Short Term Health Insurance In Mississippi
Mississippi doesn’t enforce strong regulations about short term health insurance policies. Guidance on policy limits comes from the federal government. Currently, federal regulations dictate that you can hold a temporary health insurance plan for 90 days. At the end of that period, you can choose to apply for a new short term policy if you want to continue coverage.
The Trump administration has proposed expanding Americans’ access to these plans. Potential changes include allowing people to keep a short term health insurance policy for up to 364 days. If that change goes into effect, it would allow Mississippi residents to be covered by a temporary health plan for nearly one year at a time.
A 2018 study explored the effects that this suggested change would have on Mississippi’s insurance market, particularly its effects on individual policies that operate under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. Researchers found that if Mississippi residents receive the opportunity to sign up for one-year short term health plans, about 16,000 people currently enrolled in ACA-compliant plans might drop that coverage. This represents about 21 percent of current Obamacare enrollees. Researchers predicted that approximately 47,000 Mississippi residents might opt for short term health insurance in 2019 if the Trump administration’s proposals get finalized.
At the end of a short term health policy, Mississippi residents have the right to apply for a new plan. The state government doesn’t limit how many consecutive short term policies you can have. However, continuing to subscribe to temporary coverage depends on acceptance into the plan. Short term insurance policies are medically underwritten, so a change in your health status could cause the insurer not to accept you for a new term. A health problem that started during a previous term would be considered pre-existing for the new coverage period. Furthermore, with each new policy, your deductible and cost-sharing amounts would reset.
The ACA mandates that major medical plans provide coverage for pre-existing conditions and 10 essential health benefits. Short term policies are not considered minimum essential coverage under the ACA, so they aren’t subject to the rules and regulations of the ACA. In other words, this type of plan doesn’t have to cover pre-existing conditions, and insurers can choose which health benefits to cover.
For example, ACA-compliant plans must cover maternity care, prescription drugs, substance abuse treatment and mental health services, but short term plans can choose not to cover any of these. In 2018, the Kaiser Family Foundation performed a study of short term health plans and their included benefits. They found 21 plans for sale in Jackson, Mississippi. None of them included coverage for maternity care. Approximately one-third had a prescription drug benefit. About the same number of plans included some coverage for substance abuse treatment. Over half (57 percent) offered some form of mental health benefits.
Because temporary health insurance is not considered minimum essential coverage, it doesn’t exempt you from the individual mandate fine. This penalty will no longer be in effect in 2019, but it’s still in place for the remainder of 2018.
Carriers Offering Short Term Policies in Mississippi
Companion Life Insurance Company (Pivot Health)
National General Accident and Health
LifeShield National Insurance Company
The IHC Group (Independence Holding Company)
UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)