TAKING POSITIVE STEPS ON HEALTH INSURANCE

Americans will once again be able to buy what is known as short-term, limited-duration insurance for up to a year, assuming their state allows it. These plans are free from most Obamacare regulations, allowing them to cost between 50 and 80 percent less.

Insurers will also be able to sell renewable plans, allowing consumers to stay on their affordable coverage for up to 36 months. Consumers can also buy separate renewability protection, which will allow them to lock in low rates in their renewable plans even if they get sick.

Unsurprisingly, experts believe there will be healthy demand for these affordable options. Up to 2 million Americans, and possibly more, are expected to enroll within the next few years.

Such plans were offered for terms of up to 12 months for decades until, in an effort to push Americans into Obamacare, the previous administration restricted the plans to 90 days and prohibited insurers from renewing them beyond that time period. This eliminated them as an option except for the shortest transitions between other sources of coverage.

But these short-term plans can be a good option for many Americans priced out of Obamacare’s regulations — especially small-business owners, independent contractors in today’s “gig economy” and younger Americans transitioning between school and employment.

This is a move that will not solve the Obamacare problem in and of itself, but will certainly be a short-term help to millions who do not have traditional fulltime jobs and thus do not have employer sponsored health coverage.

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