February 20, 2018
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s latest federal regulation seeking to derail the Affordable Care Act:
“Allowing short-term medical plans to infiltrate our health insurance markets is not the panacea the Trump administration promises. It’s just one more devastating step in dismantling the consumer protections we’ve come to rely on.
“Short-term medical plans may sound good to those who do not understand how health insurance works. The promise of lower premiums and fewer mandatory benefits may be appealing, but here’s what’s left in the small print: they also offer little protection if you get sick and need comprehensive care. In addition, they also force the good risk out of the market, causing premiums to go up and leaving many people unable to afford health insurance.
“These short-term medical plans are not required to provide comprehensive coverage, out-of-pocket limits are high, and vital essential health benefits such as prescription drugs and mental health services can be excluded. Most importantly, if you get sick, you may not be able to renew your coverage – there are no protections for people with a pre-existing condition. There’s also no coverage for maternity care. These plans could seriously harm unsuspecting consumers.
“I seriously question the president’s misguided belief that the only way to provide less expensive health insurance is to do so at the expense of those unlucky enough to get sick or who have a health condition. If he is serious about lowering health care costs for everyone, he should support the bipartisan efforts to stabilize the health insurance markets.
“He should also turn his immediate attention to the leading cost-driver in this country: the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. That’s a promise he has failed to keep.
“I will be using my authority as insurance commissioner to begin the rule-making process to prohibit these skinny plans from destabilizing Washington’s health insurance market. Just like the rest of the health insurance market, these plans would be required to be approved by my office.”