Trump administration releases ACA stabilization rules

(Bloomberg) – The Trump administration on Wednesday released proposed regulations that would stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s markets, tightening the times when people can sign up for health insurance and giving insurers greater flexibility in designing plans sold through the law.

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A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Barack Obama's health-care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), holds up a "ACA is Here to Stay" sign after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to save Obamacare tax subsidies outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 25, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the nationwide tax subsidies that are a core component of President Barack Obama's health-care law rejecting a challenge that had threatened to gut the measure and undercut his legacy. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The proposed rules would shorten the regular sign-up period for individual health plans sold under the ACA to a month and a half. They would also curtail so-called special enrollment periods, that allow people to sign up for coverage outside the regular window, and that insurers have said let people game the system and sign up only after they get sick.

Another provision is targeted at people who enroll in coverage, then stop paying. In those cases, health insurers could apply new payments from a customer to past debts on unpaid premiums. The administration said such a rule was “important as a means of encouraging individuals to maintain continuous coverage throughout the year and prevent gaming.”

Another proposed rule would give health insurers more flexibility to change the value of the coverage they provide, in order to keep up-front premiums stable from year-to-year.

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