Affordable Care Act is not working for too many Americans and it is becoming too expensive. This is a step to finding alternative healthcare coverage options for middle class citizens who are caught in the gap between not having employer-provided benefits and not qualifying for ACA subsidies.

Any steps towards a more market-based approach where we start to introduce competition, choice, and price rationale to the healthcare system is welcomed.

Brett Kittredge

Brett Kittredge is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Mississippi Center for Public Policy.