Democrats urge Biden to scrap 'junk' short-term health plans


Forty-two Democrats in Congress are calling on the Biden administration to toss short-term health plans they say pose financial risks to consumers.  

The April 18 letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra comes days after the Washington Post reported that despite calling the plans "junk" on the 2020 campaign trail, President Joe Biden had not taken action to get rid of them. 

The short-term plans don't have to cover preexisting conditions and are allowed to bypass the ACA's requirement to cover such services as maternity care and mental health treatment. The Obama administration imposed a three-month limit on the short-term plans, but the Trump administration changed the rules to allow people to stay on the plans for a year and renew coverage for up to three years. 

One analysis of the plans found that 43 percent failed to cover mental health services, 71 percent did not cover outpatient prescriptions drugs and none covered maternity care, according to the letter. 

The Congress members asked that the 90-day plan limits be reinstated. 

"Junk plans pose clear risks to consumers, undermine the strength of the ACA and are incompatible with the goal of making affordable, high-quality health insurance accessible to all Americans," the letter said. 

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