KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Trump’s Proposed ‘Association Plans’ Popular With Conservatives, But Insurers Aren’t Fans

The White House plans to issue executive orders to promote selling insurance across state lines and "association health plans," which would allow small employers to band together to offer coverage that wouldn’t be subject to the full range of ACA requirements. But some insurers fear that associations would peel off healthier and younger individuals and leave traditional insurance plans to cover sicker and older customers.

The Associated Press: White House Plans Order To Expand Health Care Options
The White House is finalizing an executive order that would expand health plans offered by associations to allow individuals to pool together and buy insurance outside their states, a unilateral move that follows failed efforts by Congress to overhaul the health care system. President Donald Trump has long asserted that selling insurance across state lines would trigger competition that brings down premiums for people buying their own policies. Experts say that's not guaranteed, partly because health insurance reflects local medical costs, which vary widely around the country. (Thomas and Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/9)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump To Sign Order Easing Health Plan Rules, Official Says
Mr. Trump will order three agencies, the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, to take steps to make it easier for people to band together and buy insurance through “association health plans,” the official said. Such plans would in some ways be like large employer’s health plans, subject to some restrictions set by the Affordable Care Act, including a ban on lifetime limits. But they would be free of other regulations, including the requirement that insurance plans cover a set package of benefits. These plans are popular with conservatives; some insurers fear that associations would peel off healthier and younger individuals and leave traditional insurance plans to cover sicker and older customers. (Radnofsky, Armour and Mathews, 10/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Executive Order Could Divide The Health Insurance Market
Together, if executed in an expansive way, Mr. Trump’s changes could “cause a bifurcation of the market,” said Cori Uccello, senior health fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries. Insurers that offer plans under the ACA could face new difficulties, but companies also might find opportunities in offering new types of insurance. Mr. Trump’s order, described by a senior administration official, will include broad instructions for federal agencies to loosen rules on health plans that the administration says have driven up premiums and reduced insurance offerings available to people who buy coverage on their own or who work for a small employer. (Radnofsky, Mathews and Armour, 10/8)

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