Feds To Idaho: 'State-Based' Health Plans Don't Pass Muster

Feds To Idaho: 'State-Based' Health Plans Don't Pass Muster”

In a letter to Idaho Gov.

For the meantime, however, the Trump administration appears to have concluded that it is not above the law - at least with respect to this one effort to make an end run around Obamacare.

WASHINGTON-The Trump administration will step in to enforce the Affordable Care Act's requirements in Idaho if the state doesn't back down on its plan to allow the sale of skimpier, less expensive insurance products, a top health official told Idaho on Thursday.

The letter, from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, informs Idaho that insurers will not be allowed to sell illegal plans within that state which threatened to destabilize Idaho's insurance markets.

Verma also outlined some options that she believes Idaho could legally take under a recently proposed federal rule.

It is a victory for the rule of law, given how openly Idaho was defying the ACA.

Verma's letter is laden with language attacking Obamacare.

The state could conceivably tweak its proposal, Verma noted, to align with the Trump administration's own proposed regulations to expand short-term insurance plans - which also do not have to comply with the ACA's insurance regulations. The decision came after lawmakers and health policy experts on both sides of the aisle questioned the Idaho plans' legality. The unlawful plans, known as "Freedom Blue" plans, "charge people with pre-existing conditions and older residents significantly more than now allowed under the ACA".

Had the Department of Health and Human Services not intervened, Idaho would have allowed insurance companies in the state to sell plans that violate Obamacare's rules-plans that, for example, have lifetime limits, don't cover pre-existing conditions, exclude mental health care or charge patients more based on their age or health status.

"As you know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is failing to deliver quality health care options to the American people and has damaged health insurance markets across the nation, including Idaho's", Verma wrote, noting that premium rates for coverage through the Idaho health insurance exchange have increased by more than 91 percent from 2014 to 2018, while insurance companies continue to incur losses.

Then last week, Blue Cross of Idaho submitted five "Freedom Blue" plans it wants to sell in the state starting in April that would not comply with the ACA's regulations.

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