Short Term Health Insurance In Illinois
Illinois residents have access to short term health plans that can last up to three months per federal guidelines. The Trump administration wants to extend that time period to 364 days.
Even if that federal change does happen, Illinois residents still may not be able to subscribe to year-long plans. It’s more likely that residents will be allowed a maximum time period of six months. State legislators recently drafted a health insurance bill that sets 181 days as the maximum limit for short term health insurance plans in the state. The bill passed both the state House and Senate in May 2018, but it’s still waiting for the governor’s approval. If signed, the new regulations will go into effect at the beginning of 2019.
Along with designating a six-month term limit, the new state legislation also outlines specific rules for renewal. If the bill is signed into law, state residents will have to wait at least 60 days before taking out a subsequent short term health insurance policy with the same insurance company. Any policy applied for within fewer than 60 days would be considered a renewal, and the bill prohibits renewals within 365 days of the end date of a policy.
Without this new legislation, the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center predicts that many Illinois residents might select temporary health plans instead of the full health insurance that they currently have. As of the group’s 2018 report, approximately 497,000 Illinois residents have a nongroup health insurance policy that meets the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Allowing a 364-day term limit could encourage 94,000 of those people – about 18.9 percent of current enrollees – to opt not to continue with ACA-compliant coverage.
Short term health insurance plans differ from standard plans in a number of ways. For example, ACA-compliant plans cannot cap the amount that is paid out for a subscriber over a year or a lifetime. This rule doesn’t apply to temporary health insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, during a 2018 study of limited-duration health insurance plans available in Chicago, these policies enforced coverage caps ranging from $250,000 to $2 million.
Additionally, short term health insurers don’t have to include coverage for the ACA’s essential health benefits. The Kaiser study looked at 21 temporary health plans that could be purchased in Chicago. None of them included maternity care. Prescription drugs were included in 33 percent of the plans. The same percentage of policies offered some coverage for substance abuse treatment, and in just 57 percent of the temporary plans, subscribers could receive help with claims related to mental health.
The Illinois Department of Insurance advises consumers to always request online or printed information about potential short term health plans. This gives you the option to evaluate a plan and an insurance company more thoroughly than you could during a phone call. Consumers should always request license numbers to ensure that a company is qualified to sell insurance in Illinois. These numbers can be confirmed with the Department of Insurance.
Carriers Offering Short Term Policies in Illinois
LifeShield National Insurance Company
UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)
Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company
The IHC Group (Independence Holding Company)
Companion Life Insurance Company (Pivot Health)