Statement attributable to:
Omar T. Atiq, MD, FACP
WASHINGTON July 7, 2023 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) is encouraged by the announcement from the Biden administration that they will no longer allow the extended use of short-term limited duration health insurance plans. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, short-term plans were allowed in order to help those who needed temporary coverage when experiencing a gap in their health insurance coverage. ACP was strongly opposed when the previous administration relaxed rules to allow for long-term use of what were meant to be short-term plans. Because the plans were only meant to be temporary stopgaps, they do not provide their enrollees with comprehensive coverage. The plans are not required to comply with the ACA’s requirements on essential health benefit coverage, prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions, rate restrictions, and other protections. Enrolling in a short-term plan leaves our patients at risk of paying for health insurance coverage that will not cover the health care they need.
ACP was further encouraged that this announcement was part of several from the administration about financially protecting patients seeking health care—as we have long advocated for these issues. They announced they are closing a contractual loophole that insurers have been using to continue sending patients surprise medical bills, despite a federal law that is meant to protect patients from these sorts of charges. The administration is addressing facility fees, which can also be a surprise bill for patients, by calling for health plans and non-hospital facilities that often charge these fees must make information about them publicly available to patients. Additionally, the administration released a new report showing that a cap on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs under Medicare that was put into place under the Inflation Reduction Act is projected to save Medicare beneficiaries $400 a year on average.
More needs to be done to ensure that all Americans are able to access affordable health care and health insurance, however short-term plans that leave enrollees with inadequate coverage were never the way to achieve this goal. ACP will continue to advocate with the administration, Congress, and policymakers to make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 160,000 internal medicine physicians, related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.