Short-term health insurance in Arkansas is designed to fill gaps in coverage. It is sometimes called temporary health insurance or term insurance. These plans are meant to cover basic or emergency health needs until you can purchase a longer-term plan. This gives you quick, low-cost coverage for those times when you may be between jobs or waiting for a group insurance policy to begin.
Arkansas Short-Term Health Insurance Regulations
Arkansas follows federal regulations for short-term health insurance. Under these laws, insurers offer an initial policy of up to 364 days. You can renew your policy for up to 36 months.1
The state also periodically reviews rates for short-term health insurance to make sure they’re fair. The state conducts a rate review process any time there is a change in the rate, as noted by the Arkansas Insurance Department.2
Arkansas laws for short-term health insurance also require that insurers provide some specific benefits that aren’t required by the Affordable Care Act. This includes preventive healthcare for children as well as gastric pacemakers and medical food requirements. State-mandated benefits in Arkansas also include therapy and support for autism spectrum disorders, diabetic supplies and education, and newborn care. Policies should also help for loss of speech and hearing.3
Short-term health insurance in Arkansas must also meet state regulations for the insurance industry.4 These statutes set terms for grace periods and billing processes, and outline the claims process.
What You Need to Know
Arkansas residents can enroll in short-term plans for up 364 days with the option to renew for up to 36 months.
Short-term plans could prove a good fit if you need temporary coverage in between jobs or while waiting for Medicare eligibility to begin.
Short-term plans may not suit you if you have a lot of medical needs or if you qualify for an Obamacare subsidy.
How Much Does Short-Term Health Insurance Cost in Arkansas?
The cost of temporary health insurance in Arkansas depends on your level of coverage as well as your coinsurance requirements. According to PivotHealth.com, a 35-year-old woman living in Little Rock, Ark. could get 364 days of coverage for $87.56 a month. The plan has a $10,000 deductible, 30% coinsurance and $10,000 out-of-pocket maximum. Other plans with features such as telemedicine or lower deductibles are available as well although at a higher premium.
Some key factors include:
The premium is the base cost of the policy. Most short-term policies are paid monthly or for the total coverage period. The cost of the premium depends on the type of coverage selected, who the policy covers (individual or family), any required coinsurance, and the amount of the deductible.
The deductible is the amount you must pay toward any covered cost before the policy kicks in.
A copay is a fee paid at the time of service, such as when visiting a doctor.
Coinsurance is a cost shared with the plan after you reach your deductible. At this point, the remaining costs are often split by a percentage. You pay a portion of every bill up to this percentage, and the insurance policy covers the remaining portion.
Temporary plans generally cost less than long-term insurance plans. But they offer limited coverage and aren’t required to cover the essential benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as maternity care or substance abuse treatment. That means your out-of-pocket costs will be higher.
Did You Know?
Short-term plans can be approved and in place within days.
How to Buy Short-Term Insurance Plans in Arkansas
Short-term health insurance plans in Arkansas are sold by private insurance companies. Not all insurers offer them, and they aren’t sold on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace because they don’t meet ACA requirements.
Compare several companies to find a plan that’s best for your lifestyle and expected costs.
Where Can You Find Short-Term Health Insurance Policies in Arkansas?
Several health insurance companies offer short-term plans in Arkansas. Check with the companies to see the details of what they offer:
- Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Companion Life
- Everest Prime
- Golden Rule (UnitedHealthcare)
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National General
- QualChoice (QuicChoice)
- Standard Life
- United Security Health and Casualty
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for You?
Temporary medical coverage can be a good choice for you in these situations:
- You want a low-cost health insurance plan. Short-term plans are typically much less expensive than traditional health insurance.
- You are aging off your parents’ insurance plan.
- You’re waiting for major medical health insurance to begin from a new employer.
- You need quick coverage while you’re waiting for the Open Enrollment Period for major medical insurance. Short-term plans can be approved and in place within days.
- You’re relatively healthy, and you don’t have preexisting conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
- You want to be able to cancel your health insurance policy at any time.
When Is Short-Term Insurance Not the Right Choice for You?
If you have preexisting conditions, short-term health insurance might not be a good option. Short-term plans are subject to medical underwriting, meaning you can be denied coverage if you have a preexisting condition. If you have a lot of medical needs, like certain prescriptions or specialist care, those also might not be covered by a short-term policy. In these cases, you’d pay more out-of-pocket.
Short-term plans also aren’t required to cover the ACA essential benefits. The ACA requires 10 essential health benefits to be met. This includes:
- Ambulatory patient services in an outpatient care setting
- Emergency services
- Hospitalization for overnight stays or surgical procedures
- Mental health and substance abuse disorder services such as behavioral health treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, such as recovery after illness or help for chronic conditions
- Lab services
- Preventive and wellness services
- Pediatric services including oral and vision care for children
If you need or think you’ll need any of these benefits, you should look elsewhere for coverage.
Short-term plans are affordable and can be easy to get. That makes them ideal to fill in gaps between long-term coverage. If a short-term insurance plan is a good fit for your health and budget needs, call or check the websites of the companies that offer temporary health insurance. Comparing their plans will help you find the one that’s best for you.