Short Term Health Insurance In Minnesota

You can subscribe to a short term health plan for 90 days in Minnesota. That’s the time limit set by the federal government, but Minnesota’s state-specific law defines short term plans differently. According to Minnesota guidelines, residents can buy temporary health insurance plans for periods of up to 185 days.

The Trump administration has proposed allowing Americans to purchase short term health plans that last up to 364 days. If that proposal gets finalized, you would then be held to the 185-day limit set by the state of Minnesota. The 364-day federal limit would not overrule the state statute.

If the federal law changes, don’t expect the state law to change in response. In 2018, Minnesota lawmakers introduced a bill to expand access to short term health insurance, which would have included allowing residents to hold policies for up to one year. Passing the bill proved unsuccessful.

Even without a change in Minnesota law, the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center predicts that allowing residents to hold a short term plan for 185 days instead of just 90 could upset the Affordable Care Act’s individual plan market. In a 2018 report, the organization projected that the Trump administration’s proposed relaxation of term limits would prompt 38,000 current Minnesota enrollees to abandon ACA-compliant plans. That represents about 22.5 percent of current enrollees.

In addition to placing limits on how long short term health plans can last, the state also sets limits on how long residents can hold such plans. In a 555-day period, you can subscribe to a temporary health plan for only 365 of those days. To count toward the limit, plans do not have to be held consecutively. When applying for a policy, you must provide dates and term lengths of the policies you have had in the last few years. The insurer is responsible for not issuing a policy that oversteps the 365-day limit.

Minnesota law specifies that short term plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions. These policies exclude coverage for illnesses or injuries that first occurred before the beginning of the coverage period. Any related claims will likely be denied. Even if the condition first arose during a previous period of coverage with the same insurance company, it will still be counted as pre-existing for a new coverage period.

Short term health plans are not subject to ACA mandates about what benefits they must cover. Minnesota law dictates that if substance abuse or mental health services are covered by a temporary plan, they must be treated the same as any other conditions. However, unlike standard insurers, short term insurers are not required to cover these services.

A 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation survey analyzed the six temporary health plans available in Minneapolis at the time of the study. Of those plans, 67 percent covered mental health services. The same percentage of short term plans covered substance abuse treatment. Those rates are above the nationwide average. In the U.S., 57 percent of short term health plans cover mental health services, and 38 percent include substance abuse treatment. Despite the above-average coverage of some services, none of the short term plans in Minneapolis provided any allowance for prescription drugs or maternity care.

Carriers Offering Short Term Policies in Minnesota

Everest/Everest Prime
LifeShield National Insurance Company
The IHC Group (Independence Holding Company)

Sources: term-coverage-checklist.pdf