If Obamacare (or the ACA) is repealed as some lawmakers are advocating, the market will inevitably return to the days when less than healthy people could be denied coverage by insurers and sent to high risk pools for coverage. Back then, the insurance market existed mainly for healthier individuals who could get insurance. Also, older people paid a lot more than younger people for insurance, and so there were more younger people in the “pool.”
These are just the facts, and we aren’t stating them to be controversial. We can understand why some people like this model and others don’t. It has its winners and losers, much like today under the ACA.
What does this have to do with short term or association health plans? Because the ACA is not repealed, it is still the law of the land. And instead of repeal, the President admits his fallback is to promote ideas that will undermine the regular insurance market by allowing alternative plans that don’t have to cover basic health needs and don’t have to play by the same rules. Who buys what some people call “junk” insurance that isn’t required to cover prescription medications and pre-existing conditions? The answer is healthy people who don’t think they’ll need it.
If healthy people leave the insurance pool, the price goes up for everyone. The latest efforts to expand these policies will further damage a market that many people rely on.
At Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, we often complain about politics getting in the way of smart healthcare policy. There are lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that are so determined to either kill or save Obamacare that they can’t see the middle ground where we might just fix things for the better. And fixing things means we must INCREASE the number of healthy people buying insurance, not decrease it. It would make health insurance less expensive for everyone.
Why should we save the health insurance market? We agree, it’s broken. But if you are diagnosed with cancer or some other condition, you are going to want high-quality, comprehensive coverage that pays for your treatment. Short-term policies can drop you. Ministry plans are not required to pay. Association Health Plans might not cover your prescriptions or basic medical needs. Let’s not destroy comprehensive health insurance that is so critically important for so many people, just for political purposes. Let’s fix it instead.
If you are looking to better understand short term or ministry plans as they relate to your needs, please see part 2 of this blog.