In blocking the Idaho insurance plans, Verma warned that violators could face civil fines of up to $100 per day per enrollee. Jon Hanian, Otter's press secretary, said the governor just received the letter and is reviewing it, and has no comment at this point.
Otter, Cameron and Lt. Gov. Brad Little announced earlier this year that they would begin allowing insurers to offer plans that don't meet all of the act's regulations, such as by charging people more based on their health history, or by not covering some health needs like maternity care.
The letter, from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, informs Idaho that insurers will not be allowed to sell illegal plans within that state which threatened to destabilize Idaho's insurance markets.
The Trump administration on Thursday rejected Idaho's bid to offer plans that flout Obamacare, saying they sympathize with efforts to extend cheaper options but the 2010 law remains in place.
Verma said she looks forward to continuing to work with state officials on ways to lower insurance costs in the state, including on its 1332 and 1115 waiver applications. I believe Idaho is following the intent of the law by offering quality health insurance.
It also, however, notes a February 21 ruling from the Departments of HHS, Labor and the Treasury allowing short-term health insurance plans, which don't fully comply with ACA requirements, to expand from the current three-month limit to any period that's less than 12 months.
Though the state-based plans can't be offered as full-time coverage, Verma wrote that "with certain modifications" the plans could be made available as short-term options.
"If a state fails to substantially enforce the law, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a responsibility to enforce these provisions on behalf of the State", Verma wrote.
On February 21, in response to the President Trump's Executive Order, HHS and other departments published a proposed rule that expanded the availability of short-term, limited-duration health insurance by allowing consumers to buy these plans with health coverage for a period of less than 12 months, rather than the current maximum period of less than three months.
A bill to codify the plan was spiked in the state's legislature, but at the time state officials said they believed the Department of Health and Human Services was "sympathetic" to their cause.
"We have some heartburn and concerns about the short-term plans", Mr. Cameron said.
"In fact, we consider the letter an invitation from CMS to continue discussing the specifics of what can and cannot be included in state-based plans", the statement said. The unlawful plans, known as "Freedom Blue" plans, "charge people with pre-existing conditions and older residents significantly more than now allowed under the ACA".