Rules about short term or catastrophic plans vary from state to state. National General offers a great national PPO, with access to Aetna's Open Choice PPO network.
|State||Initial Policy Duration Max||Renewals?||
|Alabama||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Alaska||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Arizona||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Arkansas||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|District of Columbia||3 months||N||3 months|
|Florida||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Georgia||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Idaho||364 days||N||364 days|
|Illinois||180 days||N||6 months||An enrollee cannot purchase a new short-term plan from the same issuer within 60 days of the termination of a previous short-term plan|
|Indiana||Up to 364 days||Y||36 months|
|Iowa||3 months||Y||* The Iowa Insurance Division proposed extensive new rules for short-term plans that last more than 3 months, but the state's rules committee rejected them. The Insurance Division is working on a new proposal, but the details aren't yet public.|
|Kansas||Up to 365 days||One||24 months|
|Kentucky||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Louisiana||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Maine||364 days||Y||24 months|
|Maryland||Up to 3 months|
|Michigan||185 days||No||185 days within any 365 day period|
|Minnesota||185 days||No, but can purchase additional plans||Total time enrolled in short-term plans can't exceed 365 days in any 555-day period.|
|Mississippi||Up to 12 months||Y||36 months|
|Missouri||6 months||Y||36 months||* Plans can be renewed to a total of 36 months as long as each term is six months or less.|
|Montana||364 days||Y||36 months|
|Nebraska||Up to 12 months|
|Nevada||Up to 185 days||N||185 days|
|New Hampshire||No sell state||N/A||N/A|
|New Jersey||None Available||N/A||N/A|
|New Mexico||None Available||N/A||N/A|
|New York||None Available||N/A||N/A|
|North Carolina||364 days||Y||36 months|
|North Dakota||6 months|
|Ohio||364 days||N||52 weeks|
|Oklahoma||364 days||Y||36 months|
|Oregon||3 months||Yes, but the 3-month total duration limit includes renewals.||3 months|
|Pennsylvania||364 days||Y||36 months|
|Rhode Island||None Available||N/A||N/A|
|South Carolina||11 months||Y||33 months|
|South Dakota||Up to 6 months||N||6 months||South Dakota statute also requires insurers offering short-term plans to file a statement certifying that the policies are not being sold as a substitute for major medical insurance, and are instead supplemental insurance|
|Tennessee||Up to 364 days||Y||36 months|
|Texas||Up to 364 days||Y||36 months|
|Utah||Up to 363 days||No||363 days|
|Virginia||Up to 6 months||N||6 months|
|West Virginia||364 days||Y||36 months|
|Wisconsin||365 days||Y||18 months||Consumers can start new coverage (with the same insurer) after a 63-day break.|
|Wyoming||364 days||Y||36 months|
Pros and cons of short term coverage
While the federal government has relaxed the rules for short-term health insurance, each state can make its own insurance regulations. In fact, insurance is largely regulated by the state and not the federal government.
The following states still completely prohibit short-term health insurance, according to this report:
- New York
- New Jersey
Vermont has moved in another direction. Instead of prohibiting short-term health insurance, the state has tried to force these temporary policies to offer all of the Essential Health Benefits that Obamacare policies must provide. Also, even though the federal government now allows for a 12-month term, Oregon, Illinois, and Maryland have passed state laws that only allow for more limited periods.
Yes, short-term health insurance can provide many people with a great value and a good solution when they need affordable coverage quickly. It’s just that these non-ACA plans aren’t regulated the same way that ACA policies are, so people must understand some risks they may take by opting for the temporary protection of short-term health insurance. The majority of states recognize that short-term health insurance performs a vital role, so they rely upon licensed agents to explain the pros and cons of various health insurance choices to their clients.
These are some potential drawbacks of short-term health insurance:
- Short-term coverage may not offer any benefits for maternity, mental health, or any sort of pre-existing condition. If you suffer from some pre-existing conditions, you could be denied coverage, unlike with Obamacare.
- While some short-term coverage is guaranteed renewable, some is not. This means that you have to re-apply for short-term health insurance at the end of every term. The problem is that if you or a family member has developed a serious illness, they may not get accepted. If you live in state that offers 12 month short-term plans, you can avoid this predicament.
ACA policies cannot decline applicants because of pre-existing conditions. Even with the federal government’s relaxed rules for short term coverage, most people should still consider these temporary policies as a temporary solution. It’s just that people in most states can rely upon them for longer periods of time than they could in the past.
Who should consider short term health insurance plans?
In most cases, short term health insurance typically costs much less than ACA major medical health insurance.
- Premiums for unsubsidized ACA plans average about five times as much as for short term health insurance.
- Even premiums for subsidized Obamacare plans average about three times more than premiums for short term coverage.
Short term coverage could offer a good solution for people who want an affordable way to protect themselves against unexpected or emergency medical bills. In addition, short term health insurance can provide the proof of coverage that people need to participate in various activities or vocations.
Easy applications, modest premiums, and no waiting for enrollment periods can all make short term health insurance seem like an attractive choice for people who lack affordable access to permanent medical insurance. Good examples of people who can benefit from short term health insurance might include:
- Young people who have just aged off their parent’s plan
- Families who missed Open Enrollment for the ACA Marketplace
- Seniors who will turn 65 and collect Medicare benefits in a few months
- New employees who have to wait for group benefits to begin
Note that even if you missed this year’s Obamacare Open Enrollment, you may still have the option to enroll in a plan if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Some examples of events that will trigger a Special Enrollment Period include loss of job-related group health, divorce, marriage, income changes, and moving away from a network plan’s service area. If you don’t qualify, you still have the option of enrolling in short-term health insurance at any time of year.
How to compare short-term health insurance policies
At iHealth, we don’t just make it easy to compare short term health insurance, we also allow you to compare short term health insurance with other health insurance options. Additional choices can include both Obamacare and non-Obamacare medical plans. Besides individual and family medical plans, we can also help you shop for dental and group health insurance. Explore your health insurance options now.