Short Term Health Insurance In Montana

Like every state under current federal law, Montana short term health plans are limited to durations of 90 days at a time. This is the result of a ruling made under the Obama administration. The 90-day limit went into effect for all 50 states in early 2017.

The Trump administration has issued a proposal that Americans should once again have the option to purchase short term health insurance plans that last for up to 364 days. If that change goes into effect, many Americans would be able to subscribe to longer short term plans than the ones that are now available.

Despite the current federal limit, Montana documents refer to short term medical plans as typically having a six-month duration. So even if the federal rule does change, you shouldn’t expect to be able to sign up for a 12-month temporary plan in Montana. It’s reasonable to expect that the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance would still enforce a six-month term limit for these plans.

If the federal rule does expand term limits for temporary health insurance plans, the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center estimates that many Montana residents will no longer enroll in Affordable Care Act plans. The group predicts that approximately 10,000 people who currently participate in ACA-compliant plans would quit carrying that type of coverage in 2019. That figure represents about 19.1 percent of the Montana residents with minimum essential coverage.

Montana officials caution residents that short term health insurance does not offer the same comprehensive benefits as ACA-compliant major medical plans. These plans do not typically cover pre-existing conditions, and they set a cap on the amount they will pay out on your behalf. Although premiums are typically lower than those of major medical insurance, these plans could end up costing more in the long run if you get sick or hurt during the policy term.

In large part, short term plans offer lower premiums than other types of health insurance because they are medically underwritten. Insurers don’t typically issue temporary health insurance policies to people with serious health issues or pre-existing conditions.

The state of Montana doesn’t set limits on how often you can reapply for a short term health insurance plan. When one policy term ends, you can apply for another, and you can do this as many times as you’d like. However, the long-term viability of this approach depends on whether you remain healthy. If you develop a medical problem during one policy term, you probably won’t be approved for a subsequent term.

Short term plans don’t have to cover all of the health benefits that the ACA deems essential. The Kaiser Family Foundation performed a 2018 study that illustrates this reality. The group looked at the four short term plans that were offered in Billings, Montana, at that time. None of the four plans provided any coverage for maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health services or substance abuse treatment.

Montana insurance authorities encourage residents to rely on short term plans primarily as gap coverage. They recognize that temporary plans can play an important role for people who are between standard plans, but they encourage consumers to fully educate themselves about the coverage before signing up.

Carriers Offering Short Term Policies in Montana

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

Sources: term-health-insurance-would-affect-montana/ term-health-plans/