Short-term health plans are being held up as the answer to a health care system that is overall too expensive and too often inaccessible. Lately, there has been an effort to make short-term plans more popular and to take away the ACA’s patient protections (like no preexisting conditions exclusions).
These short-term plans, also known as junk plans, usually don’t cover critical health care services and decide premium rates by gender, health status, and age. More importantly, junk plans put individuals and families at significant financial risk because they do not cover catastrophic events.
Unfortunately, health care emergencies are never planned events. Something Kyla M., 46 year old mother of 2, found out in 2016. According to Kyla, “At age 43 I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. This is the most difficult of all breast cancers to treat.”
After being uninsured for years, Kyla now considers her decision to sign up for a Marketplace plan in 2014 to be one that saved her life. “I made the decision to purchase health insurance through the ACA. Luckily the insurance company was not able to discriminate against me for having a pre-existing condition," she explains.
What came next were treatments and medications that, for an uninsured person, would be as financially draining as it was emotionally and physically. Kyla describes the ordeal, “I underwent bilateral mastectomies followed by 8 grueling rounds of chemotherapy. I was given 3 different types of chemo as well as many other medications to counteract the side effects of the chemo. I had a blood transfusion, reconstructive breast surgery, an oophorectomy, and an appendectomy. None of these lifesaving surgeries and treatments would’ve been available to me without the ACA.”
The appeal of short-term plans for some may be that they’re less expensive, but consumers purchasing these short term plans will lose the real patient protections at the most devastating time of their lives.
Kyla concludes that “…the ACA is by no means free. I pay monthly premiums, co-pays and deductibles. It isn't perfect but it saved my life. My children would be motherless and my husband a widower without my healthcare.”
Please help us protect patients. Share your story or send an email now to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and urge them to step in and prevent short term plans from taking hold in Florida!