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Trump Health Insurance Plan Could Offer Cheaper Coverage But 'Erode' The ACA


Today is the deadline for public comment on a federal proposal allowing health insurers to offer new short-term insurance plans. Some say it’s another step towards dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

The proposal, which started by presidential executive order last October, would allow insurers to offer health plans that last just under a year long.

The Trump administration argues the new plans would offer more affordable choices for consumers. The plans would be cheaper but it’s unlikely that they would cover the conditions required by the ACA or protect people with pre-existing conditions.

Matt Slonaker is the executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project. He said the new plans are a way to weaken the health law. 

"Unfortunately what is happening here is the short-term insurance idea is being used as a guise to erode some of the protections of the Affordable Care Act," Slonaker said. 

Tanji Northrup is the Assistant Commissioner of the Utah Insurance Department. She says these new plans will pull people out of ACA plans and make them more expensive.

"There will definitely be increases because of pulling those healthy people out of the traditional market," Northrup said. 

If healthy people leave the ACA insurance pool, prices will go up for others who want to stay, in this case, people who are sick and rely on the law’s protections.

Northrup says if these short-term plans go through, Affordable Care Act rates could increase by double-digits. She says no insurers in Utah have contacted her department yet to develop these new plans.

Erik Neumann is a radio producer and writer. A native of the Pacific Northwest, his work has appeared on public radio stations and in magazines along the West Coast. He received his Bachelor's Degree in geography from the University of Washington and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley. Besides working at KUER, he enjoys being outside in just about every way possible.
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