Trump’s Plan for Cheaper Health Insurance Could Have Hidden Costs

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WASHINGTON — President Trump’s plan to expand access to skimpy short-term health insurance policies, as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, would affect more people and cost the government more money than the administration estimated, an independent federal study says.

The study, by Medicare’s chief actuary, suggests that the new policies would appeal mainly to healthy people, including many who have had comprehensive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The administration estimated in February that a few hundred thousand people might sign up for the “short-term, limited-duration policies,” which would not have to provide the standard health benefits like preventive services, maternity care or prescription drug coverage.

But the chief actuary, Paul Spitalnic, estimates that 1.4 million people could sign up for the short-term policies in the first year, with enrollment reaching 1.9 million by 2022.

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