'Junk insurance' — healthcare's latest dreaded term

The Senate healthcare bill unveiled last Thursday includes a proposal from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, allowing health insurers to sell health plans noncompliant with the ACA — which state insurance regulators fear will reinstate "junk insurance,"  The New York Times reports.

"Junk insurance" refers to health plans boasting low premiums paired with exorbitant deductibles and little to no coverage for care now denoted essential under the ACA. The healthcare law curbed the sale of "bare-bones" health plans by requiring insurers to include hospitalization, physician visits, prescription drugs, maternity care and mental health treatment in their coverage, the report states.

The Senate bill to repeal and replace the ACA provides an option to turn away from these requirements by allowing insurers to sell any type of insurance as long as they also offer ACA-compliant plans. While many Republicans and President Donald Trump argue the Cruz proposal could increase consumer choice and lead to cheaper insurance, state insurance regulators like California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones claim "the new bill opens the door to junk insurance."

Two of the health insurance industry's largest trade groups — America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association — oppose the Cruz proposal.

For the full report, click here

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