Patients with Serious Illnesses Will Face Greater Barriers to Health Care Under Proposed Administration Guidance

Allowing Increased Access to Bare Bones Plans Will Further Destabilize the Private Insurance Market

October 22, 2018

WASHINGTON – October 22, 2018 – The administration released guidance today to give states expanded authority to offer less comprehensive plans to individuals who purchase their health insurance coverage through the individual market.

A statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

“On behalf of more than 1.7 million individuals who are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in America this year, ACS CAN shares the administration’s goal of achieving affordable health coverage; however that affordability cannot come at the cost of adequate coverage.

“The intent of the law was to guarantee individuals had a minimum standard of health coverage adequate to treat a serious illness if and when they got sick. This guidance will effectively eliminate that protection, allowing consumers to use federal subsidies to purchase inadequate insurance products that provide no guarantee they will be covered when they need it most.

“In combination with recent regulatory decisions related to the health insurance market, today’s guidance threatens the stability of insurance markets and returns to a time when many patients with serious illness like cancer could be turned down for insurance or charged significantly more because of their health history. The guidance offered promotes plans that do not provide the kind of comprehensive health care coverage most Americans need and will once again permit discrimination based on pre-existing conditions like cancer. 

“Allowing states to give wider berth to bare bones plans will hurt those who need access to comprehensive, quality, affordable coverage now and leave those who get sick while on these plans vulnerable to exorbitant out-of-pocket costs when they are forced to pay for all of the care not included in their insurance.

“ACS CAN calls on the administration to withdraw this guidance and focus on strengthening insurance markets to work for those with pre-existing conditions.”

Media Contacts

Alissa Crispino
Vice President, Media Advocacy