Thirty patient groups, representing millions of Americans who live with pre-existing conditions, published a new report that describes the risks patients face when they enroll in non-compliant, substandard health insurance products. The report calls on federal and state lawmakers to take immediate action to limit the proliferation of these inadequate health plans.

The report, Under-Covered: How Insurance-Like Products are Leaving Patients Exposed, details eight different types of non-compliant plans that do not adhere to Affordable Care Act consumer protections like coverage for pre-existing conditions, elimination of annual and lifetime coverage limits and coverage for essential health benefits.

The plans have proliferated in recent years, and in many cases, are marketed to consumers who don鈥檛聽fully understand what they鈥檙e purchasing. As a result, patients are often vulnerable to exorbitant聽medical bills. This report serves as a warning to consumers to avoid these plans 鈥 and a call to action to聽lawmakers.

鈥淎llowing these plans to remain on the market effectively turns back the clock to the days when insurers聽could reject people with pre-existing conditions, exclude coverage for specific diseases and hike聽premiums based on an individual鈥檚 medical history, gender or age without limits,鈥 the coalition of 30聽patient groups said. The new report chronicles the stories of six patients who struggled with their health and finances after their substandard health coverage refused to pay for their treatment. In addition to leaving patients without adequate coverage, the products also increase costs for individuals and families who rely on ACA-compliant, comprehensive coverage by siphoning younger and healthier people away from the regulated insurance market.

The new report details the specific harms of many types of non-compliant health plans and urges state聽and federal policymakers to take immediate steps to protect patients by limiting their expansion. The聽report also provides specific recommendations that policymakers should move quickly to implement to聽protect consumers.

鈥淲e鈥檙e calling on Congress, the Biden Administration and state policy makers to take immediate steps聽to mitigate the harm of these substandard products,鈥 the patient organizations said. 鈥淧atients need and聽deserve better, and once again, must be ensured access to comprehensive, affordable coverage.鈥

Read the full report here.

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