Experts at the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) expressed concern over recent proposals by the Trump Administration to increase health insurance costs for older adults purchasing coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplace and to expand so-called "short-term," limited-protection health insurance. Such coverage--which would not be subject to important protections under present law safeguarding essential benefits and coverage for pre-existing conditions--risks increasing costs and the stability of health coverage at a time when more Americans than ever before are poised to benefit from increased longevity thanks to better care.
"We oppose changes that increase costs and impede access to key services for older Americans, families, and caregivers," noted AGS Chief Executive Officer Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. "We agree that health care can be improved, but that can't happen with 'short-term' solutions that short-change our options, benefits, and costs."
The White House memo proposes changes that would allow insurers to charge people in their 50s and 60s five times as much for health insurance purchased on the ACA marketplace versus premiums for younger enrollees. The Trump Administration also would like to enable access to a year's worth of "short-term" health coverage, which skirts several critical patient protections under present law. Insurers would be able to deny Americans coverage based on past medical history, charge higher premiums because of preexisting conditions, and offer health plans that limit or preclude access to benefits currently deemed "essential," such as preventive and wellness services and hospitalization. While such plans are presently available to consumers as short-term solutions for up to three months, experts are concerned that treating them as full replacements for comprehensive coverage would leave Americans and families with serious health concerns at risk for poorer care quality and increased costs--with even deeper ramifications for society and Americans' health over the long-term.
In light of these concerns, the AGS continues to call for bipartisan collaboration and ample opportunities for feedback on health reform from the American public. "Ensuring a thoughtful debate that considers the needs of Americans at all stages of our lives," said Lundebjerg, "is our best chance for a future when all of us can have access to consistent, high-quality, person-centered, and affordable health care."
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has--for more than 75 years--worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.