Proposed Insurance Rule Won’t Protect Patients and Weakens Market

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Statement attributable to:
Michael Munger, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The Administration’s proposal to allow Americans to buy extended, short-term health insurance is a step back to the days when companies sold low-value insurance policies that subjected our patients to catastrophic medical bills and medical bankruptcy.

“Today’s proposed rule would exempt these short-term plans from Affordable Care Act consumer protections such as covering pre-existing conditions or essential benefits, which include prescriptions, laboratory tests, hospitalization and maternity care. It would allow plans to once again establish caps on annual benefits. Limiting benefits can expose patients to extraordinarily high out-of-pocket costs, particularly for people who have chronic or life-threatening conditions that require costly treatment, close monitoring and ongoing medication.

“Equally troublesome, these plans further destabilize the individual market by drawing young, healthy people away from meaningful, comprehensive coverage that meets ACA standards. Allowing the healthy to gamble with low-quality insurance will also raise ACA-compliant plans’ premiums, putting better coverage beyond the reach of millions of the sickest Americans.

“The American Academy of Family Physicians has steadfastly called for policies that ensure all Americans have access to affordable, meaningful health insurance. Federal policies should support patient-centered insurance reforms that prohibit insurers from selling plans that fail to provide meaningful coverage.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Munger, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or


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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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