Patient Groups Urge HHS Secretary Azar to Reject Idaho Bulletin; Uphold Patient Protections in Health Care Law

February 14, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC – February 14, 2018 – ACS CAN joined more than a dozen patient groups to send a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar today urging the Secretary to clarify that the Idaho bulletin allowing health plans to be sold on the individual market that would essentially discriminate against older and sicker individuals would violate numerous requirements of the health care law that provide essential protections to individuals and families.

The groups who represent millions of patients facing serious, acute, and chronic health conditions across the country note, “Idaho’s action—if it is permitted to stand—would seriously injure Idaho patients and consumers and significantly destabilize Idaho’s entire health insurance market.”

Idaho’s insurance bulletin would allow the sale of products that could:

  • Deny coverage of pre-existing conditions for those with a break in coverage;
  • Charge older Americans up to five times as much as younger Americans;
  • Impose higher premiums on people with pre-existing conditions;
  • Put a dollar limit on insurance benefits;
  • Increase consumers’ annual out-of-pocket costs; and
  • Exclude key health benefits such as maternity care, newborn care, habilitative services, and pediatric vision and dental services—and potentially others such as contraceptive services and cancer screening.

Under the bulletin, a person who is both older and has a pre-existing condition could be charged premiums up to fifteen times more than a young, healthy American.

The letter goes on to state that the sale of bare bones plans could lead to increased medical debt and uncompensated care. It concludes by calling on Secretary Azar to act on behalf of patients, and “make clear that Idaho cannot authorize the issuance of health insurance coverage that violates federal law, and that any insurer that issues such plans risks enforcement action and serious penalties.”

For a copy of the letter, visit:


Media Contacts

Alissa Crispino
Vice President, Media Advocacy