HHS estimates that about 200,000 people will buy short-term policies next year and as many as 1.6 million could own them after five years.
The administration's short-term plan proposal was widely criticized by patient advocacy and hospital industry groups, saying it could leave people without coverage when they get sick. Three-quarters of respondents to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll said it is "very important" that Obamacare's rule prohibiting insurers from denying coverage due to a person's medical history remains law, while almost that many feel the same way about banning insurers from charging sick people higher rates. None covered maternity care, slightly more than one-quarter had prescription drug coverage, and slightly more than half provided mental health benefits - although such benefits typically have limits. According to a report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the policies paid out an average 55 percent of their premiums in actual health care past year.
Buyers take note: Plans will carry a disclaimer that they don't meet the ACA's requirements and safeguards. Combine this with the four million who may sign up for an association health plan under another recent Trump rule change, and the GOP may expand coverage considerably.
It also noted that the administration past year said it would halt so-called cost-sharing payments, which offset some out-of-pocket healthcare costs for low-income patients.
But that won't matter starting in January, when the penalty will disappear as a result of a tax overhaul that the Republican-led Congress adopted late previous year.
The plans, which have been available for years and were originally created to fill a temporary gap in coverage, will likely be cheaper than Obamacare policies. Critics say the plans undermine the health law.
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Short-term plans have been around for decades, meant as a stopgap for job changers, students and others who found themselves without coverage.
This is pure politics, It overlooks the nature of the plans: they are short-term plans, not for everybody (this is not the plan you would purchase if you have a pre-existing condition), and they fill a niche.
Starting in October, insurers can sell individual-market short-term health plans lasting as long as 364 days, up from 90 days, and can renew them for a maximum total duration of 36 months; insurers will decide whether to screen enrollees for medical conditions at the time of renewal.
It's unclear how much mass-market appeal such limited plans will ultimately have. As a result, people who buy such policies have risked a tax penalty that the law places on those who violate the coverage mandate.
And, for insurers, profit margins tend to be higher for short-term plans compared with ACA coverage. But they may have higher out-of-pocket costs, as well as yearly or lifetime limits on coverage forbidden by the ACA. They can also deny coverage outright based on pre-existing conditions, refuse to cover any treatment for a pre-existing condition, or find ways to rescind your policy after you've incurred a claim.
Short-term plans are also very profitable for insurers - more than one-third of the premiums people pay goes toward overhead and profit instead of paying for policyholders' health care, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Twenty GOP state attorneys general and governors filed a lawsuit that brought the constitutionality of the ACA into question in February.