The policies will be available for 12 months at a time, up from a current limit of three, and customers will be able to renew them for additional years.
But behind these somewhat comical linguistic gymnastics lie some very real dangers for patients, especially those with chronic health conditions.
Four cities are suing the Trump administration over efforts taken against the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. While that allows the plans to have lower price tag - the average monthly premium for short-term health plans was $124 in 2016, compared to $393 for unsubsidized individual market plans - the coverage is less extensive.
Baldwin, a member of Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said Trump has been sabotaging the health system "by undermining guaranteed health protection and access to affordable care", which has resulted in "severe instability", and notable premium spikes in Wisconsin earlier this year. But they may have higher out-of-pocket costs, as well as yearly or lifetime limits on coverage forbidden by the ACA.
Short-term insurance policies go further than the association health plans in the ways they are exempt from parts of the 2010 health-care law that are meant to protect consumers from shoddy insurance that disadvantages consumers who need it most.
Until now, the health-care law had a built-in deterrent for those considering short-term plans. According to NBC News, 3 million fewer people had health insurance in 2017 compared to the year prior, and city-subsidized health centers in Columbus saw nearly 3,000 more uninsured patients.
This is pure politics, It overlooks the nature of the plans: they are short-term plans, not for everybody (this is not the plan you would purchase if you have a pre-existing condition), and they fill a niche. Asa result, any enrollee who develops a terminal or chronic condition or who has a premature child is left unprotected from catastrophic costs.
"We see that it's just unaffordable for so many people who are not getting subsidies and we're trying to make additional options available", said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. "The premium baseline from which they're operating is entirely too high and unaffordable for so many people, but under President Trump we've brought stabilization there that at least is bringing some relief to individuals". "We're finally taking care of our people". Other insurers were more neutral, and companies marketing the plans hailed the development.
"By actively and avowedly wielding executive authority to sabotage the ACA, defendants are not acting in good faith; instead, they have usurped Congress's lawmaking function, and they are violating the Constitution", the complaint said.
Short-term plans are less expensive because, unlike their ACA counterparts, which cannot bar people with preexisting health conditions, insurers selling these policies can be choosy - rejecting people with illnesses or limiting their coverage. "There is a relatively small risk to the insurance company on what they would pay out relative to those plans". The administration says it expects about 1.6 million people to pick a short-term when the plans are fully phased in.
Short-term plans join "association health plans" for small businesses as the administration promotes lower-cost insurance options that cover less.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that roughly 6 million more people will eventually enroll in either an association plan or a short-term plan.
Allowing short-term plans to last longer is the latest move to change regulations issued by the Obama administration. Such plans can be offered across state lines and are also designed for self-employed people.
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