Biden Administration Should Act Now on ICHRAs and Junk Insurance
Biden Voters Would Reward Action to Promote Health Equity, Block Discrimination
August 4, 2022
Even with the recent news that Senators Schumer and Manchin reached a deal on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, President Bidn must continue working to advance health equity on his own and give Democrats easy wins ahead of the midterm elections. He can quickly strengthen our health care system by taking executive actions on two bad Trump-era rules that lower the quality of health coverage, open the door to discrimination in workplace benefits, and promote instability in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.
Reversing Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs) and Short Term Limited Duration Insurance (STLDI) – also known as junk insurance – should be a priority for President Biden.
Polling conducted last year shows that 68% of President Biden’s core voters – critical to Democrats’ success in November – support overturning the expansion of junk insurance and that 71% would be more likely to vote in 2022 if he acted on ICHRAs. President Biden should take action on both as soon as possible.
Rolling back ICHRAs
An Avalere Health analysis found 1.5 million American workers will lose their current health insurance for an ICHRA plan by the end of 2022. The stipend-based system would mean:
Higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs;
Access to fewer doctors; and
Lower wage workers are targeted for lower quality coverage.
The Biden Administration can ensure American workers have the high-quality coverage they earned. ICHRAs take away the coverage that workers have earned and let businesses offload them onto inferior, third party plans they must find for themselves on the open market. The Biden Administration should acknowledge that dividing workers into “haves” and “have-nots” is unacceptable and ensure the practice is impermissible.
Reigning in junk insurance
The Trump Administration significantly boosted junk insurance, which is supposed to fill short gaps in coverage when someone is between jobs, to be available as long as three years. This flooded the market with low-quality insurance plans that leave working Americans unknowingly vulnerable to enormous medical bills and access to fewer doctors. This rule gives families false confidence that they have coverage only to learn it might not cover what they need when they need it.
Advancing Health Equity
Time is running out and the longer these harmful Trump-era rules are allowed to remain the books, the greater chance working Americans will be pushed onto ICHRA and junk insurance plans. Rolling back ICHRA and STLDI are two easy moves the administration can make to overturn harmful policies from the previous one, which will help more Americans get – and keep – the quality health care they need. President Biden needs to deliver on health care now and advance health equity – with or without Congress. Reversing these rules will also help the President score easy wins for the Democrats as the midterm elections quickly approach.
To learn more about Keep US Covered and its partners’ work to educate policymakers on these regulations and the social determinants of health, visit KeepUSCovered.org or follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook.