HHS officials said current law allows the plans to have this longer shelf life, although critics are likely to argue that - when you factor in the renewal option - a plan that lasts three years can not be considered short-term.
The Affordable Care Act required individual plans sold on and off the marketplace to cover a group of set benefits, including emergency, maternity and mental health care.
Both supporters and critics of short-term plans say consumers who do develop health problems while enrolled could, in theory, hang on until the next open-enrollment period and buy an ACA plan during the sign-up period because the ACA bars insurers from rejecting people with preexisting conditions.
It's not clear CT consumers will be able to purchase the plans.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., was quick to react to final approval of the plans, saying they will hurt consumers: "By giving the green light to junk plans, Trump and his administration are once again siding with fraudsters, unscrupulous brokers and insurance companies over unsuspecting Americans that simply want affordable health care".
Coleman says insurance benefits under short-term plans will be better with the three-month restriction gone.
Schumer said Democrats will introduce a resolution to rescind the rule using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to revoke an administration regulation with a simple majority any time up to 60 legislative days after it is published in the Federal Register.
Instead, she's been stuck with surprise bills and mounting costs for services she thought the plan would cover but hasn't. Short-term plans were originally intended for people who were between jobs or needed temporary coverage for other reasons. "This will make a low-priced option like short-term insurance even more attractive, particularly if insurers further adapt their benefits and conditions of coverage to better align with the needs of the unsubsidized population". The short-term plans "provide a much more affordable option for millions of the forgotten men and women left out by the current system", he said.
More than 9,000 people and organizations commented on the rule, since February when it was first proposed.
Cigna also said the ACA "established numerous protections and standards for consumers in the individual market to support them in accessing affordable, quality health insurance regardless of where they live". Making the plans renewable is a novel twist.
Pennsylvania's insurance regulator said some consumers complained about services that weren't covered, based on fine print in plan policies.
This action overturns an Obama administration directive that limited such plans to 90 days.
"We continue to see a crisis of affordability in the individual insurance market, especially for those who don't qualify for large subsidies", noted CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
Because healthy people are most likely to bolt from the exchanges, expansion of short-term plans will increase federal spending on ACA premium subsidies by $28.2 billion over 10 years, the CMS estimated.
"Consumers should be assured that insurers will not deny claims for current medical care based exclusively on medical treatment received years earlier", Aetna said. Before, short-term plans could not last longer than three months. These plans look appealing because they're less expensive than Obamacare, but they cover fewer medical services and charge higher rates for those with pre-existing conditions. The IHC Group is an organization of insurance carriers headquartered in Stamford, Conn. "But with the number of uninsured people going up, our ability to recoup is hurt, and that's a direct result of President Trump trying to sabotage the ACA".
That same report expects premiums for ACA plans to increase 15 percent next year, in part because many consumers may be less likely to buy coverage without the threat of a tax penalty.
Short-term plans, if they appeal to many consumers, could also play a role. According to NBC News, 3 million fewer people had health insurance in 2017 compared to the year prior, and city-subsidized health centers in Columbus saw nearly 3,000 more uninsured patients.