WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 8, 2018 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement today on a proposed rule released late last week by the U.S. Department of Labor that would expand the use of association health plans (AHPs):
“This proposed Department of Labor rule is the first of several anticipated rules that could erode coverage and raise costs for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). It would allow associations to sell health plans with fewer consumer protections – putting patients with preexisting conditions, like heart disease and stroke, at a much greater risk.
In the past, AHPs have offered low premium coverage to individuals who have limited or no access to employer-sponsored coverage, but with high out-of-pocket costs. This new rule, if finalized, would allow AHPs to go further by eliminating coverage for needed services included in the essential health benefits package – like hospitalization, emergency care, rehabilitation services and prescription drugs. Those who are drawn into these plans could find their coverage inadequate and very costly in terms of their out-of-pocket expenses when they get sick. By attracting healthier individuals into these AHPs, those who remain on the individual market could see their premiums spike.
The Trump Administration’s and Congress’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act, including the mandate repeal, a shorter enrollment period, and cuts to consumer outreach combined with this proposed rule will have a devastating impact on Americans struggling with cardiovascular disease. With fewer young and healthy individuals participating in the individual market, CVD patients will likely see their insurance premiums rise dramatically, making it much more challenging to secure the care they deserve.
The association is reviewing this proposed rule in detail and will continue to encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to put the complex needs of Americans with CVD first.”
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the American Stroke Association
The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the Association's science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.
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