Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance refers to medical coverage that is used for a temporary period of time. Historically, this duration was 364 days or less. Current regulation allows states to permit short-term plan enrollees to renew or extend this coverage up to 36 months, though states may choose not to allow such renewals or extensions. If such renewals or extensions are allowed, the new regulation dictates that they be performed “without any medical underwriting or experience rating beyond that completed upon the initial sale of the policy (as long as the applicable notice is provided to consumers and the initial contract term is less than 12 months).”

Short-term health insurance coverage differs from Affordable Care Act insurance in many ways. For example, short-term plan applicants may be rejected for coverage based on medical considerations. If accepted for coverage, short-term plans have lifetime limits on what the insurer will pay for covered medical claims, with limits as high as $1 million to $2 million. Benefits are narrower than Affordable Care Act plans and usually cover doctor and specialist visits, lab tests, hospital care, medical imaging, and emergency care. Maternity care and prescription drug coverage are often absent.

This coverage is also known as “temporary medical insurance” or “limited duration health insurance.” For more information on the latest rules for short-term insurance, see https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/03/2018-16568/short-term-limited-duration-insurance.

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