Colorado’s top insurance regulator says Trump’s health care executive order “will cause problems”

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar said President Donald Trump’s executive order on health care could

Colorado’s top insurance regulator responded on Thursday to President Donald Trump’s health care executive order with concern, saying the policies endorsed could lead to flimsier coverage in the state and much higher costs for the sick.

“The limited benefits, the focus on the healthy at the expense of those with pre-existing conditions, and lack of regulatory oversight will cause problems for the health insurance market as a whole,” said Marguerite Salazar, the state’s insurance commissioner.

Trump’s order, signed Thursday, begins a process that broadly could reshape how Americans buy health insurance — especially if they do not receive coverage through their employers or the government. The order lacks specifics, leaving those up to administrative rulemaking processes that could take months. But the order endorses two big ideas for health insurance.

First, Trump’s plan looks to expand the use of what are called “association health plans,” which involve groups of businesses in a related industry that pool together to provide health coverage. It is possible that Trump’s order could lead those plans to be exempted from current federal laws requiring insurers to cover certain conditions such as cancer or addiction.

Second, Trump’s order proposes broadening the definition of short-term insurance — including lengthening the amount of time short-term plans can cover and allowing people to renew the plans once they finish. Short-term plans are not subject to some of the current federal requirements established by the Affordable Care Act.

There are more than 100 association health plans operating in Colorado, said Vincent Plymell, a spokesman for the state Division of Insurance. Those plans currently fall into the Affordable Care Act’s small-group market and must comply with the law’s requirements. Plymell said there are nine carriers offering short-term insurance in Colorado.

In her statement, Salazar said expanding the use of these plans — and loosening the requirements around them — could pull healthy people into skimpier plans, while heaping unbearable costs on the sick.

“Premiums may end up being lower for people buying these plans, but for many, paying for services not covered by the plans will be much more costly in the long run,” she said.

Open enrollment for those who buy health insurance on their own begins Nov. 1. Salazar said she does not expect Trump’s executive order to impact the open-enrollment period or the available plans, which received final approval last month.

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Article Colorado’s top insurance regulator says Trump’s health care executive order “will cause problems” compiled by www.denverpost.com

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