Short Term Health Insurance In Arkansas
Arkansas insurance regulators don’t put a time limit on how long you can hold a short term health insurance plan. Instead, residents’ options are limited by federal rules. Before the Obama administration’s strict regulations went into effect, Arkansas residents could subscribe to temporary health insurance plans that lasted up to 364 days. Now, in accordance with federal regulations, the duration limit of these policies is 90 days.
The Trump administration has proposed that the duration limit should return to its former 364-day length. In that case, barring new state regulations, Arkansas residents would once again be able to sign up for temporary health insurance plans that last almost a full year.
A report from the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center suggests that if the Trump administration’s proposal goes into effect, 19,000 Arkansans currently enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans might switch to short term plans instead. This represents about 25 percent of Arkansas residents currently enrolled in standard individual health plans.
Short-term health insurance policies are not subject to the same regulations that ACA plans are. Therefore, they can exclude coverage for certain conditions that ACA-compliant plans must include. In a 2018 survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, of the 21 short term policies available in Little Rock at that time, none covered pregnancy or childbirth. Approximately 57 percent of the plans provided some mental health services. Only 33 percent covered substance abuse treatment, and 33 percent included a prescription benefit.
Arkansas does issue some mandates about what services must be covered by health insurance policies. However, short term policies are exempt from many of these mandates. For instance, temporary health plans in Arkansas do not have to provide coverage for diabetic supplies, hospice care, mammograms or dental anesthesia.
Even still, some state mandates do apply to short term plans. If family coverage is part of a temporary health plan, the policy must include preventive care for children. Although short term health insurance doesn’t have to include mental health care, Arkansas mandates stipulate that insurers must offer subscribers the opportunity to purchase a plan that does include it. If the plan includes maternity care, it must also cover in-vitro fertilization (IVF). But since short term plans that include maternity are nearly non-existent, the IVF mandate isn’t particularly beneficial.
The state cautions consumers to be careful that they purchase insurance only from licensed insurers and agents. Arkansas issues license numbers, and you can request that an agent provide this number for you.
Furthermore, the Department of Insurance advises that a short term insurer should never try to present its products as conforming to ACA regulations. Companies that mislead consumers in this way may be subject to disciplinary action. Short term insurance plans meet a need for many Arkansans during gaps in standard coverage, but insurance officials want to ensure that customers are aware of what they’re purchasing when they sign up.
The Arkansas Insurance Department runs a Consumer Services Division. The agency urges consumers to reach out with questions about short term regulations or the licensure status of an insurer. You should also contact this division if you receive questionable insurance sales calls.
Carriers Offering ShortTerm Policies in Arkansas
The following are carriers offering coverage in your state as of June 2018. Plan and carrier availability may vary, so get a personalized quote for accurate information.
UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)
LifeShield National Insurance Company
Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company
National General Accident and Health
The IHC Group (Independence Holding Company)
Companion Life Insurance Company (Pivot Health)
Marketplace located at UHOne.com (UHC) website