U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org file photo
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org file photo

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has called on Connecticut’s insurance commissioner to ban or restrict short-term health insurance plans, as other states have.

The Trump administration recently released new rules that would allow the sale of cheaper, skimpier health care plans that were originally intended for short-term use — not more than three months — but would now be available for nearly 12 months at a time. Under the new regulations, these plans could be renewed for up to three years.

In a letter to Insurance Department Commissioner Katharine Wade, Blumenthal, D-Conn., said these plans are “inherently deceptive and fail to provide critically important coverage.”

This is a picture of Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade.
Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade. Arielle Levin Becker / The CT Mirror

“Other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have banned such ‘junk plans’ or put reasonable restrictions in place, recognizing that they are no more than a security blanket — providing a false sense of safety while offering little real protection,” he wrote.

Donna Tommelleo, spokeswoman for the insurance department, said Tuesday that they had received the letter and will be responding to it.

Unlike Affordable Care Act plans, these plans, Blumenthal said, can exclude pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental health conditions and past pregnancies. Additionally, these plans aren’t required to cover “common medical expenses,” like maternity care, substance-use disorder treatment, preventive services, mental health treatment and prescription drugs.

“Connecticut should not aid the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage and undermine the ACA by luring consumers away from exchange policies with the false promise of low cost coverage,” he said in his letter.

Editor’s note: A sentence from this story was removed. The sentence inaccurately said that Connecticut state law currently allows for the sale of skimpy, short-term health plans for a duration of six months or less. State law prohibits the sale of these skimpy, short-term plans, according to the Connecticut Insurance Department.

Avatar photo

Mackenzie Rigg

Mackenzie is a former health reporter at CT Mirror. Prior to her time at CT Mirror, she covered health care, social services and immigration for the News-Times in Danbury and has more than a decade of reporting experience. She traveled to Uganda for the News-Times to report an award-winning five-part series about a Connecticut doctor's experience in Africa. A native of upstate New York, she started her journalism career at The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass., and worked at Newsday on Long Island for three years. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she wrote her master's thesis about illegal detentions in Haiti's women's prison.

Leave a comment