Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

NYTimes: Cruz Proposal Reminds State Insurance Regulators of 'Junk Insurance'

NYTimes: Cruz Proposal Reminds State Insurance Regulators of 'Junk Insurance'

"It shouldn't be the government dictating what insurance you can buy".

"It is simply unworkable in any form and would undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage for people now enrolled in the individual market", America's Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association wrote in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. Ted Cruz would destabilize and fracture the individual insurance market. The aforementioned waivers-which are theoretically meant to encourage health care "innovation"-still give states nearly incredible latitude to divert federal money to god knows what".

But let's back up.

Writing previous year, CBO's Susan Yeh Beyer and Jared Maeda warned, "If there were no clear definition of what type of insurance product people could use their tax credit to purchase, some of those insurance products would probably not provide enough financial protection against high medical costs to meet the broad definition of coverage that CBO and JCT have typically used in the past-that is, a comprehensive major medical policy that, at a minimum, covers high-cost medical events and various services, including those provided by physicians and hospitals".

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Because some health plans wouldn't have to necessarily adhere to the community rating, and essential health benefits, those that do would receive funding to offset the higher premiums that would result relative to the plans that don't cover the regulations.

Premiums will skyrocket for people with preexisting conditions. This of course is what's happening under Obamacare.

And in a related scenario, people who are priced out the market because of a pre-existing medical condition, who turn to a health plan with minimal coverage, can find themselves unexpectedly facing very high bills. I don't know how many people not named Ted Cruz will be pleased with that.

"Everyone will want to stay on the exchange and use that money to subsidize off-exchange people", Holtz-Eakin said. It's supposed to be available for high-risk or reinsurance pool.

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That brings us to the present day.

Those non-compliant plans would not be subject to rules that now bar insurers from denying coverage to sick people, charging sick people higher premiums, and excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions.

"Millions of more individuals will become uninsured", the insurer organizations said, concluding that "we strongly oppose this provision". The latter could have a big impact on preexisting conditions. But it was only funded with a one-time appropriation of $5 billion, and enrollment was capped at 115,000 before the exchanges opened because the program was running out of money.

That report did not mention the Cruz proposal by name, but it made the same points ― stating, among other things, that, "in a market with separate risk pools for compliant and noncompliant coverage, costs would no longer be spread over the broad enrollee population".

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At the time, the system favored young, healthy people who wanted to buy cheaper plans without all the frills. Senate GOP leaders are hoping to vote on revised legislation next week. Ever since Cruz began discussing his proposal, and especially since it became apparent that Senate GOP leaders meant to add it to their bill, a chorus of independent experts, industry officials and trade groups has criticized it and warned of its potential effects.

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