What You Need to Know
In Alaska, short-term health policies can provide up to 12 months of coverage, renewable for up to 36 months.
Unlike health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), short term plans are not required to cover pre-existing conditions or the 10 essential health benefits.
If you don’t qualify for an ACA subsidy, short-term plans may be more affordable than those available through the ACA marketplace.
is Alaska Short-Term Health Insurance?
A gap in health insurance coverage can happen at any time. For Alaskans, this can happen if you work seasonally in the fishing, construction, and tourism industries. During these times, you may want to consider picking up a short-term health insurance policy.
Short-term plans are designed to offer temporary health coverage. They feature low premiums and quick enrollment. But look closely at the details. Depending on your healthcare needs, they may provide limited coverage and require higher out-of-pocket costs.
Bridging the Gap
If you’re between jobs or waiting to enroll in Medicare or an ACA plan, a short-term plan.
Who Should Buy Short-Term Plans in Alaska?
Here are some things to know about short-term health plans in Alaska:
- Affordability: Short-term health plans are attractive options because they are often less expensive than ACA plans, especially if you are not eligible for an ACA subsidy. The tradeoff for low premiums is higher out-of-pocket costs when you need to access medical care.
- Enrollment: You can enroll in a short-term health insurance plan at any time. This is not true for ACA plans which you can only sign up for during the open enrollment period. Keep in mind that when the short-term plan ends, you won’t qualify for an ACA special enrollment period. If you want to sign up for an ACA plan after your short-term plan ends. you’ll have to wait for open enrollment, which runs from November 1 to January 15 each year.
- Your Health Status: A short-term plan makes the most sense if you are young and healthy. Short-term plans are not required to cover pre-existing conditions or the ACA’s 10 essential benefits.1 That means that services such as maternity care, mental health care, and prescription drugs may not be covered.
- Life Events: Short-term health plans offer a solution when life events lead to a gap in healthcare coverage, such as when you:
- Change jobs or lose a job
- Turn 26 and age out of your parents’ plan
- Move to a new location where your current plan is out-of-network
- Retire before age 65
- Lose a spouse’s coverage due to a divorce
- Waiting for eligibility for Medicare coverage
A short-term policy may not be a good option if you have pre-existing medical conditions or need the essential benefits of the ACA. In this case, you may want to consider other options.
The advantages and disadvantages of short-term plans include:
- Short-term health insurance may be a cheaper option than an ACA plan.
- You can enroll in a short-term plan at any time.
- Your out-of-pocket costs will likely be higher with a short-term plan.
- Short-term plans do not usually cover preexisting conditions, or the 10 essential health benefits required under the ACA.
- Many short-term plans require medical underwriting. Each time you apply for a short-term plan, the insurance carrier will evaluate your medical history to determine whether they will cover you. That means that if you get sick, you may be denied coverage if you re-apply.
Consider All Costs
You have other costs besides the premiums. These include copayments, coinsurance, and the plan’s deductible, may make sense.
How Much Are Alaska Short-Term Plans?
Before choosing a short-term health plan, make sure you understand all the costs, including:
- Premiums: This is what you pay each month for your health plan.
- Deductibles: This is what you pay before your insurance starts to pick up its share of your medical costs.
- Coinsurance: This is the percentage of what you pay after you’ve met your deductible.
- Copayments: These are fixed fees for covered services that you pay after you’ve met your deductible. Copays vary by the type of visit, service, or provider.
What Are Rules Governing Short-Term Plans in Alaska?
In 2018, the Federal government extended the maximum duration of short-term plans. Short-term health insurance carriers are now able to sell plans with terms of up to 12 months, renewable up to 36 months.2 Alaska follows the Federal regulations.3
Who Sells Short-Term Plans in Alaska?
Short-term health insurance carriers that offer plans in Alaska include:
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National Health Insurance Company
- UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)
If you’re a resident of Alaska and have a gap in your health coverage, you have many health insurance options. Short-term health insurance is a quick and inexpensive option that can help you bridge that gap.
Whether a short-term plan is right for you will depend on your financial situation and health status. Be sure to shop around and compare all plans available to you. By doing so, you’ll ensure the plan you choose offers the coverage you need at a price you can afford.