Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a report detailing his investigation into the consumer experience of shopping online for health insurance. Senator Casey’s new report reveals the prevalence of short-term, limited duration plans—commonly known as junk plans—that may not cover pre-existing conditions being marketed to Pennsylvanians. This can leave individuals and families unprotected against exorbitant out-of-pocket health care costs.
“On November 1, Pennsylvanians will be able to sign up for or make changes to their health insurance plans through HealthCare.Gov. I am releasing this report ahead of Open Enrollment to warn consumers to beware of look-a-like websites that are promoting junk insurance plans that don’t offer comprehensive coverage,” said Senator Casey. “These junk plans have flourished because the Trump Administration has continuously worked to sabotage the health insurance market and roll back critical consumer protections. Consumers need to know how to avoid getting lured into health insurance plans that don’t provide comprehensive coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.”
The report highlights what happened to Frank K. of Dover, PA, who shared his experience searching for health insurance online during a conference call hosted by Senator Casey.
“Insurance is complicated. I thought that I was purchasing a plan that would protect me. I thought my plan would be there for me, but I was almost left holding the bag. The companies promoting short-term, limited duration plans present them as a glorious product, but to them, it’s just a numbers game,” said Frank K., of Dover, PA. ”People should know that if they are shopping for health insurance online, they should visit the website HealthCare.Gov – not any other site.”
“Whether it’s sabotaging open enrollment or pushing junk insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions, the Trump administration is singularly focused on undermining Americans’ health care,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “The contrast couldn’t be clearer: Senate Democrats are focused on saving vital protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and funding open-enrollment, while Republican Senators want to send us back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage or charge more for people with pre-existing conditions. The vote on the Protect Pre-Existing Conditions Act this week will put Republican Senators’ continued deference to the Trump administration’s sabotage agenda on full display and make them choose between their constituents' well-being or the president's war on health care.”
In 2018, the Trump Administration reversed federal regulations and allowed individuals to purchase junk plans for a full year with the option to renew for up to three more years. This action is part of the Administration’s plan to sabotage health insurance coverage for millions of Americans. It has allowed a health insurance product – short-term, limited duration plans – to flourish. Insurance companies market these products to consumers online, in some cases pretending to be HealthCare.Gov even when they have no affiliation with the website. Most likely, the plans offered on these look-a-like websites fail to provide consumers the protection they need from extreme out-of-pocket health care costs. Senator Casey’s report explains how individuals and families can avoid being lured into junk plans and calls for the Administration to reverse this harmful rule.
Read the report here.
Read testimony from Frank K. here.
Access ‘Tip Sheet to Avoid Enrolling in a Junk Plan’ here.
Access 'Health Care Open Enrollment: Fast Facts' here.