ACAP Warns of “Bait and Switch” to Junk Insurance

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Wyeth Ruthven (for Jeff Van Ness) – (202) 744-2679


WASHINGTON—Today, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) warned that cuts to the Navigator program by the Trump administration will leave enrollees vulnerable to the coming wave of junk insurance plans that will reduce coverage and destabilize the Marketplace.

“The Trump administration wants fewer Navigators, and is forcing them to sell worse plans and give families less advice,” stated ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray. “These changes to the Navigator program will not help enrollees make wise choices, in fact more vulnerable enrollees will be steered into junk insurance STLDI plans. This is a bait and switch tactic that will negatively impact those populations that need quality affordable health care the most.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today it will reduce funding for Navigators to a maximum of $10 million for the 2018 open enrollment period, a drop of 84 percent since the 2016 open enrollment period. CMS has also encouraged applicants to provide information to people who may be unaware of the range of available coverage options in addition to qualified health plans (QHPs), such as association health plans, short-term, limited-duration insurance, and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

ACAP has previously condemned the Trump administration strategy of steering enrollees into short-term, limited-duration insurance. In an April op-ed in the Washington Examiner,  Murray warned that STLDIs would lead to “Fewer benefits. Higher premiums. A drained risk pool. STLDIs threaten all three legs on which the individual health insurance market stands.”

An ACAP-sponsored study from Wakely Consulting Group found the most direct impact of the proposed STLDI regulations to be the reduction in the number of healthy, young consumers in the individual market. Projections prepared by HHS estimate between 100,000 and 200,000 individuals would exit exchanges to take up coverage in STLDI plans in 2019. Wakely found the Trump administration to have grossly underestimated this impact, projecting instead that the entire ACA-compliant market would decrease between 400,000 and 790,000 enrollees.

About ACAP
ACAP represents 62 Safety Net Health Plans, which provide health coverage to more than 21 million people in 29 states. Safety Net Health Plans serve their members through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Marketplace and other health programs. For more information, visit

# # #