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Trump health plan gets mixed reviews in CT


Mary Ann Hebert, a director and past president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors, said the state’s real estate agents are independent contractors who often struggle to find affordable health insurance. Hebert said the National Association of ...


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https://www.flickr.com/people/pictures-of-money/ / Cheap Full Coverage Auto InsuranceHealth insurance policy Washington –  Connecticut officials have joined a pushback against a Trump administration plan to allow unrelated employers to band together so they can provide their employees affordable — but perhaps limited — health care, while others in the state are celebrating the move. The plan, proposed by President Donald Trump in October, is being implemented by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who is in the process of issuing a rule that would allow employers to join together to form an association health plan, or AHP, if they share a common industry or geographic area. The Trump administration hopes it will provide small employers flexibility to offer cheaper coverage to to their workers, while cutting the red tape that has discouraged these small businesses from forming association health plans in the past. The Labor Department has allowed for the public to comment on the plan for 60 days, ending March 6, and will issue a final rule after that. The more than 100 comments trend against changing the rules, although a number of business associations and people who work as individual contractors – including Realtors – said they are enthusiastic about the proposed changes. There are several concerns about easing the rules for association health plans, of which there are about 600 across the country today. One concern, shared by state insurance commissioners like Connecticut’s Katharine Wade, is that plans may cross state lines and not be subject to state regulation, which includes making sure an associated health plan remains solvent and can pay all its claims. Wade also is concerned that state consumer safeguards are not weakened. Critics of the plans also say they will not offer as much coverage as the Affordable Care Act mandates and that the expansion of association health plans will undermine the ACA’s state marketplaces, resulting in higher premiums for those who purchase their insurance there. “They have had a checkered history,” said RepJoe Courtney, D-2nd District, of the plans. In its public comments, the American Academy of Actuaries said the new association plans could rate individuals by occupation and gender, which the ACA does not allow, and by age, which the ACA limits. “If treated as large groups, as proposed, AHPs would be subject to more flexible rating rules compared to Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plans,” the academy said“ Due to this increased flexibility, AHPs could offer lower premiums for lower-cost groups and higher premiums for higher-cost groupsAs a result, AHPs could benefit from positive selection — that is, they would attract a lower-cost enrollee populationIn contrast, ACA plans would be subject to adverse selection — they would attract a higher-cost enrollee population, which would lead to higher ACA premiums.” AHPs would be prohibited from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditionsBut some worry they would end up without the care they need because of limitations on coverage. “The National Kidney Foundation is concerned that, without requiring AHPs to provide essential health benefits, discrimination – in the form of denying coverage for vital medications and treatments – could still occur,” the foundation told the Labor Department. Courtney, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, joined a number of lawmakers who recently wrote to Acosta about his proposed changes to the rules governing association health plans. “You have stated that the objective of this regulation is to ‘expand employer and employee access to more affordable, high-quality coverage,’ a goal we share,” the lawmakers wrote“However, we are concerned that the impact analysis fails to explain sufficiently how the department expects this proposed rule to achieve the desired outcomeFor that reason, we respectfully request specific additional information on how the Department has determined this proposed rule’s potential impacts on coverage quality and cost – from the perspective of employers and employees.” Courtney said, “I suspect (the Labor Department) does not have much data at all.” ‘A win-win for everybody‘ The National Federation of Independent Businesses wrote the Labor Department that it supports Acosta’s proposal, although a full repeal of Obamacare would be better. “Repeal of the scheme established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act … and its replacement by patient-centered, market-based healthcare remains essential,” the federation said, but it also said it appreciates the Labor Department’s efforts to “reduce the damage'” while the ACA remains in force. The nation’s Realtors also support the expansion of association health plans. Mary Ann Hebert, a director and past president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors, said the state’s real estate agents are independent contractors who often struggle to find affordable health insurance. Hebert said the National Association of Realtors, which has more than 1 million members, could establish a national planBut Acosta’s rules also would allow state and regional association plans. “This would allow us a nice, affordable plan,” Hebert said of the proposed changes“It’s a win-win for everybody.” Print Filed Under: Health CarePoliticsWashingtonAffordable Care ActAlexander AcostaAssociation Health PlansConnecticut Association of RealtorsDonald Trumpinsurance commissionersJoe CourtneyLabor DepartmentNFIBpremiums About Ana RadelatMore by this authorAna is a longtime Washington correspondent who has won numerous awards, including from The Associated Press and Gannett, has written for more than a dozen newspapers, including USAToday; The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger; the Shreveport (La.) Times; and the Montgomery (Ala.) AdvertiserShe’s also been a regular contributor to other publications, including the Miami Herald and Advertising AgeSome of the stories Ana has broken focused on the strategies of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former SenTrent Lott’s fall from power and questionable Hurricane Katrina contractsA regular contributor to WNPR, Connecticut Public Radio, a partner of The Mirror, Ana is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of JournalismE-mail her at aradelat@ctmirror.org. Follow @@radelat More About Health CarePoliticsWashingtonAffordable Care ActDonald TrumpJoe Courtney Two reps embody the split on legalizing marijuanaNew Haven State RepJuan Candelaria got to see firsthand last week the face of opposition to his proposal to legalize recreational use of marijuana: It is suburbanAnd possibly wearing braces. Trump's budget swings at drug prices with a glancing blowCalifornia's regulators to investigate Aetna's medical coverage decisions View all Health Care Posts → Trump considering support of Murphy-Cornyn gun billWASHINGTON — Grappling to respond to the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., President Donald Trump is considering support of a bill introduced by SenChris Murphy and Texas Republican SenJohn Cornyn that would tighten FBI background checks of prospective gun purchasersBut Murphy tweeted, "No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic." Linda McMahon in Washington, re-imagining the SBATwo reps embody the split on legalizing marijuana View all Politics Posts → Trump considering support of Murphy-Cornyn gun billWASHINGTON — Grappling to respond to the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., President Donald Trump is considering support of a bill introduced by SenChris Murphy and Texas Republican SenJohn Cornyn that would tighten FBI background checks of prospective gun purchasersBut Murphy tweeted, "No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic." Linda McMahon in Washington, re-imagining the SBATrump's budget swings at drug prices with a glancing blow View all Washington Posts → Blumenthal, Murphy sour on Trump HHS pickWASHINGTON — Like his predecessor, the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services, has sparked controversy and sharp criticism from Democrats, including SensRichard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. Shutdown impact on CT would depend on how long it lastsMalloy says he won't impose work requirements on Medicaid View all Affordable Care Act Posts → Trump considering support of Murphy-Cornyn gun billWASHINGTON — Grappling to respond to the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., President Donald Trump is considering support of a bill introduced by SenChris Murphy and Texas Republican SenJohn Cornyn that would tighten FBI background checks of prospective gun purchasersBut Murphy tweeted, "No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic." Linda McMahon in Washington, re-imagining the SBASchool massacre provokes calls for 'red flag' laws like one CT pioneered View all Donald Trump Posts → School massacre provokes calls for 'red flag' laws like one CT pioneeredWASHINGTON — The school shooting in Parkland, Fla., has opened a debate on whether more states should do what Connecticut was first to do -- pass laws that allow the confiscation of weapons from those who are believed to be a danger to others and themselves. Trump budget calls for huge increases in CT-made subs, 'coptersCT Dems scorch memo charging FBI, DOJ abuses View all Joe Courtney Posts → Previous PostLinda McMahon in Washington, re-imagining the SBANext PostNew-crime recidivism rates continue to show modest improvement Comments comments Our SponsorsMorning Briefing Receive Our Free Daily Briefing #mc_embed_signup{background: none; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;position:relative;width: 100%; margin-bottom: -44px;margin-top: -12px;} #mc_embed_signup .mc-field-group { padding-bottom: 10px; margin-bottom: 0; min-height: 0px !important; position: static; } #theButton { margin-top: 0px; float: right; z-index: 1000 !important; border-radius: 0; } #mc_embed_signup .mc-field-group input { padding: 8px 0 8px; font-size: 10px; text-transform: uppercase; font-family: "Futura",Arial,sans-serif; letter-spacing: 1px; } #mc_embed_signup .button { border-radius: 0px; height: 31px; font-family: "Futura","Arial",Sans-serif; text-transform: uppercase; font-size: 11px; padding: 0px 12px; margin: 0; position: absolute; top: 10px; right: 0; background: #ddd; color: #434343; } #mc_embed_signup .button:hover { background: #EDE698;} #mc_embed_signup div.response { float: left; margin: 0px 0; padding: 0 0; font-weight: bold; float: left; top: 0em; left: -0; z-index: 1; /* border: 1px solid #ccc; */ width: 100%; background: white; font-size: 12px; } #mc_embed_signup form { display: block; position: relative; text-align: left; padding: 10px 0 0px 0%; } #mc_embed_signup input.email { width:100%; } input#mce-EMAIL:focus { outline: none; } #mc_embed_signup input { border: 1px solid #ddd; -webkit-appearance: none; border-radius: 0px; }

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