Short Term Health Insurance In Virginia
The state of Virginia follows federal guidelines in setting the duration of short-term health insurance plans. Since federal law currently caps temporary coverage to three months, you can’t buy a policy that lasts longer than that in Old Dominion. A proposed rule from the Trump administration would restore the duration of short-term policies to the regulation that existed before 2017. Once finalized, that proposal will allow insurers to set maximum durations of 364 days for temporary plans. States would retain the right to limit these policies at their discretion, but several states – including Virginia, most likely – would adhere to federal rules. The new regulation will probably take effect in 2018.
In the meantime, you can buy short-term health insurance from a variety of carriers in Virginia. Policies vary in terms of cost and coverage, but temporary plans share some things in common. Most exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, which are medical problems that existed as far back as five years from the time you apply for a policy in some cases. Many also exclude coverage for things like preventive screenings, prescription drugs, mental health benefits and maternity care.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey looked at short-term policies for populous cities nationwide. Of the 15 plans in Richmond that Kaiser found, 73 percent covered mental health services and 40 percent covered substance abuse treatment. Just 20 percent covered prescription drugs. As with every other set of plans that Kaiser reviewed for the survey, none of the short-term policies in Richmond covered maternity care.
Individual state laws restrict short-term policies to some degree, but Virginia appears to hold a more generous view of these plans. The state does not prohibit underwriting for short-term policies, does not limit short-term plans to periods of less than 12 months (unless, as is the case right now, federal law requires it), does not outline how long someone can be covered by a temporary plan (some states cap renewability) and does not require short-term policies to cover any state-mandated benefits.
The State Corporation Commission cautions consumers to review plans carefully before choosing a short-term policy. These plans do not conform to ACA standards, and they don’t count as minimum essential coverage under the law. For 2018, you can still be charged a tax penalty for failing to get ACA-compliant health insurance if you’re not exempt from the individual mandate. That mandate was repealed as part of the tax bill signed into law in 2017, but the penalty won’t be zeroed out until January 1, 2019.
Carriers Offering Short-Term Policies in Virginia
Companion Life Insurance Company
LifeShield National Insurance Company
Golden Rule Insurance Company (UnitedHealthcare)
Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company
Independence Holding Company (IHC Group)