Short Term Health Insurance In Michigan

Two different regulations – one state and one federal – limit the length of short term health plans in Michigan. The federal government’s rules state that these plans can last for no more than 90 days, so that’s the current term limit for these policies in Michigan and throughout the country.

Michigan law is different, however. The state government stipulates that temporary health plans can’t last for more than 185 days. Current federal regulation takes precedence. But if the Trump administration’s proposed 364-day term extension gets finalized, then the Michigan law will be more meaningful. In that case, despite the nearly one-year allowance permitted by the federal government, Michigan residents would have to keep their short term plans limited to a duration of 185 days.

You can re-apply for a new policy after your short term plan ends in Michigan, but the state sets limits on how often you can do this. In one year, which is defined as a period of 365 days, you can hold a temporary health plan for only 185 of those days. It doesn’t matter whether those days are consecutive.

Think of it this way: If you have a three-month short term health plan, you may be eligible to take out a different short term policy as soon as the first one ends. Alternatively, you can wait a few months and then take out a second three-month policy. Note that if your health status changes, so will your insurability. Short term plans aren’t guaranteed issue, meaning you can be turned down based on your health history.

This situation might look a little different under the Trump administration’s proposal. If that change goes through, you could potentially take out a 185-day temporary health plan. At the end of its term, Michigan law stipulates that you’d have to subscribe to an Affordable Care Act plan or go without insurance for a period of time. And since open enrollment for ACA plans runs for about six weeks starting in November, you might have to go half a year without coverage depending on when you bought your short term plan.

Michigan statutes specify that short term health plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions. If you’ve experienced an illness or injury in the last several years, don’t expect your temporary policy to pay for any related claims. This is an important distinction between short term health plans and ACA-compliant ones.

Another way that short term plans are different from ACA ones is that limited-duration plans don’t have to meet the standards of minimum essential coverage. Major medical insurance must cover things like prescription drugs, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and maternity care. A temporary policy might cover none of these.

A 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation survey looked at the 16 short term health plans that were available in Detroit at the time of the study. Of the available policies, 44 percent provided some coverage for mental health services, but only 25 percent included any provisions for substance abuse treatment. For prescription drugs, 44 percent of the policies offered some benefit. None of the 16 plans included any maternity care.

Because short term insurance policies don’t meet the definition of minimum essential coverage, subscribers may be subject to the individual mandate penalty. This fee remains in effect through the remainder of 2018.

Carriers Offering Short Term Policies in Michigan

Companion Life Insurance Company (Pivot Health)
The IHC Group (Independence Holding Company)
National General Accident and Health
UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)