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United Healthcare exec hails Trump order on short-term, association plans

United HealthCare Services, Inc. executives are welcoming President Donald Trump's executive order to expand access to association health plans and revise rules on short-term, limited duration plans.

President and COO Daniel Schumacher said the company is "excited" that the order directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to extend the duration short-term plans are limited to from three months to a full year.

In April, CMS implemented a final rule that limited short-term plans to three months with the expectation and hope that consumers would not rely on them for full healthcare coverage because the plans often lack comprehensive benefits. Short-term plans are offered by insurers to shore up coverage for consumers between jobs, before open enrollment or any other time coverage is needed for a small window.

Schumacher during UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s third-quarter earnings call asserted the plans provide a "bridge" between coverage, affordable options and "strong access and value to consumers" as the cost of Affordable Care Act state exchange plans have grown. He also pointed out that his company's individual business was founded on an association, so it has "decadeslong" experience in the space. He said the company currently enrolls about 300,000 members in association plans.