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New Trump Rules Expand Health Insurance Options

June 22, 2019 - 7:45am
Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Three new finalized rules proposed by President Donald Trump to reshape health care in the U.S. could result in nearly two million more people with health insurance, produce nearly $50 billion of net economic benefit annually, and expand healthcare options for small business employers and employees, according to the administration.

The most recent finalized rule announced by the administration expands employer-funded healthcare arrangements (Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or HRAs), which the administration estimates will help about 800,000 businesses and millions of workers.

The Obama administration prohibited workers in the individual insurance market from using HRAs to pay for healthcare, arguing the plans offer less comprehensive coverage and don't meet Affordable Care Act standards.

“Trump's new rule undoes this misguided restriction,” Brian Blase, special assistant to the president at the National Economic Council, says.

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, employers will once again be able to offer HRAs for their employees to purchase individual market coverage for themselves and their families.

The administration says the rule change is designed to help small business employees purchase health insurance in an easier and less expensive way than through a traditional group health plan. The rule allows workers to use tax-advantaged money from their employers to buy the coverage of their choice, which allows them to keep their coverage when they switch jobs.

It also helps small businesses that cannot afford to provide the same level of benefits compete with larger ones. According to a survey of 2018 health benefits by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 80 percent of employers that provide insurance only offer one type of plan.

"As health insurance costs continue to climb, many small businesses cannot afford to offer health insurance to their employees,” Josh Archambault, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, told The Center Square. “Since 2003, there has been an almost 30 percent drop in health insurance offer rates at companies with fewer than 100 employees.”

"By expanding the purchasing power of HRAs, the Trump administration is giving employers a better way to attract, retain, and take care of talent – while extending access to private insurance to millions of Americans, many of whom are currently uninsured," Archambault added.

Between 2010 and 2018, the proportion of workers receiving healthcare through their employer’s plan (companies with 3-49 employees) fell by more than 25 percent, the KFF survey found. The administration says the rule is anticipated to reverse the decline, expecting 11 workers and family members to be using HRA funds to obtain individual coverage within five years.

The HRA rule may also increase the size of the individual market by more than 50 percent, Blase says.

Critics say because of less comprehensive nature of the HRAs, the insurance might not cover all of the costs of an individual who contracts a serious illness.

“It opens up an opportunity for healthy people to land with coverage that may be cheaper, but not necessarily as comprehensive,” Kevin Lucia, research professor at Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University, told The Los Angeles Times.

Another rule finalized by the administration, and under review in the courts, would allow businesses, including sole proprietors, to combine forces to obtain less expensive coverage through Association Health Plans (AHPs).

Yet another expands consumers' ability to purchase short-term plans, which the Council of Economic Advisers estimates will produce nearly $50 billion of net economic benefit per year.

The HRA rule, combined with the two additional rule changes, the administration projects, will result in nearly two million more people insured on net.

Bethany Blankley is a contributor mostly of national stories to The Center Square.


Insurance of all types, but especially health insurance, is just a Ponzi scheme. Let's get rid of health insurance completely. Prices are outrageous and doctors seem to have to manipulate the system and over-inflate charges to even get a dime out of the insurance companies. But the insurance companies charge us thousands of dollars a month for a premium which then has a deductible and tremendous out of pocket expenses. What's fair about that?? Try an ER visit: I received a bill for $27K. Being "cash pay" I got a discount of 60%. Then medicaid ended up covering it - their final expense was about $1,400. Why couldn't it be $1,400 from the beginning? No one would need insurance if it was reasonably priced for care. The whole system is completely infuriating and needs to implode.

"Insurance of all types is just a Ponzi scheme" WRONG!! Without insurance, international shipping and trade would literally halt - and that's just for starters. Insurance is absolutely necessary. What needs to happen is for the medical fields to be required to post their charges and be subject to collusion charges just as competitors in other fields.

Nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room. If there were not a 500 billion dollar a year middle man called the insurance industry to pay off and fund their 50 billion dollar annual lobby, perhaps people could actually afford health insurance... Don't forget that Repubs promptly deregulated the insurance industry immediately after Obamacare was passed, so the insurance industry could raise rates unchecked and reduce coverage unchecked... all under the guise to blame it on Obamacare. Of course the sheep believed it...and still do!

Obozocare was a scam. So glad he individual mandate was defeated.

Worthless. Just more undoing of whatever was adopted during the Obama administration. It's difficult to find ANYTHING that the Republicans have done in the last 40 years that has actually directly benefited the general public.

Since your forced Democratic Socialist health insurance, I haven't had health insurance! I CAN'T AFFORD IT! Thank you democratic scum!

Defeating Hillary most certainly directly benefited the general public.

Some people are never happy no matter what is proposed. We are moving in the right direction to make health care affordable and workable.

My Boy pal makes $seventy five/hour at the internet. She has been without a assignment for six months however remaining month her pay have become $16453 genuinely working at the internet for some hours. c HERE

Wonders, how so many idiots can dance on a pin of ignorance, wake up and see what you have wrought, partisan division is a gift brought to you by those who seek greater profit, it is pitiful to see so many people lining up to swear allegiance to poverty death and destruction, it is shameful that so many great minds salute ignorance, salute wars, salute suffering, has it come to your mind in this place, do you wonder what can you do?

Somehow you can guarantee yourself that the Democrat party and its ilk are going to say that having expanded Health Insurance options is worse than having fewer Health Insurance options.

Without whistle blowers we would never know

Such a thoughtful pose for the camera, I wonder is this the Best that The USA has to offer?

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