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Short-Term Limited Duration Plans

March 19, 2019

Insurers, doctors and patient groups filed a lawsuit in September against the administration to invalidate a new rule that could disrupt the health insurance market by extending for up to three years "short-term" policies that lack Affordable Care Act-guaranteed benefits.  The rule, finalized in August and set to take effect October 2, significantly extends the amount of time permitted for short-term limited duration (STLD) plans. The plaintiffs groups originally requested a preliminary injunction (PI) to keep the rule from taking effect, arguing that the STLD rule violates the executive branch’s duty to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in accordance with Congressional intent when it passed the law.  The ACA requires insurers to provide coverage at set rates regardless of health history, gender or age. Those protections aren't offered by STLD or “skinny” plans, which under the previous administration lasted a maximum of three months but could now be extended to 36 if the rule remains effect.  A PI would have prevented agents from marketing the plans during open enrollment, which began November 1.

ACS and ACS CAN, in partnership with a number of other patient groups, filed an amicus brief in support of the PI.  Our brief provided the court with information and scientific evidence on the importance of access to comprehensive, affordable insurance for prevention and treatment of illnesses such as cancer.  Read the press release.

Based on oral arguments, plaintiffs decided to withdraw their PI motion.  Our groups filed an updated amicus curiae brief on the merits in March of this year.