What You Need to Know
Short-term health plans in Mississippi last up to 364 days, renewable for up to 36 months.
Monthly premiums are usually lower than for traditional health insurance plans.
Short-term plans may offer limited coverage and don’t have to provide minimum essential health benefits.
What Is Mississippi Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health insurance, also called limited-duration or temporary health insurance, is one type of coverage Mississippi residents can buy. It’s meant to cover temporary gaps in your healthcare insurance, not as long-term health coverage.
You might need short-term insurance after losing your job, graduating from college, missing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) annual enrollment period, or while waiting to be eligible for Medicare at age 65.
Mississippi adopted the federal guidelines for short-term policies that were issued in 2018. Mississippians can now buy health coverage that lasts up to 364 days and can be renewed for up to 36 months.1
Who Should Buy Short-Term Plans in Mississippi?
A short-term plan could be a good choice if you’re relatively healthy and need health insurance coverage until you can get a more comprehensive long-term solution.
Affordability: These plans provide a less expensive option for Magnolia State residents who can’t afford the ACA individual health insurance market, especially those who don’t qualify for subsidies on ACA-compliant policies. Temporary health insurance might help if you lose your job and can’t afford the high premiums for the COBRA medical insurance your former employer offers, if you aren’t eligible for Medicare, or earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Enrollment: You can buy a short-term health plan at any time of year. When your plan ends, though, you won’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period that lets you sign up for an ACA policy. Instead, you’ll have to wait until the next ACA Open Enrollment Period.2
No Enrollment Period
You can sign up for a short-term plan whenever you want.
Relatively healthy: Short-term health insurance could offer enough coverage, as long as you only expect to need routine doctor visits and don’t have significant health concerns.
The bridge between coverage: A short-term policy can offer a temporary solution if you’re in the waiting period for a new employer’s health plan or if you missed the Open Enrollment Period for an ACA-compliant plan.
Insurers can reject you for health issues. Keep in mind that even if you could pass medical underwriting with a preexisting condition like cancer or diabetes, a temporary health plan isn’t likely to offer you enough coverage. Short-term insurance plans don’t have to cover the “essential health benefits” the ACA requires, such as maternity care or prescription drug coverage.
Pros and Cons of Short-Term Plans
Here are some things to consider about Mississippi short-term health insurance plans:
- Short-term plans tend to cost less than plans available through the ACA Marketplace or COBRA.
- It’s easy to sign up for short-term health insurance, and you can do it anytime. Your policy can start right away if you enroll online.
- A short-term plan can give you peace of mind about routine health issues or emergency services if you’re healthy.
- To pass medical underwriting, you’ll have to answer extensive questions about your health. Your application can be rejected for a preexisting condition.
- Short-term plans offer less coverage than you would get with an ACA-compliant policy.
- A health issue that starts in one term will be considered a preexisting condition in the next one. And deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums start back at zero with each new term.
- Since the ACA doesn’t regulate short-term plans, you can’t get premium subsidies like you could for an ACA-compliant policy through the Marketplace.3
How Much Are Mississippi Short-Term Plans?
You’ll most likely have a monthly premium to pay for your short-term plan. You’ll also have a deductible, which is how much you’ll pay before the plan starts paying medical claims.
After you meet your deductible, you’ll pay a percentage of medical expenses, called coinsurance, plus set amounts charged for each service called copayments. Check the details of your out-of-pocket costs before you sign with an insurer.
An out-of-pocket maximum will limit how much you have to pay. Total policy coverage is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for eligible expenses during the policy period. You’re responsible for 100% of your medical expenses after the maximum is reached.
Those costs and limits will each vary from plan to plan. For example, Pivot Health offers 79 short-term plans for 35-year-old women who live in Jackson, Mississippi.4
Monthly premiums range from $99.23 to $488.59, with only one plan costing under $100 per month, but 24 between $100 and $200. Deductibles range from $1,000 to $10,000, and coinsurance is typically 0%, 20% or 30%. Maximum out-of-pocket expenses range from $1,000 to $10,000, and total policy coverage runs between $100,000 and $1,000,000.
One budget-friendly plan for a 35-year-old woman in Louisville includes:
- $99.23 premium
- $10,000 deductible
- 30% coinsurance
- $10,000 maximum out-of-pocket
- $100,000 total policy coverage
A 35-year-old woman in Gulfport also has 79 plans to choose from, but premiums run a bit lower: from $96.64 to $473.28. Deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximum ranges are the same. She could buy the same economy plan for a few dollars less or a deluxe plan as follows:
- $473.28 premium
- $1,000 deductible
- 20% coinsurance
- $3,000 maximum out-of-pocket
- $1,000,000 total policy coverage
What Are Rules Governing Short-Term Plans in Mississippi?
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued rules extending the duration of short-term policies. Under the new federal guidelines, initial short-term insurance policies increased from three months to 364 days with renewals that could stretch them out for up to three years. Mississippi has no restrictions in state law that would limit short-term plans.
The Mississippi Department of Insurance has to approve any short-term policies offered by insurance carriers. Short-term plans must clearly state that they do not comply with federal requirements for health insurance, mentioning any exclusions or limitations, including preexisting conditions and other essential health benefits. Any lifetime or annual dollar limits on health benefits must also be disclosed.5
According to the Mississippi Insurance Department in 2019, short-term medical insurance often provides some coverage for preventive care, doctor visits, urgent care, emergency care, and prescription drugs.6 However, insurers can choose which health benefits to cover.
Who Sells Short-Term Plans in Mississippi?
If Mississippi temporary health insurance makes sense for your current situation, research the available insurance plans to find one that gives you the most coverage for your money. You can contact an insurer directly or reach out to an insurance agent. Make sure you understand your needs and the plan’s limitations before you sign up.