Short-term plans are not real health insurance, but shoddy junk plans that leave users vulnerable
We buy insurance with one goal in mind: to have financial protection if the worst should happen. This is true for all types of insurance, whether it is coverage we buy to protect our car, our home, or our health.
That’s why we were troubled by last week’s opinion piece by Elizabeth Patton (“Bill in Kansas Legislature would allow more choice is needed for health insurance needs”) .
Typically, they don’t cover pre-existing conditions or basic benefits like hospital visits or even prescription drugs. There’s no limit to how much they can charge customers, and people have no right to appeal if they’re denied coverage.
They aggressively and inaccurately market to younger, healthy people. But as we all know, we are only healthy until the day we are not. We are both moms who have experienced unexpected and serious health emergencies. One with a child with leukemia and another who suffered several heart attacks at a young age.
Luckily we had full coverage, but we’ve heard far too many stories of patients with these junk plans who thought they were covered – until they got sick and realized they had little or no protection.
Don’t just take our word for it. Last year, virtually every major patient organization warned consumers that these plans were a bad deal.
“Basically anyone who knows anything about health care is opposed to these proposals,” former Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger said in 2018 of these types of plans. More than 300 physician, nurse, patient, health insurance, hospital and consumer organizations endorsed the substance of his remarks.
Once consumers learn the truth about these plans, they agree with the professionals. A poll just released by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society found that 79% of Americans want short-term plans to follow the same rules as other insurance products – no more meager benefits, no more surprise cancellations. coverage in the event of illness, no more hidden ceilings on coverage.
And that view is shared by all parties – a rare moment of agreement in these polarized times.
We agree with Patton on one thing: our healthcare system is far from perfect. We look forward to working with anyone who wants to ensure that all Kansans can access affordable health coverage.
But an expansion of dangerous, cut-rate health plans that leave patients dry cannot be the answer.
Kacy Simonsen, of Topeka, is a volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Nancy Holland, of Leawood, is a volunteer with the American Heart Association.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Expansion of dangerous, cut-price health plans not an answer for the Kansans