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What is short-term health insurance?

Short-term health insurance is just what it sounds like – health coverage which lasts for a shorter time period than normal. Short-term coverage typically lasts for less than a year, with most policies falling somewhere in the range of 3 to 6 months. However, thanks to new regulations, you may be able to renew your policy for up to 3 years. It is worth noting that this cannot be done with all short-term policies, and the rules governing how it is done may change from one policy to another. If your policy requires approval from the insurer, you may have difficulties getting the policy renewed if you filed claims during your policy’s initial duration. Because of this, these policies are not considered guaranteed renewable.

Short-term policies are also not considered minimum essential coverage and do not have to follow the same ACA rules and regulations that many other policies do. Essential health benefits such as prescription drugs, maternity, and mental health care typically aren’t covered under short-term policies. Similarly, they are not required to cover pre-existing conditions and can turn you down because of them. You may also be charged higher rates depending on your current health status and your health history, though some states have passed laws prohibiting short-term policies from employing this kind of health-based discrimination.

These policies are not available through the exchange. As with all policies purchased outside the exchange, premium tax credits (also known as premium subsidies) cannot be applied to short-term insurance. Short-term policies are also not available in all areas. As mentioned above, some states have established rules to make short-term policies more available to those with health issues. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon have all prohibited the sale of short-term policies unless they follow the same standards applied to exchange plans, including not being able to discriminate against applicants because of pre-existing conditions.

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