Another blow to Obamacare–Alaskans should celebrate

With the highest unemployment rate in the nation and some of the most expensive health insurance and care costs, Alaskans have reason to celebrate new rules that were released today by President Trump’s administration.

Chipping Away At Obamacare
The Department of Health and Human Services released new rules today to allow expanded usage of short-term health insurance plans which are outside the bounds of Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare or ACA) required all plans to cover the same health benefits. For example, an unmarried man’s ACA policy must cover obstetrical coverage (see our full report on ACA solutions). This would be akin to requiring you to keep (and pay for) comprehensive automobile insurance coverage once you paid off your automobile, even if you wanted liability-only coverage. Of course this ACA requirement drove up costs.

An alternative to all-inclusive ACA health insurance plans is Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance (STLDI). These are temporary plans for (most often) catastrophic-type coverage. The Obama administration limited these plans to only three months of coverage, and offered no renewal option. But the new rules under Trump make these plans renewable for up to three years (terms of up to 12 months at a time, renewable for up to 36 total months).

Unemployed or Know Someone Who Is?
Alaska’s unemployment rate is nearly double the national average. The thousands of Alaskans who are job hunting can’t afford the ridiculously high prices of all-inclusive ACA health insurance plans. These new rules will provide more options for temporary, affordable health insurance.

And it’s not just the unemployed. STLDI is a reasonable option for even seasonal workers and students who are transitioning. These plans were “primarily designed to fill gaps in coverage that may occur.”

Skyrocketing Costs
With Alaska having some of the most expensive health insurance and health care costs in the nation, anything that drives down the skyrocketing costs is good news. Trump administration officials have stated these STLDI plans are expected to be 50-80% cheaper.

We believe in the free market and expanding coverage options means more choice and more competition within the market. That translates into good things for Alaskans.

Here’s a great article explaining the changes more thoroughly, from the director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute: Obamacare Is Now Optional