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Last Minute Changes: Essential Health Benefits Axed

House Delegates Being Pushed on Repeal - Alaskan's Standing Strong


Last night, House leaders caved to the most radical parts of their caucus and made a bad bill even worse - not only does it raise premiums and deductibles and cut coverage for 24 million, it now allows insurance companies to stop offering basic services like maternity care, check-ups for kids, prescription drugs or even hospital and doctor visits.
Here’s what getting rid of essential health benefit rules – which include emergency room visits, maternity coverage, prescription drug coverage, preventive care, and much more – would mean for Alaskans.

  • Alaskans with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to find plans that cover the services they need. Without essential health benefits standards, pre-existing conditions protections that benefit 318,926 Alaskans would exist in name only. So people with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to find the coverage they need at any price, much less an affordable one.
  • Plans will be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage – including for 237,000 Alaskans who get health coverage through their jobs. After months of promising to prevent insurance companies from capping annual and lifetime coverage limits, House leaders in Washington are about to go back on their word in a brazen move that would weaken coverage for 237,000 Alaskans who have coverage through their employer or the individual market. 


Plans could go back to imposing coverage limits on anything from emergency services to inpatient care to prescription drugs – even for kids. Because of the Affordable Care Act, 237,000 - including 64,000 children - no longer have to worry about hitting their lifetime limits. The AHCA (Repeal Bill) puts people back at the mercy of insurance companies and goes back to a time when hundreds of thousands of Alaskans with health coverage through their jobs were one major illness away from medical bankruptcy.
  • Individual market plans won’t cover substance use treatment, mental health treatment, maternity care, or other key services. Before there were federal standards requiring plans to cover these benefits, many (for some benefits, most) policies didn’t. Hundreds of thousands of Alaskans with health insurance will have to pay out of pocket for treatment.
  • Women will again be charged more than men for coverage. Eliminating essential health benefit requirements means that women would once again be charged more than men, since they’d have to pay more for plans with maternity coverage — if they could find them at all.


Final Vote on the Floor of the House is scheduled for 4PM (EST) NOON ALASKA TIME


“If an Alaskan receives cancer treatment under the latest plan, they could be liable for all costs. Women would be charged more just for being women and people with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to find plans that cover the services they need. Most of our congressional delegates know this…we just need them to stay strong. Alaska cannot afford to take the largest hits to our healthcare compared any other state. We have the highest cost of care in the country.” – #ProtectOutCareAK


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