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Great Seal of the State of Idaho

C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER
GOVERNOR

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2018
18:012

CONTACT: Jon Hanian
(208) 334-2100

 

 

 

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SUPPORTS IDAHO-STYLE CHOICES FOR HEALTHCARE COVERAGE

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter welcomed today’s proposal from the Trump administration to extend from three months to 12 months the length of allowed short-term health insurance plans, which could fill a need similar to the plans Idaho insurers can offer under the Governor’s groundbreaking January 5 Executive Order.

“Lieutenant Governor Little, the Idaho Department of Insurance and I based our plan in part on President Trump’s October 2017 Executive Order directing federal agencies to provide as much flexibility as possible to states seeking innovative ways to reduce costs and improve access to health care. Today’s action supports Idaho’s direction and reinforces our commitment to charting our own path toward more affordable coverage for the people of Idaho,” Governor Otter said. “I appreciate the Trump administration stepping up in support of commonsense state solutions.”

The White House said in a press release that today’s proposed rule from the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury is intended to increase competition, choice, and access to lower-cost healthcare options for Americans. If finalized, the proposed rule 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.

Idaho’s state-based plans – consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order and guidelines developed by Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron and his team – go beyond short-term coverage alone to include guaranteed approval and renewability of transition plans while providing costs well below those of ACA plans without bifurcating the ACA risk pool.

“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.”

Short-term, limited-duration insurance, which is not required to comply with Obamacare requirements for individual health insurance coverage, is designed to provide temporary coverage for individuals transitioning between healthcare policies. Access to these plans has become increasingly important as premiums have more than doubled - PDF between 2013 and 2017 for individual market health plans, and half of the counties in America have only one insurance carrier from which to choose.

“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.”

Today’s announcement builds on the President’s October 2017 Executive Order 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” which directs federal agencies to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance to expand the availability of short-term, limited-duration insurance and allow it to cover longer periods.

Key stakeholders, including state regulators, have expressed concerns that the current limit could cause harm to some consumers, limit consumer options, and have little positive impact on the risk pools in the long run. Today’s proposed rule would address these concerns by reverting to the previous definition of short-term, limited-duration insurance which permits coverage for nearly a full 12 months.

A fact sheet on today’s proposed rule can be found here:  https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2018-Fact-sheets-items/2018-02-20.html.

The link to the proposed rule can be found here:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/02/21/2018-03208/short-term-limited-duration-insurance

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