If you’re facing a gap in health insurance — due to a job change, getting off your parents’ insurance, or waiting for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage to kick in — you’re likely wondering how to bridge that gulf. Going without medical insurance is a risk you probably don’t want to take, since you could face high medical bills and the challenge of getting access to the care you need. Enter Minnesota short-term health insurance.
What Is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term healthcare coverage is meant to close the gap between when your previous benefits run out and your new long-term medical insurance is scheduled to start. Here are some of the major eligibility requirements:
- You’re outside of open enrollment for ACA coverage
- You’re awaiting Medicare eligibility
- You’re not working, but expecting a new job with benefits to start soon
- You’re anticipating the beginning of another kind of coverage, such as getting on a spouse’s policy
Understand that Minnesota short-term health insurance is designed as supplemental, not a replacement for regular insurance. There are medical issues that will not be covered by this insurance, including preexisting conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity. If you have a preexisting condition, you’re best advised to look elsewhere for coverage.
What Are State-Specific Laws and Regulations in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, short-term plans are limited1 to six months, meaning 185 days or less. While you can’t renew your short-term insurance plan, you are allowed to buy another one, giving you coverage for as much as 365 days within a 555-day — or 18-month — period. It’s important to remember that you’re not guaranteed the same plan if you choose to purchase short-term coverage a second time. Additionally, if you developed a medical condition during your previous short-term plan, your new plan will not cover it as it will be considered a preexisting condition.
Your premium can’t be based on your health status, but you can be denied short-term medical coverage based on your health history, your family’s medical history, or your age.
How Can You Buy a Short-Term Insurance Plan in Minnesota?
Per the ACA, states have the option to create their own health insurance marketplace. Minnesota’s is known as MNsure and was created as a one-stop destination for shopping, comparing, and purchasing medical insurance. The state’s health insurance providers are:
- BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota
- Health Partners Insurance
- Humana Insurance
- Medica Insurance
- PreferredOne Insurance
- UCare Insurance
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for You?
Before you commit to a short-term health insurance plan, you need to do your research. You want to make sure that this is the right choice for your personal situation, so take some time to study the plans you’re considering before signing on the dotted line. Here are some of the major things you’ll need to think about:
- Your personal situation. If you’re leaving your parents’ health insurance, changing jobs, or waiting for new benefits to kick in, short-term healthcare coverage may be your best option while you solidify your next move.
- Your budget. While short-term health insurance policies offer lower costs up front, you should be prepared to spend more out-of-pocket on expenses that these policies won’t cover, or will only cover in part. If you have a preexisting condition or other circumstances that compromise your health, there may be better choices for your needs.
- Your health. Short-term medical insurance coverage typically focuses on medical visits, emergency and urgent care, and some prescription drugs, but more comprehensive services like preventive care or outpatient prescriptions might not be covered. If you’re in good health and you don’t have a lot of medical needs, temporary health insurance may work for you.
- Your timeframe. If you need insurance immediately, short-term medical coverage can offer a quick approval and kick in right away. That said, you should remember that this coverage does not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, unlike an ACA policy. If you’re going to apply for an ACA policy after your short-term medical coverage ends, you’ll need to wait until the standard enrollment period of November 1 to January 15.
When Is Short-Term Health Insurance Not the Right Choice for You?
While short-term healthcare coverage can be helpful, it’s not designed to address all needs. This temporary insurance is best for people who don’t have preexisting conditions or a lot of medical issues. Additionally, remember that short-term policies don’t cover the ACA’s essential health benefits, meaning:
- Ambulatory services
- Chronic disease management
- Emergency services
- Laboratory work
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental-health and substance abuse treatment
- Pediatric services
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative services
You might think twice about opting for a short-term health insurance policy if you need any of these essential benefits.
In certain situations, a short-term health insurance policy can be the right answer for you. That said, it’s important to understand that these low-cost policies have many restrictions, so make sure you know what your chosen plan will and won’t cover before you sign up.