Letter to the editor: Beware short-term insurance plans
With less than a week of the open enrollment period for health plans under the Affordable Care Act remaining, consumers nationwide are making critical health plan choices.
A rule was put into place earlier this year that expands access to short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI) plans. These can be substandard plans that allow insurers to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. They also lack comprehensive, essential coverage including emergency room, maternity care and mental health treatments.
There is a reason these plans are touted as a more affordable option for consumers — because they don’t actually cover much. They simply provide an illusion of sufficient coverage.
While some states have imposed limits on STLDI plans, the Congressional Budget Office estimates 2 million people will still buy them. Consumers who are seeking a lower-cost insurance plan often don’t realize short-term health plans may not protect them when they get sick, leaving them with large surprise bills for uncovered care.
As an organization committed to providing a voice for consumers in the health care debate, we urge consumers to read the fine print, consider their options carefully and, steer clear of these bare-bones plans.
The writer is on the board of Consumers for Quality Care and a visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.