Idaho health insurance plans draw Trump administration warning

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The state has announced its intentions to allow certain medical policies that don’t comply with the ACA.

The Trump administration has sent a written warning regarding Idaho health insurance plans. The state revealed its intentions to begin selling health policies that fail to meet the Affordable Care Act’s minimum requirements.

The Trump administration said Idaho’s move “may not be substantially enforcing” the health care law.

The letter was issued as a warning. Trump’s administration sent it to Idaho’s governor, Butch Otter (R). The letter was also sent to the Idaho insurance director, Dean Cameron. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator penned the warning. That said, it is meant as a caution, not a block to the Idaho health insurance plans.

The state recently announced its intentions to start selling health plans lacking some ACA required benefits. The missing benefits include maternity care and coverage for certain preexisting conditions.

The letter indicates the Idaho health insurance plans may not be permitted to move forward.

The letter is meant to present a stern warning from the Department of Health and Human Services. The state should consider it a heads up that resistance is on its way from the federal government.

At the same time, several legal and health policy experts have labeled Idaho’s strategy illegal. The health plans have generated considerable controversy in their snub to the ACA. That said, Cameron insisted at the end of last week that the state was not ready to give up.

The administration’s intentions to respond to Idaho’s efforts to create its own separate health insurance ecosystem was not yet announced by the time this article was written. That said, this will be a major test for HHS Secretary Alex Azar who remains new to his position. The situation requires Azar to find a balance between Trump and his own priorities. Then, he will need to balance that outcome with states rebelling against the ACA.

Azar has yet to reveal his intentions for the Idaho health insurance plans. He does not want to act in a “premature” way, he said. Unless Idaho insurance regulators actually approve the policies for sale, the HHS does not need to take additional steps, said Azar.

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