Letter to U.S. House: Provision in Health Package Rescinding Positive Changes to Short-Term Plans Undermines U.S. Health Coverage

By at 16 May, 2019, 9:20 am


May 15, 2019

Dear Member of the U.S. House of Representatives:

The cost of health coverage and the dearth in affordable choices remain top issues of concern for America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) believes Congress must work to reform our health care system in order to promote and preserve affordable choices, not erect barriers that prevent Americans from purchasing coverage that fits their financial and present-day needs.

The positive regulatory changes to short-term, limited duration health plans have provided a practical and needed choice in the marketplace, and SBE Council strongly opposes efforts that undermine or take away this transitional health coverage option.

The House will soon vote on a package of health care bills (the “Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act,” H.R. 987), which includes a provision that eliminates the positive changes made to short-term, limited duration plans. This key provision (originally H.R. 1010) prevents the Department of Labor from taking “any action to implement, enforce, or otherwise give effect to the rule” that improved these plans, and stops the federal government from promulgating a similar rule.

People need simple, affordable coverage during critical transition periods, and the new rules governing these plans have made practical reforms that better align with this real need. The rules extend the period of time that people can use this transitional coverage and improve transparency for consumers about what the plans cover.

These regulatory improvements – greater transparency and allowing people to hold onto this coverage for transition periods that go beyond the three-month limitation imposed by the Affordable Care Act – are common sense steps that will insure more people and provide access to health care.

In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 500,000 people will go uninsured if the provision making improvements to short-terms plans is enacted into law. In sum, according to CBO, approximately 1.5 million fewer people will purchase short-term plans “each year over the 2020-2029 period.” That means 1.5 million fewer people will be denied their preferred choice in health coverage, and in the end, access to health care for many.

As we all know, one-size-fits-all policies are never, ever good for small businesses or for our diverse economy and citizenry. Short-term health plans are filling a critical need in the marketplace, such as when individuals experience life altering events such as starting a business, returning to school or pursuing career training opportunities, or temporarily leaving the workforce to care for a family member or partner.

Encouraging entrepreneurship is a shared goal of almost every member of Congress, and allowing risk-takers to access coverage that is more affordable and lasts for more than three months will enable and boost startup activity.

Policies that make health coverage plans more practical, flexible, accessible and affordable make sense for our modern economy and mobile workforce. This is something every member of Congress needs to support.

SBE Council urges you to support entrepreneurship and access to affordable health coverage, and unfortunately the provision that would wipe away the positive changes to short-term plans included in H.R. 987 works against these two critical goals.


Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO


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