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Non-ACA-Compliant Plans and the Risk of Market Segmentation

Increasingly, health coverage that does not meet the consumer protection standards of the Affordable Care Act’s comprehensive policies is being heavily marketed to the public, in part due to actions of the federal government. Collectively known as “alternative forms of coverage”, these include short-term plans, association health plans and health-sharing ministries offered by religious organizations. A recent report, commissioned by the Consumer Representatives to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (of which Consumers Union is one), examines the risks of these forms of health coverage to individuals who buy them mistakenly believing they are comprehensive and to the individual health insurance market. This report discusses historical data, trends, recent complaints to state regulators and the reasons that these alternative coverage options result in market segmentation.