Bruce Telkamp and Kev Coleman are hoping Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials will find a way to ease a duration limit on short-term medical insurance policies imposed by the Obama administration’s CMS.
Telkamp, chief executive officer of HealthPocket Inc., and Kev Coleman, head of research at the firm, ask for relief in a comment on new draft individual market stabilization regulations.
President Donald Trump took the oath of office Jan. 20. He has said that he wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but he has been open to the idea of keeping the existing system in place during a transition period. Trump’s CMS published a draft of individual major medical market regulations last month.
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CMS officials developed the regulations, which would affect the individual market this year and in 2018, in an effort to respond to health insurers’ concerns about the stability of the market, and to keep insurers in the individual market this year and next.
Earlier, in October, Obama’s CMS posted final regulations imposing a three-month limit on the duration of short-term health coverage.
Under the new regulations, which are set to take effect April 1, a consumer can use four or more short-term health policies to stay covered throughout the year, but an insurer cannot cover an individual for more than three months in a row.
Unlike issuers of individual major medical coverage, issuers of short-term health insurance can use medical underwriting to hold down costs. They can also impose annual and lifetime benefits limits, design benefits without complying with the Affordable Care Act major medical benefits mandates, and sell coverage outside the ACA open enrollment period.
CMS officials argued that the regulation would help stabilize the individual major medical market, by reducing the pressure for younger, healthier people to buy skimpier, but cheaper, short-term health insurance policies, rather than individual major medical coverage.
Telkamp and Coleman, who work for a company that’s owned by Health Insurance Innovations Inc., a Tampla, Florida-based short-term health insurance distributor, write in their letter that insurance regulators have stated that shortening the maximum duration of short-term health insurance policies will have no effect on individual major medical market risk pools.