Patient advocates, healthcare groups sue Trump administration to block short-term health plans

The Trump administration is being sued by patient advocates and other healthcare groups over its decision to expand availability of short-term health plans that do not ensure a full set of health benefits, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit Sept. 14 in Washington federal court. The lawsuit argues the sale of health plans with skimpier benefits undermines the ACA's patient protections. The lawsuit accuses President Donald Trump's Treasury, Labor and HHS secretaries of weakening Americans' access to life-saving medical care by letting the short-term plans bypass the ACA's essential health benefit and pre-existing condition requirements.

In August, the Trump administration issued final regulations for the short-term health plans. The rules fulfilled President Trump's promise to loosen insurance rules that Republicans have argued increased premiums for consumers who cannot get government-subsidized coverage or an employer-sponsored health plan, according to the LA Times. The new short-term plans can span less than a year, and extensions and renewals can last as long as three years, depending on what states decide. Before, short-term plans could not last longer than three months.

While HHS Alex Azar has said the plans "provide a much more affordable option for millions of the forgotten men and women left out by the current system," patient advocacy groups and other healthcare organizations have largely disapproved of the short-term plans.

More articles on payers:
Mayo Clinic to launch health plans with Minnesota insurer
Average individual deductible hits nearly $1.5K: 6 survey findings
America's uninsured rate remained relatively unchanged from 2016 to 2017

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