On July 7, 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Labor, and the Treasury Department issued a proposed rule regulating the availability of short-term limited duration insurance plans. The rule would restrict the availability of these plans to no more than 4 months.
Everett Vokes, MD, FASTRO, FASCO
Short-term limited duration insurance plans are exempt from most of the rules governing health coverage under the Affordable Care Act and can deny or charge people more for coverage based on their health status. These plans, which were originally intended to be a short-term bridge to comprehensive coverage, have left countless patients with cancer, cancer survivors, and their families purchasing barebones plans often without understanding how inadequate the coverage is until they have a serious health issue.
A statement from the Association of Clinical Oncology Board Chair, Everett Vokes, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, follows:
“[This] proposed rule change would go a long way toward protecting people with cancer and their families from purchasing inadequate health coverage. These short-term plans have been aggressively marketed to consumers as a low-cost alternative to comprehensive coverage, but they fail to detail just how few benefits the plans cover or how the plans may deny claims or drop coverage based on preexisting conditions, including cancer.
“As cancer care providers, our members have seen firsthand how these kinds of plans can leave patients facing financial devastation on top of their devastating diagnosis. Reining in these barebones plans, combined with the now more generous subsidies available to purchase quality coverage on the exchange, will help millions of Americans get the kind of coverage that they need, especially when facing an unexpected illness like cancer.
“We commend the administration’s actions on this issue and look forward to the rule’s implementation.”
© 2023. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.