Biden Administration Tightens Short-Term Health Plan Rules

Grayson Larkspur

Updated Friday, March 29, 2024 at 6:12 AM CDT

Biden Administration Tightens Short-Term Health Plan Rules

In a notable policy shift from the previous administration, the Biden administration has finalized a regulation that restricts non-Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant short-term health insurance plans to a maximum tenure of 90 days, with a potential one-month extension. This move marks a significant rollback of the Trump-era policy that had allowed these plans to last nearly a year with the option to renew for up to three years.

These short-term health plans, while cheaper, have been at the center of controversy for not covering preexisting conditions nor providing a minimum set of essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs and maternity care. The Obama administration had initially limited these plans to under three months to prevent healthy consumers from avoiding ACA marketplaces.

Critics like Neera Tanden and other Democrats have labeled these plans as "junk" insurance, underlining the significance of ACA marketplaces and Medicaid expansion that collectively insure 45 million Americans. During the most recent open enrollment, ACA marketplaces saw over 20 million people sign up for coverage.

The newly finalized rule could potentially shake up the insurance market by reducing competition for insurers offering marketplace plans and by posing a risk for some sick consumers who might find themselves without coverage after their short-term plan expires. Despite the mandate for insurers to provide clear disclaimers, consumers have incurred significant costs due to inadequate coverage, as seen in cases from Montana and Pennsylvania where individuals were left with tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.

Sabrina Corlette from Georgetown University points out that misleading advertising often accompanies the sale of short-term plans, with consumers being uninformed about free marketplace plans. Furthermore, brokers selling these plans usually receive higher commissions, which could contribute to deceptive marketing practices. In response to the Trump administration's 2018 rule, some states have implemented their own restrictions on short-term plans, and Democratic lawmakers have pushed for a reversal, leading to the Biden administration's proposed rule issued last summer.

In a parallel move, the Biden administration is finalizing rules to combat sex discrimination in schools, with a keen focus on protecting transgender students. The main Title IX regulation, now in the final review stage, is set to protect against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. However, a companion regulation on transgender athletes' rights is being postponed, likely due to the politically sensitive nature of the issue and the looming election contest with Donald Trump.

The proposed Title IX regulation, expected in April 2023, would prohibit blanket state bans on transgender athletes but would allow for certain exclusions in competitive sports scenarios. This nuanced approach demands that any exclusions align with educational objectives and minimize harm to the student. Meanwhile, over 80 advocacy groups are pressing for comprehensive protection for LGBTQI+ students and swift finalization of regulations on sports participation.

While the GOP-controlled House has approved a national ban on transgender women in girls’ and women's sports, the Senate remains inactive on the matter. Republicans and conservative groups like the Defense of Freedom Institute oppose extending Title IX to gender identity, citing objections from some athletes and arguing that the definition of discrimination based on sex should not include gender identity.

The proposed regulation also addresses sexual harassment, removing the requirement for court-like hearings or cross-examinations and broadening the definition of harassment to cover all unwelcome sex-based conduct that creates a hostile environment. The Biden administration's efforts reflect a commitment to both ensuring access to comprehensive health insurance and advancing the rights of transgender students, balancing policy implementation with the current political climate.

Conservative Bias:

In yet another blatant power grab, the Biden Administration has decided to choke the life out of consumer choice by strangling the short-term health plan market, a market that provided a lifeline to hard-working Americans who just wanted affordable options outside of the Obamacare boondoggle. They're rolling back the clock to the dark days of government overreach, where they dictate what's best for you and your family's health care, instead of you making those decisions with your doctor. And if that wasn't enough, they're pushing their radical social agenda in schools, forcing a misguided policy that t****les on the rights of students and parents who dare to believe in biological reality over gender ideology. They're prioritizing politics over the protection of women's sports, all while ignoring the voices of countless athletes and concerned citizens who know that fairness in competition is at stake. This administration's obsession with redefining discrimination to suit their extreme agenda is nothing short of an attack on common sense and the values that this country was built on.

Liberal Bias:

The Biden Administration, in a commendable move to protect Americans, has courageously rolled back the predatory Trump-era health care policies that left millions vulnerable with worthless, so-called "short-term" insurance plans. These junk plans were nothing more than a conservative con, a way to undermine the ACA and line the pockets of big insurance at the expense of the sick and the poor. Meanwhile, the administration is taking a bold step to ensure that every student, regardless of their gender identity, is treated with dignity and respect in our education system. It's a stark contrast to the GOP's relentless assault on transgender rights, epitomized by their draconian bans on transgender athletes, which only serve to fan the flames of discrimination and hate. This is a fight for the very soul of our nation, as the Biden Administration stands up to the bigotry and backwardness of conservative extremists who would rather divide us than see us move forward together towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

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