WSJ: Gardner’s “Junk” Health Plans Don’t Have To Cover Lifesaving Treatments, Pre-Existing Conditions

WSJ: Gardner’s “Junk” Health Plans Don’t Have To Cover Lifesaving Treatments, Pre-Existing Conditions

Report Comes Same Day Gardner’s GOP Submits Brief Asking SCOTUS to Overturn ACA

Denver, CO – On the same day that Senator Cory Gardner’s GOP submits briefs to overturn the Affordable Care Act  — jeopardizing an estimated 470,000 Coloradans’ health care and protections for 2.4 million Coloradans with pre-existing conditions — the Wall Street Journal reports that the junk health insurance plans supported by Gardner “force many to pay for lifesaving treatments” and “often exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions.” Patients reported that these Gardner-supported junk plans “denied coverage for treatment, leaving consumers on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After Gardner voted to defend these junk plans, he falsely claimed he was protecting people with pre-existing conditions — but these short-term junk plans are “so skimpy that they offer no meaningful coverage” and don’t require insurers to cover pre-existing conditions or COVID-19 care. Gardner even voted to uphold the expansion of junk plans like these, which Coloradans fought back against.

And as millions of Americans have lost their health insurance due to the pandemic, Gardner still refuses to pressure President Trump to open a special enrollment period so people across the country can get coverage. 

Read highlights below or the full story here.

Wall Street Journal: Shorter-Term Health Plans Force Many to Pay for Lifesaving Treatments, Report Finds

By Stephanie Armour | June 25, 2020

  • Many consumers have been forced to pay for their own lifesaving treatment under shorter-term health plans that have seen enrollment jumps since the Trump administration relaxed restrictions on them, according to a report to be released Thursday by House Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • The short-term plans don’t have to comply with the 2010 Affordable Care Act, so they often exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions and charge women more for the same coverage, the yearlong investigation found.
  • These plans have proliferated since August 2018 when the Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule expanding access, one of the most significant steps to undercut the ACA after GOP lawmakers in Congress failed to repeal it in 2017.
  • In its review of consumer complaints against insurers selling short-term plans, the committee reported that it found numerous examples of patients who were denied coverage for treatment, leaving consumers on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • “Coverage limitations vary greatly from plan to plan and insurer to insurer, and limitations are not made clear in marketing materials, making it extremely difficult for consumers to understand what they are purchasing,” according to a summary of the report.
  • The committee’s investigation found that, on average, less than half of the premium dollars collected from consumers are spent on medical care, unlike ACA-compliant individual market plans, which are required to spend at least 80% of all premium dollars on health care.

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