The Internet is abuzz with news on a new executive order (EO) on health insurance titled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” In short, the EO encourages agencies to take actions that would essentially divide Americans into “healthy” and “sick” groups.
“Healthy” groups would be able to secure lower premiums for alternative, ACA-noncompliant insurance plans, known as association health plans (AHPs), that cover less. These cheaper alternatives for the “healthy” groups could strip away vital mental health and substance abuse protections. They could also remove benefits like maternity and prescription drug coverage, as well as impose lifetime or annual limits on coverage. State regulators are also concerned because the plans would operate outside of their authority.
Meanwhile, those with pre-existing health conditions like eating disorders would be left with ACA-compliant plans with skyrocketed premiums. The American Academy of Actuaries released an informational sheet, which states that “average premiums for ACA-compliant coverage could far exceed those of noncompliant coverage, thereby destabilizing the market for compliant coverage.”
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) issued an open letter against the approach, calling it “unworkable in any form” fearing that it will “undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions, increase premiums and lead to widespread terminations of coverage…”
This week, Mental Health America released a statement against Trump’s EO, stating that “families who need mental health or substance use treatment should not have to arbitrarily pay more for health insurance.”
While countless Americans are concerned about the future of their care, any changes could take months to implement. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities for action in the coming weeks. In the meantime, make your voices heard by asking your legislators to represent your interests. Every phone call, email, and tweet makes a difference!