Road to Expand Short-Term Medical Offerings is Wide Open in 2018

Short-term medical (STM) coverage, a type of health insurance designed to help bridge gaps in your clients’ health coverage, offers consumers flexibility in coverage length and cost. While it does not provide the minimum essential health benefits by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it can serve as an affordable option for those facing life-altering transition periods.

2018 and STM coverage

Because STM plans don’t have to adhere to ACA regulations, consumers “would have a wider array of options with lower monthly rates1.” Current legislative reform attempts are expected to make room for more STM plans2.  While “these policies can exclude those with pre-existing conditions or base rates on consumers’ medical history” and “offer skimpier benefits1,” major insurance carriers, including UnitedHealth and Aetna, have expressed interest in expanding their portfolios with STM offerings3:

UnitedHealth president and COO Dan Schumacher: “…we are excited to see [the regulation on STM plans that limited length of coverage] extended to the full year, because the reality is it provides a bridge for people in between coverage3.”

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini: “We are actually looking at reenergizing a program we had prior to the ACA, but in a more on a focus of short-term, one-year kind of plan, or transition plan, versus just the skinny benefit…4.”

Who benefits from STM coverage?

This level of coverage may fit the needs of your clients who are:

  • Transitioning between jobs
  • Waiting for employer insurance to begin
  • Graduating from college
  • Rolling off parents’ coverage
  • Waiting for Medicare coverage to become effective

What are some of the features that STM plans provide?

  • Your clients can choose this level of coverage at any time in the year.
  • Your clients can choose from a variety of plans, many of which include preventive care for individuals as well as for families.
  • Because benefits are more restricted or limited, your clients can take advantage of rates that are often lower than major medical coverage.
  • Your clients can often see providers of their choice. If a provider does not file a claim for your client in office, your clients can easily submit their own claims to the carrier for reimbursement.
Disclaimer: STM coverage is not intended to be a replacement or alternative to ACA or other major medical plans nor does it provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required and it won’t help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance. They can have exclusions and limitations, which may not make them a valid option for some clients.

Learn more about incorporating short-term medical coverage into your portfolio by:

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Health Insurance Innovations, Inc. is a leading developer and administrator of affordable, web-based individual health insurance plans and ancillary products. We help consumers address their health insurance needs by offering access to a number of products offered by various insurance carriers.

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Sources:

1: “What happened to Trump’s big plans for insurance?” WCPO.com.  https://www.wcpo.com/news/national/what-happened-to-trump-s-big-plans-for-health-insurance-?page=2

2: “From premiums to politics: 5 predictions for the health insurance industry in 2018.” Leslie Small.  https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payer/year-preview-predictions-politics-aca-mergers

3: “UnitedHealth’s (UNH) CEO David Wichmann on Q3 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript.” SeekingAlpha.com.  https://seekingalpha.com/article/4114057-unitedhealths-unh-ceo-david-wichmann-q3-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript?part=single

4: “Aetna (AET) Q3 2017 Results –  Earnings Call Transcript.” SeekingAlpha.comhttps://seekingalpha.com/article/4118741-aetna-aet-q3-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript?part=single