The administration’s expansion of short-term, limited duration health plans threatens access to healthcare coverage and services for people with HIV and millions of other Americans with pre-existing conditions who under the Affordable Care Act gained needed protections from discriminatory health insurer practices. Short-term health plans, now set for expansion from three months to up to three years, are intended to provide transitional coverage and are exempt from key patient protections that include requiring coverage of individuals with pre-existing conditions such as HIV as well as essential health benefits and bans on annual or lifetime coverage limits. HIVMA has joined the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the DC Medical Society in filing an amicus curiae brief in support of a law suit filed by the Association of Community Affiliated Plans et al. to stop implementation of the recently released short-term health plan rule.
The extension of short-term plans will segment the non-group market by drawing healthier individuals to plans with lower premiums and fewer benefits leading to higher premiums for the rest of the market. Short-terms plans are not an option for people living with HIV and their expanded availability is expected to destabilize the non-group market leaving people living with HIV without access to affordable and meaningful healthcare coverage options.
With reliable access to comprehensive medical care and prescription drugs, people living with HIV can stay healthy and keep the virus suppressed allowing them to live near normal life spans and stopping transmission of HIV. Expanded access to healthcare coverage made possible by health insurance reforms is critical to improving health outcomes for patients with HIV and to controlling the virus. We urge the administration and Congress to collaborate on strategies to support the stability of the non-group insurance market and ensure a robust open enrollment period to keep healthcare coverage affordable and to expand healthcare coverage options for everyone, including people living with HIV.