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House Bill 275 — Short-term health insurance plans

House Bill 275 — Short-term health insurance plans

Phil Haunschild
March 20, 2019

Bill description: HB 275 would allow for renewable short-term health insurance plans with fewer regulations than full-coverage health plans.

Rating: +1

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

Under current law, insurers can offer short-term health insurance plans to Idaho consumers. These plans are not subject to the full scope of federal regulations, including those under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nor the full scope of state regulations. The maximum length for these plans in Idaho is 364 days, and they are not automatically renewable.

These plans can be offered to consumers at much lower cost and with much greater flexibility than full-coverage plans. For example, insurers selling a short-term policy do not have  to offer the full array of benefits required with an ACA-compliant plan. This allows consumers to choose the plans that best fit their needs, so they are not paying for the care they do not need. A single man would not need to pay for maternity care or birth control, and an individual might just choose emergency care, rather than the full scope of care.

HB 275 would allow insurers to offer enhanced short-term plans, which would last less than 12 months and be “guaranteed renewable,” meaning that the insurer must renew the policy when it expires, as long as the customer has been paying premiums. In August 2018, the federal government greatly expanded consumers’ access to short-term health insurance plans. A regulatory change expanded the length of short-term plans from three months to 12 months and allowed for their extension for up to three years.

HB 275 would also authorize the director of the Department of Insurance to establish rules to regulate these plans, to include renewability provisions, the scope of benefits to be provided and restrictions on premium rate increases after plans lose renewability.

Authorizing insurers to provide renewable short-term health insurance plans could give Idaho consumers more flexibility to obtain affordable health care that works for them in their own situations, without the full scope of regulations imposed by the federal government on traditional health care plans.


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