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Consumer Groups Slam Trump Administration Over Proposal To Expand Short-Term Health Plans

By Kenny Goldberg, KPBS San Diego, CA

February 26 2018…

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The Trump administration is touting short-term insurance plans as an affordable alternative to higher-priced Obamacare policies. But consumer groups believe they're not worth the paper they're printed on.

The administration has proposed expanding the coverage period for short-term plans from three months to 364 days.

Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, said the expanded plans could benefit millions of middle-class families who can't afford the premiums of Obamacare plans.

But short-term health insurance plans are not required to provide the same benefits as Obamacare policies. These plans can exclude coverage for certain health conditions and can limit days in the hospital.

Jamie Court, president of the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, said short-term policies are a bad idea.

“These are exactly the type of junk health insurance plans that Obamacare targeted for extinction, and the fact that Trump is bringing them back is very dangerous," he said.

A recently-introduced bill in the California Legislature, SB 910 (Hernandez), would prohibit insurers from selling short-term health plans in California.

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