If you see ads for Trumpcare during this health insurance enrollment season, keep in mind that there’s really no such thing as a “Trumpcare” program. These pitches are just hooks to connect you with insurance brokers who most likely want to sell you a short-term insurance plan that won’t protect you when you need it most.
Last year, the Trump administration made it easier to purchase such bare-bones, short term insurance plans. The plans don’t have to cover preexisting conditions or the essential health benefits provided by Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) plans. In addition, while the law used to restrict short-term plans to three months, folks in most states can now purchase a non-ACA compliant “short-term” plan that lasts as long as three years. (Some states have placed more stringent restrictions on short-term plans, however.)
Know What You’re Getting
In this era of confusion and outright deception with regard to health insurance, the danger is that consumers who don’t understand the differences between short-term and comprehensive coverage will buy what seem to be affordable plans, thinking they’re covered when they’re not. Bloomberg Businessweek recently highlighted this issue, profiling a family — the Diazes — facing more than $244,00 in medical bills. An insurance broker led the Diazes to believe they had comprehensive coverage when, in truth, their plan offered minimal benefits.
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge temporarily shut down a Florida-based operation that allegedly collected more than $100 million by preying on Americans in search of health insurance, selling these consumers worthless plans that left tens of thousands of people uninsured. Many of these consumers have incurred substantial medical expenses and have been stuck with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills.
Among many misleading practices, the shut-down companies sometimes lured buyers by calling these policies “Trumpcare.”
Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to good health insurance coverage. Don’t sign up for a plan unless you see the details in writing and understand what you’re getting.
Open enrollment for 2020 health insurance plans starts on November 1. (Except in California, where it began on October 15.) In most states, you’ll have until December 15 to compare plans and choose the one that best meets your needs.
To learn more about finding affordable health insurance in your state, see our Affordable Care Act learning center.