Short-Term Health Plans Are Not a Substitute for Quality Health Insurance

May 14, 2019

Yesterday, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released a new report entitled, Inadequate Coverage: An ACS CAN Examination of Short-Term Health Plans, which examined short-term plan coverage in six states: Florida, Illinois, Maine, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin and outlined their impact on patients with cancer.

ASCO has opposed short-term health plans because they are not comprehensive health insurance options and could leave people with cancer without any accessible options for high-quality cancer care. Short-term plans can charge more based on a person’s health status and do not have to comply with patient protections, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions and providing essential health benefits, mandated in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—protections that are critical to patients facing a cancer diagnosis.

Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Treasury, and the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a ruling that allows for expanded access to short-term plans, allowing them to be sold for up to one year and be renewed for up to 36 months. As such, many state legislatures have taken up legislation regarding these plans, and ASCO has partnered with state societies in Kansas, Idaho, New Mexico, Missouri, and Virginia to weigh in on related bills.

ASCO agrees with ACS CAN that short-term limited duration health plans are not a substitute for quality health insurance. If you have questions or concerns about your state’s policies on short-term health plans, please contact stateaffiliates@asco.org.