White House Aims to Limit Access to Short-Term Health Plans: The Kiplinger Letter

The Biden administration's draft rule would restore several Obama-era regulations.

To help you understand what is going on in the healthcare sector, rollbacks of Trump administration regulations for short-term health plans and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

The Biden administration wants to curtail access to short-term health plans. A draft rule would limit the duration of such plans to four months and would prevent consumers from buying another short-term health insurance plan from the same carrier in the same calendar year. However, they could still purchase different short-term plans consecutively for up to 36 months.

This rule would essentially involve restoring several Obama-era regulations that were rolled back by the Trump administration. Under Trump, consumers were able to retain short-term plans for a year and renew them for up to three years.

Short-term plans are often cheaper than Obamacare-compliant ones and serve as a stopgap option for people who are between jobs or self-employed. But they also come with several drawbacks, such as excluding folks with preexisting conditions and denying claims after expensive medical treatment.

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Nearly 265,000 people were enrolled in short-term health plans in 2022, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a 36.5% increase from the year before. Meanwhile, short-term premium revenue jumped 57.3%. Health insurers are known for aggressively marketing these plans to consumers.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.