Short Term Health Insurance In Missouri

Missouri residents can keep a short term health plan for a period of up to three months, which is actually a federal regulation that applies nationwide. Missouri itself doesn’t define short term health plans that way. The state considers six months to be the time limit for these plans, but the federal regulation takes precedence.

The Trump administration has expressed its intention to once again allow Americans to hold temporary health plans for periods of up to 364 days. Before a policy change from the Obama administration went into effect in early 2017, policies could last up to just under a year in some states. If the proposed rule to expand short term health plans gets finalized, Missouri residents will then be limited to the 185-day terms allowed by the state. Most state legislation that mentions short term plans refers to them as plans that last six months or less.

Some Missouri legislators wanted to expand the state’s definition of short term health insurance plans. In 2018, they introduced a bill that would amend state insurance rules. The reformed legislation would refer to short term plans as policies with durations of less than one year. The bill did not pass in the state Senate.

Even without this expansion, 44,000 Missouri residents might exit the individual market if a change in federal regulations opens up the possibility of subscribing to a short term plan for six months at a time. That’s the conclusion drawn by the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center in a 2018 study of the impact of short term policy expansion on the Affordable Care Act market. That 44,000 figure represents approximately 17.4 percent of the Missouri residents who are currently enrolled in health insurance plans compliant with ACA standards.

Short-term plans aren’t considered minimum essential coverage because they don’t typically cover pre-existing conditions, and they don’t have to offer coverage for all 10 of the ACA’s essential health benefits. For example, short term insurers in Missouri are specifically exempt from covering care for autism spectrum disorders or the cost of clinical trials for cancer treatment.

Many temporary health plans don’t cover care related to mental health, substance abuse, prescription drugs or maternity. In 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation examined the 12 short term health insurance policies that were available in St. Louis at the time of the study. Half of the plans covered mental health treatment. Similarly, half of them included some provisions for substance abuse treatment. Only one-quarter of the plans included a prescription drug benefit. None of the 12 plans covered maternity services.

Unlike major medical plans, medical underwriting is an important component of temporary health insurance plans in Missouri. This means that you won’t be approved for a policy unless you meet the insurance company’s health standards.

Because temporary health insurance doesn’t count as minimum essential coverage, you might be subject to a fine if you choose this kind of policy over ACA-compliant health insurance. This penalty will no longer be in effect in 2019, but you may still have to pay in 2018.

Carriers Offering Short-Term Policies in Missouri

UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)
Everest Prime
National General Accident and Health
LifeShield National Insurance Company
The IHC Group (Independence Holding Company)