Short Term Health Insurance In West Virginia
Current federal law limits short-term health insurance to terms of three months in West Virginia and the country as a whole. Before 2017, short-term policies could be held for up to 364 days depending on the insurer and the state where you lived. The Obama administration changed that regulation, capping these policies to just three months in an effort to encourage more people to choose major medical plans that were compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Trump administration wants to change duration limits back to the 364-day cap that existed before 2017, and it will likely succeed once its proposed rule takes effect in 2018. Until then, if you live in West Virginia and want short-term coverage, your benefits will only last for about 90 days at a time. You can reapply for coverage from the same company or a different one, but you will face medical underwriting again since these plans are not guaranteed-issue or automatically renewable.
ACA-compliant policies must adhere to a strict set of regulations, including covering 10 essential health benefits and guaranteeing coverage for pre-existing conditions. Short-term plans don’t have to adhere to the law because they aren’t considered major medical policies. You can be denied coverage based on your health history, and nearly all short-term plans will deny claims related to any medical conditions that you had before the policy started. These and other exclusions are at the insurer’s discretion.
States impose their own regulations on short-term plans. In West Virginia, for instance, short-term policies must cover some state-mandated benefits. The Kaiser Family Foundation analyzed temporary plans from populous cities throughout the country. Residents of Huntington had access to 22 plans at the time of the survey. Of those, 59 percent covered mental health services, while just 36 percent covered substance abuse treatment and 32 percent covered prescription drugs. None of the plans covered maternity care, a common exclusion among temporary policies.
If you buy short-term health insurance in West Virginia, you need to understand that it does not count as minimum essential coverage under the ACA. That means that you’ll pay a fine for not having compliant health insurance if short-term coverage is all you have – at least for this year. Starting in 2019, the penalty for not having health insurance will be zeroed out, which could encourage more people to sign up for these policies in lieu of traditional benefits.
Carriers Offering Short-Term Policies in West Virginia
National General Accident & Health
Golden Rule Insurance Company (UnitedHealthcare)
Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company
Companion Life Insurance Company
LifeShield National Insurance Company
Independence Holding Company (IHC Group)