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Press Release

Rep. Castor Reintroduces Legislation to Throw Away Junk Plans For Good

Legislation would protect Americans from costly, insufficient health plans

This week, Energy and Commerce Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Kathy Castor (D-FL), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and Department of the Treasury urging immediate action to roll back the Trump administration’s troubling expansion of Short-Term, Limited Duration Health Insurance (STLDI) plans, also known as “junk plans.”

Junk plans often do not provide the same critical consumer protections as required for plans provided under the Affordable Care Act. Junk plans systematically discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions, are subject to annual or lifetime limits, and fail to cover needed benefits and basic medical services. In 2018, the Trump administration allowed a dangerous expansion of junk plans, leaving more customers on the hook for exorbitant medical bills.

Now, with an eye to protecting consumers and ensuring access to quality care, Rep. Castor is reintroducing H.R. 711, the “Throw Away Junk Plans Act,” legislation to eliminate the exemption for junk plans from the ACA’s consumer protections. The timing is critical because the redetermination period begins for Medicaid on April 1st. It is time to ensure that all insurance options for beneficiaries who lose their Medicaid coverage are held to the same standards.

“Junk plans are no substitute for meaningful health insurance. In order to protect millions of Americans from insufficient, costly junk plans that include major coverage limitations, I am calling for the Congress and the Biden Administration to act to protect access to health care for all Americans. All too often, many preexisting conditions also are not covered in junk policies,” said U.S. Rep. Castor. “Junk policies return us to the ‘bad old days’ when insurance companies could cancel your policy when you get sick and exclude conditions in the fine print. The fraudulent tactics that these corporations often engage in to skirt paying medical bills and leave consumers on the hook for costly, out-of-pocket charges are inconsistent with the requirements of the ACA – requirements that a health policy will not discriminate and comes with a concrete set of essential health benefits. The expansion of junk plans was pushed by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans when their efforts to repeal the ACA failed. It’s time we throw away junk plans once and for all.”