Illinois Legislature overrides veto of short-term health plan limit
Illinois legislators Tuesday voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a bill that limits short-term health insurance plans, which are exempt from offering certain protections required under the Affordable Care Act.
S.B. 1737, filed by Democratic state Sen. Antonio Munoz of Chicago, limits the duration of so-called skinny plans to six months and requires them to notify consumers if policies do not qualify as minimum essential coverage for health insurance under the ACA.
Rauner vetoed the bill in August, saying Illinois "should look to be consistent with the regulatory structures of other states and the federal government, as further regulation will create barriers to Illinoisans' access to the health care plans that best fit their needs."
Short-term, limited-duration health insurance was designed as a temporary solution for individuals who are between jobs, for example. In 2016, to prevent such plans from being viewed as alternatives to more comprehensive medical coverage, the Obama administration imposed a three-month limit.
The Trump administration in August extended the initial period to less than 12 months and the maximum duration to less than three years, to "help increase choices for Americans faced with escalating premiums and dwindling options in the individual insurance market."
While premiums for short-term plans tend to be at least 20 percent less than the lowest-cost bronze plans available through the ACA marketplace, the majority don't cover outpatient prescription drugs or substance abuse treatment, and none cover maternity care, according to an April analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which examined short-term health plans offered through two major national online brokers.
Some states have passed laws to regulate short-term plans, and a handful—including New York and California—have banned them altogether.
"Short-term health insurance plans can hurt consumers by not providing full medical coverage and leaving patients with high medical bills," Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago said in an email. "S.B. 1737 protects consumers and the insurance marketplace in Illinois."
Proponents of short-term plans say they increase access to care by providing buyers with more affordable options.
"Illinois Legislature overrides veto of short-term health plan limit" originally appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.
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