In the Age of COVID-19, Short-Term Plans Fall Short for Consumers

During February’s State of the Union address, President Trump touted his administration’s efforts to expand access to short-term health plans that do not comply with any of the ACA’s consumer protections. Short-term plans are often cheaper than ACA-compliant plans because they can deny coverage to people and exclude entire categories of services. In a recent post supported by The Commonwealth Fund, we reviewed 12 short-term plans to determine what coverage consumers would have if they needed treatment for COVID-19. We found that consumers in short-term plans are likely to have less financial protections than those enrolled in ACA plans. Continue reading

Seeing Fraud and Misleading Marketing, States Warn Consumers About Alternative Health Insurance Products

States are warning consumers of fraud and about the inadequate nature of some insurance products being sold that masquerade as health coverage. Over the last year, we identified alerts or press releases issued by 15 states warning consumers to be on their guard against deceptive marketing pitches for these products. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To The Point blog, CHIR experts spoke with regulators in five of these states to better understand what was behind these warnings and get insight into potential pitfalls for consumers. Continue reading

Aliera Healthcare Prompts Increased State Activity on Health Care Sharing Ministries

Over the last few months, state officials have increasingly acted to warn consumers about the potential risks of enrolling in health care sharing ministries (HCSMs). These efforts have ranged from educating consumers on HCSMs to initiating legal action against fraudulent practices. While some consumers may find value in HCSMs, recent actions by Aliera Healthcare provide one example of how entities may use HCSMs’ unregulated status to skirt oversight and take advantage of consumers. Continue reading