People Between Jobs Will Soon Find The Health Insurance Market Less Costly, Thanks To Trump Administration Deregulation

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

People between jobs and who need gap health insurance coverage will find an increasingly consumer-friendly market for short-term health insurance plans when a Trump administration rule allowing states more power to regulate the plans goes into effect on Oct. 2.

“As more carriers participate in the market, benefits begin to get more robust and products are more competitively priced,” AgileHealthInsurance.com founder and CEO Bruce Telkamp told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the Obama administration regulations, which went into effect in April 2017 and limited short-term health insurance plans to three months on Feb. 20.

Companies like AgileHealthInsurance.com will be able to sell short-term health insurance plans, also known as short-term medical (STM) plans, which last for up to a year in states that allow it. Consumers can also renew the plans twice for coverage that lasts up to three years under the new rule.

“The average period of unemployment in the U.S. is six months, and short-term plans really have the best offering for consumers … who lose a job,” Telkamp told TheDCNF. “Otherwise, they go uninsured. So the tradeoff isn’t Obamacare versus STM where STM is somehow going to be siphoning significant enrollments out of Obamacare. Rather, the tradeoff is uninsured versus STM.”

Many unemployed consumers turn to STM plans, which are low-cost but have less benefits. An unsubsidized 30-year-old would have to pay a nationwide average of $311 a month for bronze plan coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2017, compared to the “average short-term premium” of $79 a month in 2017.

STM plans are not required to cover things like maternity or mental health costs or substance abuse therapy, reported the Associated Press.

The new Trump administration rule also gives power back to the states, Telkamp told TheDCNF.

“The other problem with the … Obama-era rule is it really didn’t respect state regulations,” Telkamp told TheDCNF. “Every state is a unique market for insurance.”

More change is needed in the health care sector, Telkamp said. (RELATED: Democratic Senate Candidate Vows To Fight Her State’s Rising Health Care Costs She Helped Create)

“The bigger picture from a market standpoint is that there needs to be other broader market reform,” Telkamp told TheDCNF. “The solution here isn’t short-term plans … That’s not a long-term, forever solution.”

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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