Illinois Legislature Overrides Veto of Short-Term Health Plan Limit
December 2018 ~
State legislators in Illinois have voted to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill intended to place restrictions on short-term health insurance plans sold in in the state, which are exempt from offering certain protections required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The bill, S.B. 1737, was developed to limit the duration of short-term, or “skinny plans”, to six months and requires them to notify consumers if policies do not qualify as minimum essential coverage for health insurance under the ACA.
The short-term, limited-duration plans were designed as a temporary solution for individuals without health insurance. In 2016, to prevent such plans from being viewed as alternatives to more comprehensive medical coverage, a three-month limit was imposed. This past August, the initial period was extended to less than 12 months and the maximum duration to less than three years, to “help increase choices for Americans faced with escalating premiums and dwindling options in the individual insurance market.”
The original bill passed the legislature, but was vetoed by Governor in August, who stated Illinois “should look to be consistent with the regulatory structures of other states and the federal government, as further regulation will create barriers to Illinoisans’ access to the health care plans that best fit their needs.”
Then earlier this month, the state Senate voted unanimously earlier to override the Governor’s veto, and on November 26, the House voted in favor of the override in a vote of 89-20.
According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which examined short-term health plans offered through two major national online brokers, while premiums for short-term plans tend to be at least 20 percent less than the lowest-cost bronze plans available through the ACA marketplace, the majority don’t cover outpatient prescription drugs or substance abuse treatment, and none cover maternity care.
“Short-term health insurance plans can hurt consumers by not providing full medical coverage and leaving patients with high medical bills,” Democratic state Senator Heather Steans of Chicago said in an email. “S.B. 1737 protects consumers and the insurance marketplace in Illinois.”