Today, the CF Foundation joined 11 other patient groups to file an amicus curiae (or friend-of-the-court) brief in the U.S. District Court case, Association for Community Affiliated Plans v. United States, challenging the short-term health insurance rule.
The brief argues that short-term, limited-duration (STLD) plans erode protections for people with pre-existing conditions and divide the individual insurance market into plans for healthy people and plans for sick people, driving up costs for those who need comprehensive insurance. See below for the full statement:
The rule threatens to split and weaken the individual insurance market, which has provided millions of previously uninsured people with access to quality coverage since the health care law went into effect. People with serious illnesses need comprehensive coverage, but short-term plans could force them to pay increasingly higher premiums or forego coverage altogether as insurers raise rates or leave the market entirely -- a common problem prior to 2014.
Increases in premiums and decreases in availability of comprehensive plans will fall particularly hard on those with significant medical needs. Because issuers of short-term plans are empowered to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, such individuals will remain reliant on their ability to secure Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plans.
Moreover, many individuals with short-term, limited-duration insurance who become sick will be unable to afford the care needed to respond to a life-threatening diagnosis, and will be forced to delay treatment for the months it may take to secure adequate coverage. Without coverage when they need it most, people with serious illnesses could face serious financial hardship and potential bankruptcy paying for their care.
Well-documented research has shown uninsured and underinsured Americans with heart disease and stroke experience higher mortality rates, poorer blood pressure control, greater neurological impairments, and longer hospital stays after a stroke. Uninsured patients are less likely to be screened for cancer and more likely to be diagnosed with later stage disease, which is harder to survive and costlier to treat.
Because of the overwhelming risks to patients and the proven flaws with these plans, the groups urge the court to issue an injunction stopping the rule and preserving current limits on STLD plans.
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Global Healthy Living Foundation
Hemophilia Federation of America
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
March of Dimes
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
National Multiple Sclerosis Society