What to know before you buy short-term health insurance: The New York Times

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

“The Trump administration has just completed rules that will allow people to shop for a new kind of health insurance,” Margot Sanger-Katz writes over at The New York Times. “So-called short-term plans will be offered for relatively long periods — just under a year at a time, with renewals for up to 36 months — and they will be marketed extensively in most states. They will tend to have substantially lower prices than the insurance people can buy in Obamacare markets, and for some people they may look like a better option. But the plans are cheaper for a reason: They tend to cover fewer medical services than comprehensive insurance, and they will charge higher prices to people with pre-existing health problems, if they’ll cover them at all. That means that it’s really important to shop carefully. Such plans frequently contain a lot of fine print and tend to have a lot more holes in coverage than the Obamacare plans that most people who buy their own insurance currently have. ‘ Currently, short-term plans are allowed in most states but can be sold for only three months at a time. The new, longer-term short-term plans will become available 60 days from now.   Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, shown in May, said on Wednesday that short-term health plans ‘can provide a much more affordable option.’  The plans don’t cover some types of care Here are some examples of elements they tend not to cover: prenatal and maternity care; mental health and drug treatment; prescription drugs. In a recent survey of short-term plans, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only a small fraction covered those broad categories of care. Margot Sanger-Katz, “What to Know Before You Buy Short-Term Health Insurance,” The New York Times.