Carper Introduces Bipartisan Increasing Access to Care Act

WASHINGTON—Days after key U.S. senators announced a bipartisan deal has been reached on health care reform, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Increasing Access to Care Act with Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), legislation that would allow individuals over the age of 30 to purchase catastrophic health insurance plans, which is prohibited under current law. These plans can help to prevent medical bankruptcy and ensure all families have access to affordable care in case of a medical emergency.

“Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray have been listening to our constituents, and they’ve set the stage for the rest of us to do what’s right—work together. This bill is a great example of that,” Senator Carper said. “No American should have to file bankruptcy or fall into poverty because of a serious ailment or unexpected medical emergency. The Affordable Care Act made great progress in reducing rates of medical bankruptcies, and this bill will build on that progress by giving more options to Americans to buy into a health insurance plan that kicks in when they need it the most.”

“By increasing access to affordable health care plans for Americans of all ages, we are offering American families more choices when it comes to their health care,” Senator Scott said. “These plans, currently only available for people under the age of 30, can help prevent medical bankruptcy in the event of emergency, and also ensure more families have the option to choose the health care plan that best fits their needs and budget.”

“I have long advocated giving consumers more control over their health care coverage and more choices in the ACA Marketplace,” Senator Warner said. “The bipartisan Increasing Access to Care Act allows the purchase of a less expensive, higher deductible plan with many of the same consumer protections as other plans available through the ACA. Copper plan is not for everyone but  it could provide value for some consumers.”

“Many are uninsured now because they cannot afford their premiums on the Obamacare exchanges. Let’s give families another option,” Senator Cassidy said. “Giving families the power to choose is always good.”

Specifically, the Increasing Access to Care Act amends Section 1302(e) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which restricts enrollment in catastrophic plans to those under 30 or those with a hardship exemption, by eliminating the provision’s age-based restrictions.