Short Term Health Insurance In Maryland
According to both state and federal law, Maryland residents can hold short term health insurance plans for durations of up to three months. The Trump administration has proposed increasing the federal limit on short term health plans to 364 days, but a state bill signed into law by the governor in 2018 ensures that 90 days will remain the term limit for temporary health plans in Maryland. The state legislation also specifies that consumers do not have the right to renew or extend these policies.
In the state of Maryland, short term health insurance companies must have “admitted” status to sell temporary health plans. The Maryland Insurance Administration provides oversight to these companies and requires that they follow state regulations about health insurance. Furthermore, short term policy subscribers may receive protection against policy insolvency from the Maryland Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Corporation. The state allows approved short term insurers to sell policies online or through local representatives.
In limited cases, Maryland residents are able to obtain short term coverage from a “non-admitted” insurer. These plans are known as surplus lines and are usually sold only to people who are traveling into or out of the country. They are not subject to state laws in the same way as most temporary health plans, and subscribers do not receive protection from the Maryland Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Corporation. In a 2017 report, the Maryland Insurance Commissioner recommended that the state not expand access to surplus lines.
Although “admitted” short term health insurance plans must comply with Maryland law, this does not mean that they must include all of the same benefits as ACA-compliant plans. Insurers can opt not to cover some types of care that the ACA considers essential minimum coverage. In 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation performed a review of short term health insurance plans. The group found four plans that were available in Baltimore. None of them covered prescription drugs, maternity care, mental health services or substance abuse treatment.
Short term plans also have no obligation to cover pre-existing conditions. These are health conditions, injuries or illnesses that began before your policy started. Temporary health plans are medically underwritten, so on the basis of these conditions, the insurance company can choose not to issue you a policy. If the company does choose to insure you, it has the right to deny any claims related to your previous health condition.
The state allows insurance companies to set a limit on the total amount that they will pay out for beneficiaries in a year or lifetime. A 2017 study by the Maryland Insurance Administration’s Insurance Commissioner found plans with coverage caps that ranged from $750,000 to $2 million.
As noted in the 2018 legislation, short term health plans in Maryland are not automatically renewable. At the end of a policy term, you must re-apply for new coverage. The insurance company will once again consider your medical history before issuing a policy. If health problems cropped up during your last term, the insurer may choose to deny your request for new coverage.
Carriers Offering Short Term Policies in Maryland
Freedom Life Insurance Company of America
Independence American Insurance Company (The IHC Group/Independence Holding Company)
National Health Insurance Company (National General Accident and Health)
Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York