The plans, called association health plans, allow small businesses and other groups to band together to buy health insurance.
The move is part of a broader Trump administration effort to open up skimpier, cheaper plans as an alternative to ObamaCare plans.
Democrats strongly oppose the move as allowing for “junk” insurance that will not meet people’s needs and that will cause premiums to rise for those remaining in ObamaCare plans, once some healthier people are siphoned off into the new plans.
Secretary of Labor Alex AcostaRene (Alex) Alexander AcostaThere are now more job openings than unemployed workers in the USFlexible pay keeps opportunities open for disabled workers Dems demand end to waivers used to pay people with disabilities below minimum wageMORE on Tuesday said the new plans “will offer more health care coverage options at a better price.”
President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration billPoll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primaryTrump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separationsMORE has praised the idea of the plans, often noting the move while he laments in speeches that ObamaCare repeal failed to pass last year when Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant familiesMcCain, Coons: Trump should withdraw controversial refugee nominee MORE (R-Ariz.) voted no.
“Do you remember that? No, nobody remembers. Thumbs down,” Trump said in April, referencing McCain’s vote. “But it’s all right, because Alex Acosta has come up and — you know, this is a plan that a lot of people have wanted for a long time, associations. And we’re going to have tremendous sign-ups.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 4 million people will join the new association health plans, based on the proposed regulation offered in January.
The CBO also noted that plans would be cheaper in part because they do not have to comply with standards on which health-care services a plan must cover, but plans could exclude coverage of services like prescription drugs or mental health.
As a result of these new plans, and a separate Trump administration proposal to open up other options known as short-term plans, premiums for people remaining in the ObamaCare market will rise 2 to 3 percent, the CBO estimated.
By Peter Sullivan – 06/19/18 09:43 AM EDT