Oct 9, 2017

Trump to expand access to cheaper, short-term health plans

Trump at the White House in September. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump will issue a new executive order this week rolling back a handful of Obama-era health care policies and expanding access to cheaper, less comprehensive insurance plans, The Wall Street Journal reports.

What it means: Association health plans and short-term insurance function similarly: They create lower-cost, less comprehensive options that are most likely to appeal to healthy people.

The details of the order, according to WSJ, are that it will:

  • Direct federal agencies to expand access to association health plans, which would be exempt from many of the Affordable Care Act's coverage requirements.
  • Expand access to short-term health plans, which also cover a more limited set of benefits, with a lower premium. President Obama limited those plans to 90 days; Trump will likely allow people to buy them for up to a year.
  • Allow consumers to use tax-preferred health savings accounts to pay their premiums.

The fear — among Democrats as well as insurance companies — is that those healthier consumers would choose these new plans and leave only sicker, more expensive consumers buying comprehensive coverage through the ACA's exchanges. If that happens, expect insurers to raise their rates or look for the exit.

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Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.