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Internists Say Short-term Plans will Increase Premiums and Harm Patients

Statement attributable to:
Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (August 1, 2018) —The American College of Physicians (ACP), is extremely disappointed in the regulations that the administration issued today extending the duration of short-term, limited duration insurance plans despite warnings from ACP and others about the harm this will cause. ACP, other physician and health care organizations, and patient advocacy groups have all raised concerns that allowing these limited plans to be used for up to years at a time will have implications beyond the one individual who chooses this option. This regulation will erode essential patient protections and drive up premiums for those buying coverage through the health insurance exchanges.

In the comments that ACP provided to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about the proposed rule, we noted that while more needs to be done to ensure that Americans have access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance, expanding the availability of short-term, limited duration plans does not move us closer to achieving that goal.

Short-term plans were designed to provide temporary insurance during gaps in coverage, such as when a person changes jobs. Because they were meant to be used for a limited time period, the plans are not required to meet many of the patient protections required by standard insurance regulations and known to improve health outcomes. Plans that are not required to cover essential health benefits, not required to cover people with pre-existing health conditions, and that may place annual or lifetime limits on coverage are not providing the same access to care that comprehensive health insurance does.

The regulation issued today does not serve our patients well. ACP urges the administration and Congress to move forward in finding ways to increase the accessibility and affordability of truly comprehensive health care coverage that supports the best health outcomes for our patients.

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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 154,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), 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 and Facebook.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org