VIDEO: Senator Tester Defends Montanans from Junk Health Insurance Plans

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Senator: We Can’t Let Corporations Swindle Folks Who Need Health Insurance

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is defending Montanans from harmful health insurance policies that cost money, but don’t cover pre-existing conditions and basic health care procedures.

Better known as “junk plans,” these short-term health insurance plans were originally designed to help fill temporary gaps in coverage, but a recent rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has allowed corporations to start selling Montanans junk plans that last up to three years.

“They are a total and complete sham,” Tester said of the junk plans. “If you read the fine print, you will discover that dialysis, blood pressure pills, and x-rays aren’t covered. In fact, most things aren’t.”

Tester voted to pass legislation to overturn CMS’s new rule and restore the 90-day junk plan limit.

“We must hold big insurance accountable,” Tester said. “We cannot let corporations swindle folks who need health insurance plans that will be there for them. It stops insurance companies from selling garbage plans that don’t cover your pre-existing condition.”

Junk plans are also not required to cover prescription drugs or maternity care.

In April, Tester urged CMS not to expand junk plans and instead work to lower the cost of good, comprehensive health care coverage.

Tester is also sponsoring legislation to defend Montanans with pre-existing conditions like high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and asthma from being denied coverage from health insurance companies.

Tester is a leader on health care access in our rural state, keeping rural hospitals open and veterans’ services funded.

Tester has been a champion for protecting seniors from skyrocketing prescription drug prices and price gouging attempts by “big insurance”. Senator Tester consistently votes to protect Social Security and fend off reduction in benefits. He voted to close the Medicare Part D prescription drug loophole, which saved Montana seniors an average of $969 per person in 2016.

Today, Tester voted to get rid of short-term “junk plans” that offer inadequate medical coverage and circumvent fundamental consumer protections. They leave those that get sick with thousands of dollars in unpaid bills while racking up the profits for big insurance companies. These “junk plans” also allow insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions more or exclude services. 152,000 Montanans with pre-existing conditions need stability, not junk insurance.

Senator Tester has shown incredible leadership fighting for Montanans with pre-existing conditions. Senator Tester is a great leader, fighting for healthcare for all Montanans as well as fighting rising costs of prescription drugs for seniors and all Montanans.

“Jon had never backed down from a fight to make sure that we are following through on promises to Montana seniors,” said, Carol Juneau, Chair of Big Sky 55+, a leading seniors organization in Montana. “Year after year, Jon goes to bat to make sure Montanans 55 and older have access to quality, affordable health care and economic security. With politicians trying to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, we need a champion in Congress more than ever. Jon it that champion, and we’re proud to endorse him.”

In September 2018, Senator Tester introduced the CREATES Act, a bill that would help get more prescription drugs on the market and reduce drug prices. Tester also passed the SPIKE act that will lead to lower precaution drugs costs for Montanans and co-sponsored a bill to get generic drug prices on the market faster to prevent further price gouging.

Matt Rosendale would take away coverage from 152,000 Montanans with pre-existing conditions, including, seniors and veterans’ access to care. Rosendale voted against $5.2 Million in funding for prescription drug assistance for Montana seniors while in the Montana legislature as well. Rosendale also voted against Medicaid expansion for 100,000 Montanans.

I commend, Senator Tester for his vote against expansion of junk insurance plans today that hurt consumers, and denies coverage to those 152,000 Montanans with pre-existing conditions or access to basic health care procedures, Big Sky 55+ Director Molly Moody released the following statement:

“With just weeks to go to Election Day, Montana U.S. Senator, Steve Daines, and Senate Republicans once again put big insurance profits ahead of the health of the Montanans. Their vote against Senator Tammy Baldwin’s proposal to reverse the damage done by President Trump’s expansion of junk insurance plans is an attack on every person living with pre-existing conditions, every family who has suffered because a loved one couldn’t get treatment for their substance use disorder or opioid addiction, and every woman who is or may become a mother.

Expanding junk insurance flies in the face of recommendations from consumer advocates and health experts and will only benefit big insurance companies that are already raking in millions in tax breaks thanks to the GOP’s tax giveaway. These plans don’t even meet the minimum standards of covering emergency room visits or prescription drugs. Republicans are once again helping corporations make more money when they should be protecting hard-working families and ensuring they get the care they need. Any politician who votes to undermine the Affordable Care Act and allow insurance companies to weaken the care Americans get will have to answer to their constituents November 6.”

Jon Tester voted to protect the American people and push back on insurance companies that continue their price gouging of our most valuable and vulnerable citizens, Montana seniors.

Junk plans are also not required to cover prescription drugs or maternity care.

In April, Tester urged CMS not to expand junk plans and instead work to lower the cost of good, comprehensive health care coverage.

Tester is also sponsoring legislation to defend Montanans with pre-existing conditions like high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and asthma from being denied coverage from health insurance companies.

 

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