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Senate Democrats fail to stop Trump's short-term, ACA-skirting plan

Senate Democrats took a stab, but came up short at stopping the new short-term limited-duration (STLD) plan rule that would allow beneficiaries to keep low-cost health insurance that doesn't meet ACA standards for up to three years.

STLD plans were originally conceived under the Affordable Care Act as a stopgap to be used when beneficiaries were between compliant plans in 2010. Such plans were allowed to omit coverage of pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits, and could have lifetime and/or annual dollar limits. 

Beneficiaries were at first allowed to use these plans in place of mandated ACA-compliant plans for up to one year, but the Obama Administration, sensing that beneficiaries were using them to get around purchasing the more expensive compliant plans, which were then required by the individual mandate, shortened the coverage limit to three months.

The final rule issued by HHS and the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration on Aug. 3, 2018 made the plans renewable up to three years, and is generally considered to be another Trump administration blow against the ACA.

All Democrats in the Senate rallied to the attempt by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D.-Wisc.) to pass a discharge petition to block the rule, reports Health Affairs, but could only lure one Republican, Susan Collins (R.-Maine) to their cause, and failed a majority.

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