Trump Offers Health Care Consumers Choice

Improvements in Association Health Plans and Health Reimbursement Arrangements buck the trend of limiting options for patients.

Association Health Plans (AHPs) are not junk plans, argues David Balat in the Hill. Balat is the director of the Right on Healthcare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. AHPs under the ACA helped people who found themselves without insurance for one reason or another (job status, divorce) get some sort of coverage, but that coverage only lasted for 12 months. The Trump administration’s final rule on AHPs, which went into effect last October, extends the coverage period to 36 months.  

In his opinion piece, Balat notes that “politicians from both sides of the aisle minimize the benefits and negate the wishes of Americans who choose to purchase short-term insurance plans that work for them, regularly calling them ‘junk’ plans. But they are not ‘junk’ to the people who are paying less and getting better service as they transition from one phase to the next.”

The changes to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) under Trump go into effect Jan. 1, 2020 and are also an improvement, says Balat. This allows companies to give workers money so that they can buy insurance on the individual market. “Growing the consumer pool purchasing individual plans is projected to bring products back into the marketplace and drive down costs,” Balat writes.