Short-term health insurance may be an affordable coverage option if you do not need or want all of the coverage available in a comprehensive Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant plan. Short-term health insurance is available in most states with varying term lengths; however, plans aren’t available everywhere. So, what states allow short-term health insurance?
Keep reading to learn where short-term medical coverage is sold, which states require health insurance, and more.
Short-Term Health Insurance: What You Need to Know Before You Apply
Recent federal regulations rolled back the restrictions on short-term health insurance plans, which used to be limited to three-month terms. These new rules allow short-term policyholders to keep short-term health insurance for up to one year with the option to renew coverage up to two more years, depending on the state.* Additionally, the individual mandate, which required you to have health insurance or pay a penalty, no longer applies at the federal level. (Some states have an individual mandate at a state level, but more on that later.)
For those who are eligible, short-term health insurance can be more affordable than major medical plans. That’s because short-term health insurance is not required to comply with the ACA and, therefore, does not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions or for all 10 essential health benefits. However, short-term health insurance may offer the benefits you need. Plus, you can apply for short-term health insurance at any time because there is no enrollment period, and you can get covered as soon as the very next day.**
Short-term health insurance is available in most states, but regulations vary from one state to another – especially as they relate to how long you can keep short-term health insurance. Some states allow you to keep your plan for up to three years, while others have tighter restrictions.
States That Have an Individual Health Insurance Mandate
Although individual health insurance is no longer required on a federal level, some states enforce an individual mandate on a state level. That means you may be required to have qualifying health insurance depending on where you live. Otherwise, you may have to pay a penalty if you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it and you are a resident of:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
What States Allow Short-Term Health Insurance?
Each state has its own insurance regulations, so even in states where short-term health insurance is available, the laws that regulate it may vary from one state to another. For example, some states adhere to the federal rules that allow you to keep short-term coverage for nearly one year and renew your plan as many as two times. Other states limit short-term plans to three-month terms and do not allow renewals. It all depends on where you live. (Click here for a list pertaining to the maximum duration and renewal options of short-term health insurance plan regulations from state to state.)
Short-term health insurance is available in these states:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States Where Short-Term Health Insurance Is Not Available
There are several states where short-term health insurance is not available at all, either because the state doesn’t allow the sale of short-term health insurance outright or because the rules for short-term plans are so strict that insurance carriers won’t sell them there.
Short-term health insurance is not available in these states:
- New Mexico
- New York
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Shopping for Short-Term Coverage?
If you’re shopping for affordable health insurance and don’t need the benefits a comprehensive major medical plan offers, short-term health insurance could be a good option for you. However, it’s important to know that short-term health insurance is not required to comply with the ACA, and benefits vary widely since federal regulations allow insurance carriers to design their own plans.
Want a better idea of what you can expect from your coverage? A short-term health insurance plan through Vera Health typically includes access to the Aetna Open Choice® PPO network and benefits for doctor visits, urgent care, telemedicine, and other services. Click here to learn more about the benefits of short-term health insurance.
Is Vera Health available in your state? Vera sells short-term plans in:
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
If you’re considering purchasing short-term health insurance, or even if you’re on the fence, it’s crucial to do your research so you can make the best decision for your needs. Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be!
Vera Health can help you determine whether you’re a candidate for short-term health insurance and help you make sense of the regulations in your state. Just give us a call at 888-499-1187 to talk to a Vera pro, or visit us online and use our plan builder tool to get started.
*Maximum 12-months less one day/364 days in NE.
**Covered services may be subject to waiting periods, visit limitations, deductible, coinsurance, or copays, and/or benefit maximums depending on the plan you purchase.
Short Term Medical coverage is not required to comply with federal market requirements for health insurance, principally those contained in the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check your policy carefully to make sure you are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions or health benefits (such as hospitalization, emergency service, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services). If this coverage expires or you lose eligibility for this coverage, you might have to wait until an open enrollment period to get other health insurance coverage.