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The Buckeye Institute Calls on Court to Restore Flexibility, Security, and Choice to Health Insurance Marketplace

Jan 29, 2020

Columbus, OH – The Buckeye Institute, along with the Cato Institute and prominent health scholar Michael F. Cannon, filed an amicus brief on Tuesday with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Association for Community Health Plans v. the United States Department of Treasury.

In its brief, The Buckeye Institute calls on the D.C. Court of Appeals to uphold the restoration of flexibility, security, and consumer choice in the health insurance marketplace and argues that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rightly decided that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it reinstated the 12-month rule covering short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans.

“The Congressional Budget Office estimates that approximately 700,000 Americans, who would otherwise be uninsured, are covered by short-term insurance plans, making it clear that limiting the length of time people can be covered to three months doesn’t just limit choice and competition, but it also threatens to inflict real harm on real people,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute. “Even the National Association of Insurance Commissioners found that the three-month limit could strip health insurance coverage from consumers after they fall ill.”

For two decades Americans have been provided the choice to purchase short-term, limited duration insurance that could fill a gap in health insurance coverage for up to 12 months. This 12-month term allowed people who were out of work to obtain health insurance and have confidence that they would have coverage until they found work or the next open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act began. In 2016, federal regulators in the Obama administration changed that rule and allowed these plans to cover for a maximum of only three months. This change meant that people who purchased a short-term plan in February, for example, would have insurance for only three months and could be left uninsured for seven months—until the next open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act began the following January. In 2018, the Trump Administration reversed that Obama-era change and returned to the previous 12-month term that had been in place since 1997.

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