Biden Can Advance Health Equity with Action on Junk Insurance
November 17, 2022
President Biden has an opportunity to deliver on his promise of advancing health equity and closing the health disparity gap for the American people. It’s time for him and his administration to take the necessary steps to finally end short-term limited durations insurance (STLDI), also known as junk insurance.
One of President Biden’s first acts in office was flagging harmful Trump-era health care rules for review, one of which expanded the definition and duration of junk insurance so that they cover not just three months between jobs, but now up to three years. This flooded the market with low-quality insurance plans that skirt Affordable Care Act rules and leave Americans unknowingly underinsured and vulnerable to huge medical bills. These plans may not cover things like prescription drugs, maternity care, mental health, or free preventive care. They also often have strict limits on how much they will pay for health care, and it’s far below what would be adequate.
Americans want quality health care that’s there when they need it most.
The good news is that President Biden still has time to deliver on his health care agenda and restore quality coverage options for Americans. Reversing the dangerous expansion of junk insurance will keep consumers from being under the false impression that they are fully covered when they buy these plans.
Keep US Covered, our campaign partners, and a majority of Americans support the Biden administration taking on junk insurance to advance health equity, and we will stand with them if they take action.
But they shouldn’t stop at junk insurance. We continue to encourage the administration to also roll back another harmful Trump-era health care rule, Individual Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs), which risk inviting discrimination into the workplace, leave workers to fend for themselves for health coverage and risk adding sicker, more expensive people to the individual market. Workers forced onto ICHRA plans are given just a stipend from their employers, potentially giving them less access to the doctors they want, weaker coverage, and the potential for higher out-of-pocket costs.
Junk insurance and ICHRAs both contribute to troubling health disparity gaps in this country and President Biden was right to have his administration look into rolling them back. Now is the time to take action on both.
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.