Short-term health insurance

Short-term health insurance
September 24 01:00 2015

Short-term health insurance

Outside of the individual market’s annual open enrollment period (November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016 for 2016 policies – but the dates could be different for 2017) a short-term health insurance policy will likely be the best choice for most applicants who are shopping for coverage without a qualifying event. There are very few other options, and short-term plans generally provide the most comprehensive coverage available outside of open enrollment.

Short-term policies have been around for a long time, and have traditionally been a good option for people who are between jobs or waiting for a new employer’s coverage to become effective. Unlike regular individual major medical plans, short-term health insurance policies are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act and their sale is not limited to open enrollment windows.

So while they are still a good option for people who need coverage for just a few months before another policy begins, they are also available for consumers who might prefer a traditional major medical plan but missed open enrollment. Since we’re still in the early years of ACA implementation, there has been considerable confusion about the fact that individual major medical plans are not be available outside of open enrollment, even off-exchange.

Hope for the temporarily uninsured

Obamacare has made it much easier for a lot of the previously uninsured population – including those who are temporarily uninsured – to obtain high-quality individual health insurance, in many cases with considerable financial assistance in the form of cost-sharing subsidies and premium subsidies. But there are still situations when a short-term policy makes a lot of sense.

If you experience a qualifying event that triggers a special enrollment period, you’ll need to apply for an ACA-compliant policy (on or off-exchange) during your special open enrollment period, which lasts for 60 days in most cases. If you opt for a short-term policy instead, you won’t have the option to switch to an ACA-compliant plan after your open enrollment period ends. But if you miss open enrollment and find yourself shopping for coverage later in the year without a qualifying event, a short-term policy will provide you with up to six months of coverage in most states…

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