Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market Under Trump

Zeke Faux, Polly Mosendz and John Tozzi, writing for Bloomberg Businessweek:

On her way out, Marisia gave the billing clerk David’s health insurance card. It looked like any other, listing a copay of $30 for doctor visits and $50 for “wellness.” She’d bought the plan a year earlier from a company called Health Insurance Innovations Inc., with the understanding that it would be comprehensive. She hadn’t noticed a phrase near the top of the card, though: “Short-Term Medical Insurance.”

The Diazes’ plan was nothing like the ones consumers have come to expect under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which bars insurers from capping coverage, canceling it retroactively, or turning away people with preexisting conditions. But the law includes an exemption for short-term plans that serve as a stopgap for people between jobs. The Trump administration, thwarted in its attempts to overturn the ACA, has widened that loophole by stretching the definition of “short-term” from three months to a year, with the option of renewing for as long as three years.

Fewer than 100,000 people had such plans at the end of last year, according to state insurance regulators, but the Trump administration says that number will jump by 600,000 in 2019 as a result of the changes. Some brokers are taking advantage, selling plans so skimpy that they offer no meaningful coverage.

The Diazes were billed nearly $250,000 for care after David’s heart attack because these short-term plans cover essentially nothing, yet aren’t any cheaper than the better plans available on the healthcare insurance exchanges. It is absolutely shameful that the current president dishonestly pushes people towards these plans.

Between this and GM dropping workers from their health insurance plans because of a strike, it’s no wonder Medicare for All and other single payer proposals are becoming increasingly popular.