Wide range of state responses to new health insurance options

Freedom Benefits completes its state-by-state analysis of non-ACA low cost health plan options. Summary results are now online.

Beginning with the executive order he signed on the first day he took office, president Trump and his administration have taken many actions to dramatically affected the health insurance and care options available to individual consumers.  The White House web site recently removed some of the press releases and links to many of the politically sensitive actions but nevertheless they remain a part of the legal and market structure. Endorsements of inexpensive alternative health plans rated by health and age of the applicant and short term health insurance remain promoted on Whitehouse.gov web site. Behind the scenes, health insurance companies rushed to create a wide range of new product offerings and get them approved for sale to the public. These plans offer choice but do not include the protections intended by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. That means that consumers may need more information and education about the range of new health plans on the market today. But that’s not the whole story.

Regulation of health plans rests primarily with state government, not federal government. Every state reacted differently to the federal government’s changes intended to loosen legal requirements and make health insurance options available to consumers. This means that it was important for firms like Freedom Benefits, that follows these legal changes for their impact on consumers, to expand our coverage  on current legal events in each state.

Each state has the ability to regulate or restrict health insurance plans issued within its boundaries. States do not have the authority to regulate or restrict health insurance issued in another state or nation that cover individuals who live in or visit their state. As a result, the medical insurance travel industry was born. People who do not qualify for coverage where the live can visit another state and purchase a short term medical insurance policy, for example, that covers them everywhere within the U.S., including their home state where the coverage cannot be purchased. It’s created an odd market scenario!

Freedom Benefits investigated the status of health insurance laws of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The summarized results are included as a news item on “Status of alternative non-ACA health plans” available by clicking on the state page icons on the right sidebar of this page. We do not endorse any product or strategy but support every individual’s right to have access to information and the widest possible range of health insurance and treatment options.

 

choose your state

Low cost health insurance expands

President Trump signing
President Trump authorized new health plan options

The market for lower cost affordable health insurance is expected to grow with at least to more companies making public securities market offerings for expansion. Bright Health and Oscar Health both completed successful public offerings this year.  These health plans offer lower beenfits at a lower cost in states that allow these alternatives. President Trump pushed for approval of these plans that were previously prohibited by Obamacare. Not all plans are available in all states.

Freedom Benefits has served as a leading adviser in this field since 1995. We support freedom of choice for well-informed consumers and we will continue to monitor, review and recommend these alternative health plans as they develop. Personal support is available online or by telephone.

20 states fight unconstitutional Obamacare provisions

President Trump signing

Twenty states sued the federal government in February 2018 arguing that the current law requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions is unconstitutional. The US Justice Department now sides with these 20 states in trying to use the courts to bring an end to Obamacare. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, the lawsuit said that without the individual mandate, which was eliminated as part of the Republican tax law signed by President Donald Trump in December, Obamacare was unlawful. Ironically, observers say that these 20 states stand to lose more health care funding than many other states if the lawsuit is successful. A copy of the initial filing is available here.

Paxton said “The U.S. Supreme Court already admitted that an individual mandate without a tax penalty is unconstitutional. With no remaining legitimate basis for the law, it is time that Americans are finally free from the stranglehold of Obamacare, once and for all”.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, representing one of the other twenty states in the lawsuit argues a provision in the Affordable Care Act requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions is unconstitutional. The lawsuit would affect almost one million people in Alabama alone according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit with insurance industry connections. They say that about 1 in 3 people in the state of Alabama have a pre-existing medical condition that would not be covered if the state’s lawsuit is successful.

To address this situation, President Donald Trump issued an executive order early in his presidency directing the adoption of regulations that would deem some low-cost health insurance that does not cover pre-existing conditions as being ACA-compliant.

The 20 states that want to end Obamacare are: TEXASWISCONSINALABAMAARKANSAS, ARIZONA, FLORIDAGEORGIA, INDIANAKANSASLOUISIANA, MAINEMISSISSIPPIMISSOURINEBRASKANORTH DAKOTASOUTH CAROLINASOUTH DAKOTATENNESSEEUTAH, and WEST VIRGINIA.

Freedom Benefits stepped up its services to offer advice on choosing between the old and new types of health care plans and can help introduce consumers to the best health plan for their situation and budget. Freedom Benefits reminds residents of these 20 states that a medical condition that makes a person uninsurable can happen to anyone at any time. It is important to have a backup plan and an asset protection plan to protect family assets from the high cost of unexpected and uninsured medical costs.

Introduction to Core Health Insurance

This is meant as a brief description only and not as an offer to to sell insurance. Freedom Benefits and OnlineNavigator are not authorized to sell insurance or to represent any insurance company. See the insurance company’s published information for all details.

Core Health Insurance logo
Core Health Insurance

Core Health Insurance provides specified limited dollar coverage for your basic medical needs, helping to provide a medical option for people who do not have the luxury of being covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan. Core Health does provide benefits for pre-existing conditions but be sure to understand all of the limitations. Core Health insurance generally continues month after month, year after year, until you cancel it or until you reach the maximum age for coverage. In general, these plans provide less coverage at a lower price than Obamacare plans but may also cover more of the more common types of smaller medical expenses.

Acceptance is guaranteed for all applicants in these states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MI, MS, NE, NV, ND, NM, OH OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV, WI, and WY.

Core Health Plans include benefits for:

  • Doctor Office Visit benefits
  • Wellness Visit benefits
  • Hospital and ICU benefits
  • Emergency benefits
  • Surgery and anesthesia benefits
  • Accident medical expenses and more
  • Single or Family coverage
  • Freedom to choose any Doctor or Hospital
  • Discount Medical Program

View the benefit overview on the insurer’s quote page. Personal help is available online or by phone to help with your decision.

 

Freedom from birth control coverage requirements

Qualifying small business employers can now customize their benefits and save money in the process.

Effective immediately, the Trump administration will allow religious groups, nonprofits, some small businesses and some other employers to opt out of an Obamacare requirement to provide birth-control coverage for their employees. Exempt employers include “religious employers”, houses of worship, health sharing ministries, a few employers who got religious exemptions, non-profit hospitals, some institutions of higher education. This is the first time since 2011 that employers were allowed this option. Two separate rules issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury finalized exemptions for employers that have religious or moral objections to contraceptive coverage. One HHS rule called the “Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act” allows employers to claim “sincerely held” religious objects while a second HHS rule called the “Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act” offers another exemption on moral grounds.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 in the Hobby Lobby case that the Affordable Care Act couldn’t require employers to offer insurance coverage for certain birth control methods they equate with abortion. The court decision applied only to private corporations such as the family-owned companies  that challenged the law. Women working for those companies could still get morning-after pills and IUDs from other sources, such as the government or private insurance plans.

Freedom Benefits can help small business employers modify their employee health plans to exclude this expense and save money through insurance or a health reimbursement arrangement. Likewise, we can steer employees who need this coverage to alternate sources.