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Internists Tell Federal Court 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 (October 9, 2018) —Extending the duration of short-term, limited duration insurance plans will erode essential patient protections and drive up premiums for those buying coverage through the health insurance exchanges. It is because of the harm that this will cause to patients that the American College of Physicians (ACP) has joined the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the HIV Medical Association and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia in filing an amicus curiae brief in in a lawsuit brought by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans against the recently issued rule on short-term plans.
ACP is extremely concerned that the expansion of the use of short-term plans does not serve our patients well. ACP, in addition to numerous other groups, has previously raised concerns that allowing these limited plans to potentially be used for years at a time will have implications beyond the one individual who chooses this option. 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 amicus brief that was submitted today aligns with ACP’s longstanding advocacy goal of ensuring that the country’s health care system protects and provides for patients rather than taking away much-needed protections and resources. ACP is ready to work with Congress and the administration in finding ways to increase the accessibility and affordability of truly comprehensive health care coverage that supports the best health outcomes for our patients.
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.
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