Rauner should veto short-term health coverage bill, independent insurance broker says
Short-term health plan legislation that was sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner more than a month ago should be vetoed to protect middle-income Illinoisans, the founder of an independent insurance brokerage firm said.
"House Bill 2624 will be devastating to Illinois consumers who do not qualify for Affordable Care Act subsidies," C. Steven Tucker, Health Insurance Mentors founder and principal broker, told North Cook News. "These consumers have been forced to absorb premium increases of more than 200 percent in the last five years."
Many consumers in Illinois who rely on the short-term plans would lose them if HB 2624 became law, Tucker said.
"More than 1.1 million people have canceled their outrageously expensive ACA-qualified health plans since 2017 and have opted instead for the type of health insurance that HB 2624 seeks to eliminate," he said.
HB 2624, the Health Insurance Rate Review Act, would limit sales of short-term health plans in Illinois to about six months out of the year and require insurers selling the plan to provide plain language in their sales and marketing material. The bill, filed in February by Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview), passed both chambers of the general assembly in late May and was sent to the governor's office on June 29.
Two carriers offer consecutive short-term coverage in Illinois and provide a written guarantee of up to four consecutive 90-day policies, which ensures continuous coverage to consumers should the need arise during a given year, Tucker said.
"These plans do not cover preexisting conditions and they also have coverage caps of $4 million per person when stacked together," he said. "Because of these defined coverage caps, consecutive short-term plans are much less expensive and, unlike ACA-qualified plans, they do provide access to Chicago's teaching hospitals."
A signed HB 2624 would run afoul of the final rule for fully and self-insured Association Health Plans under the Internal Revenue Service, Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Health and Human Services, Tucker said.
"The solution is for [Rauner] to veto HB 2624 so that the final rule posted in the federal register by the IRS, EBSA (Employee Benefits Security Administration) and HHS (Health and Human Services) on Aug. 3 is allowed to be implemented in the state of Illinois as it will be on that date in the majority of other states around the nation," Tucker said. "Those who do not qualify for ACA subsidies in the state of Illinois are desperate for premium relief."
A signed HB 2624 also would be keenly felt by middle-income Illinoisans, Tucker said.
"If [Rauner] fails to veto this bill, it will have a devastating financial impact on Illinois consumers who purchase short-term health insurance, get sick and are then forced to pay a separate deductible every 90 days," he said.