Kansas Governor’s Repeat Veto of Short-Term Health Plan Bill Protects Patients

Topeka, KS– Today, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed Senate Bill 199, which would have increased Kansans’ exposure to inadequate, high-risk health plans that can skirt patient protections required by federal law, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions. This veto is a repeat of the same legislation she vetoed in 2021 (SB 29).
 
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society oppose increasing the availability of Short-Term Limited Duration Plans (STLDPs) because these plans often deny coverage or charge more for coverage, do not cap out-of-pocket expenses, and may not cover essential health benefits such as prescription medication, maternity care and mental health. A January 2022 poll from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society found that 92 percent of Americans think that people can be duped into buying poor-quality coverage despite asking the right questions beforehand, and 79 percent think that short-term plans should have to follow the same rules as traditional insurance.
 
The following are statements from the patient advocacy groups applauding the governor’s decision to veto legislation that would make it harder for Kansans who now live with or could unknowingly face unexpected serious or chronic diseases:
 
“The American Heart Association is thankful for Governor Kelly’s commitment to vetoing these junk plans and supporting policy that will provide access to quality healthcare, such as KanCare Expansion. STLDPs are meant to fill gaps in coverage. Extending these plans comes with too much risk for Kansas families faced with unexpected emergencies such as heart attack or stroke, leaving them with high out of pocket costs and emotional and financial stress,” said Nancy Holland, Kansas State Advocacy Committee Vice-Chair, American Heart Association.
 
“These plans were harmful a year ago, and they’re harmful today. Absolutely nothing has changed there,” said Dana Bacon, Kansas government affairs director with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “Short-term plans continue to rely on misleading marketing and put customers at risk. LLS – and virtually every major patient organization – agrees these products are bad for consumers due to their hidden costs and surprise coverage cancellations. We thank Governor Kelly for rejecting SB 199 and supporting better coverage options for Kansans, such as KanCare expansion.”
 
“All Kansans deserve access to affordable and comprehensive health care coverage. For the estimated 16,580 Kansans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, having health insurance that covers the care they need will be a critical factor in their survival and quality of life. However, short-term limited- duration plans provide substandard coverage and can deny essential health benefits,” said Megan Word, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Kansas. “We thank Governor Kelly for vetoing legislation that would expand access to these plans. We urge state lawmakers to sustain her veto and direct their efforts toward expanding KanCare.”
 
“Providing Kansans access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage is critical in the fight against lung cancer and essential for those struggling with lung disease. SB 199 recklessly pushes Kansans toward plans with uncertain coverage and financial risk. The Lung Association applauds Governor Kelly for her commitment to accessible, comprehensive healthcare coverage for Kansans by vetoing this bill,” said Sara Prem, Kansas director of advocacy for the Lung Association.