In the Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday, Feb 14, we are hearing a long list of bills including two about health insurance.
HB2375 would extend short-duration insurance to three years. This insurance is currently capped at one year because it is seen as a stop-gap measure for people who are between jobs or disconnected from insurance for some reason.
HB2376 relates to association health care plans for small businesses and sole proprietors. This bill allows them to band together and buy insurance as a group. A concern with this idea is regarding the quality of insurance that will be purchased and how that will impact workers who will be included under these plan.
Will association health plans cover essential health benefits, like the Affordable Care Act does? Will they cover people with pre-existing conditions? Will they have lifetime insurance caps? Will coverage be determined by the employer’s “deeply held religious beliefs”?
These association health insurance plans will NOT be regulated by the Arizona Department of Insurance. I fear that this will be Wild West Health Insurance, which will be cheap but not comprehensive.
We still have a problem in this country with medical bankruptcy. People buy the insurance they can afford, rather than the insurance they need. Cheap plans don’t offer full coverage and can leave patients in dire financial straits.
On the macro-economic level, these plans could lure people out of the Healthcare Marketplace and weaken the system.
If you are on Request to Speak at the AZLeg website, please offer an opinion on 2375 and 2376.