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August 14 2018

Why Short-Term, Catastrophic Health Insurance Policies Are Anything But "Junk"

by Charlotte Hays

To hear Senator Chuck Schumer, you'd think the only thing worse than getting a tax cut is having access to short-term, catastrophic health insurance.

He (and other Democrats) have called the short term policies that the Trump administration is making available "junk."

 Apparently, unless a policy has all the mandates of Obamacare--such as policies for older women that feature maternity services or alcohol rehab for teetotalers--it is junk. Inhumane even to offer them!

Well, there is a personal story in today's Wall Street Journal that shows that some purchasers of health insurance want-and can afford--just such a policy.

It is headlined "A Love Lost and an ObamaCare Alternative."

In 2010 the love of Carolyn Bolton's life died in a plane crash. It was devastating and she lost interest in everything, including her job, which she quit.

The five hundred a month for her Cobra health insurance policy was more than she could manage.

Luckily, Bolton was healthy and twenty-two years old. Even so, Bolton knew it would be a risk to go entirely without insurance. She didn't need that kind of worry at a difficult time.

So here is what Bolton did:

At the time, ObamaCare was newly enacted and hadn’t rolled out in full. I was able to purchase a short-term health-insurance plan for a fraction of what Cobra would have cost. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles of a full plan, but it was enough to ease my mind and protect me for six months against financial ruin in the event of illness or injury. It was perfect for my needs at that difficult time in my life.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced a finalized rule change to ObamaCare that once again makes short-term, catastrophic health-insurance plans available—a revision that will bring formerly marginalized Americans like me back into the health-insurance fold.

The rule change, effective in October, acknowledges that people—especially the young and families in special circumstances—don’t want a one-size-fits-all health-insurance “market” that’s clunkier than basic cable. It will be a boon to the insurance industry and the otherwise sidelined consumers it serves, as people will once again be allowed to purchase and renew yearlong catastrophic plans that were capped at three months when ObamaCare was implemented.

This overdue rule change will meet the needs of those who find themselves in trying situations like mine. In an era when there are more than 60 Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream flavors, customizable soda machines programmed to behave like mixologists, and IKEA solutions for every nook and cranny imaginable, it’s about time Americans are again allowed a health-insurance option that can better fit their palate and their pocketbook.

Does that sound like junk to you?

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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