Senior Policy Analyst
With about two weeks left before the December 15 deadline to sign up for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans through health insurance marketplaces, people who need health coverage for 2019 should focus on them — and not the short-term plans that new federal rules aim to establish as an alternative. Unlike marketplace plans, short-term plans don’t offer comprehensive coverage or protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Among the advantages of marketplace plans, especially when compared to short-term plans:
Of the short-term plans available through two major online broker sites, by contrast, 43 percent don’t cover mental health services, 62 percent don’t cover substance use disorder treatment, 71 percent don’t cover outpatient prescription drugs, and none cover maternity care, an April 2018 study found.
Short-term health plans, meanwhile, aren’t subject to the federal medical loss ratio requirement — and it shows: in 2017, the top three companies selling short-term health plans paid just 43 percent, 34 percent, and 52 percent of the premiums they collected on medical claims.