The number of Americans without health insurance policies would skyrocket by about 5 million under President Donald Trump’s proposal to allow people to buy short-term, bare-bones plans and skirt the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new study by Urban Research, a healthcare policy think tank.
“The expansion of short term limited-duration policies implied in the current administration’s proposed rule has significant implications, particularly for insurance coverage and premiums in the remaining ACA-compliant insurance market,” the study’s authors Linda Blumberg, Matthew Buettgens and Robin Wang write.
“We estimate that ACA-compliant private non-group coverage would fall by 2.1 million people in 2019 from the expansion of STLD policies alone, exacerbating the non-group market decline of 5.5 million people already anticipated in 2019 because of the elimination of the individual-mandate penalties and other policy changes made since early 2017 …
“In the 43 states most affected, premiums in the ACA-compliant non-group insurance market would increase 18 percent on average owing both to the expansion of the short-term plans and elimination of the individual-mandate penalties.”
The authors say the premium effect would be 20 percent or higher in nine states.
The premium spikes will affect “disproportionately middle-income people with health problems because they prefer health insurance that covers essential health benefits, are unlikely to have access to medically underwritten short-term limited-duration policies, and are not financially protected by the ACA’s premium tax credits,” they write.
“For people who have ACA-compliant coverage and are eligible for premium tax credits, these higher premiums translate into higher premium tax credits per enrollee paid by the federal government. In total, 9.0 million fewer people would have insurance (minimum essential coverage) compared with prior law.”