In the many years leading to the onset of healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act, short-term and temporary medical coverage were as common and familiar as traditional plans are today. Recently hired employees relied on them as a way to stay covered during new-hire grace periods, and many employers purchased them as a way of insuring temps, consultants and other project- and assignment-based professionals.
Until recently, there was a great deal of freedom in how these temporary medical plans could be structured. Not only were there more carriers to select from, but there was also more flexibility in how short or long they could be tailored to provide coverage. Recent changes at the state level, however, now limit the amount of time in which a person can stay covered under a short-term plan.
Time Limits on Short-Term Healthcare Coverage
In the past it was not uncommon for someone to buy 30, 60, 90 or 180 days of temporary health insurance, this this is now essentially limited to a fixed 90-day window. It would be easy to speculate various reasons on why this regulation was put in place, though logic says that it stems from the system wanting more individuals and families to shop during the annual 3-month Open Enrollment period.
It's worth noting that purchasing a short-term plan will not exempt someone from the non-compliance fines that come from not having a plan. Under the constantly evolving tenets of the ACA, only those who purchase coverage during Open Enrollment are considered compliant, and therefore exempt from potential fines and penalties.
Short-Term Health Insurance VS Special Enrollment
New hires are not the only ones who have utilized short term plans, as they are also popular among those changing jobs, getting married, starting a business or other major life changes. Under the new healthcare reform system, these scenarios (and others, see our article on Special Enrollment qualifications) would fall under the blanket of Special Enrollment, allowing families and individuals to shop the healthcare marketplace after enrollment has closed.
If you ended up here because you were unable to buy health or medical coverage during Open Enrollment and exploring options, or simply looking for additional information on short-term health insurance plans, Premier can help.
We're located in Lisle and offer free expert assistance on individual and family health insurance services. Call Premier at 800-369-0287 or drop us a line via email through our secure contact page.