The HHS Move to Curtail the Availability of Short Term Health Coverage Will Hurt Consumers In Need of an Affordable Bridge To Other Coverage……

………Like Medicare or Other Employer-Sponsored Coverage.

Yesterday the Obama Administration and HHS announced they were significantly curtailing the availability and use of short-term health insurance.

Their reasons? Not exactly sure.

Maybe it’s due to the myriad of current issues in the individual market – rising rates, carriers pulling out, and actuarially not enough covered lives (especially healthy people) – and the need to get more healthy people to buy individual policies. Take away options and hopefully it’ll drive more people to buy on the exchange.

Maybe, it’s a shot at UnitedHealthcare (UHC is one of the main providers of short –term or temporary coverage). Retribution, possibly, for UHC pulling out of the exchanges?

Or, maybe it it’s just an ivory tower way of thinking. Some probably well-intentioned ivory tower folks think the average consumer isn’t smart enough to know what short-term or temporary insurance is.  These same ivory tower folks may truly believe they know what’s best for people, better than each consumer knows for himself or herself, regardless of circumstances.

Whatever the case, short-term health coverage is probably a very small segment of the health insurance market.  We’d be very surprised if limiting or eliminating short-term coverage would really move the Obamacare needle in a meaningful way by creating enough new buyers to make a difference in the success or failure of the Marketplace.

For those who do buy short-term coverage, especially those that may have lost employer coverage, S-T provides a more affordable option to bridging the gap to other coverage (eg. Medicare, Other Employer Coverage, etc).

It’s too bad it may go away. From our vantage point, people know what they are buying, have good reasons for buying it, and short term coverage is legitimately filling a real need.



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