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Those short-term health plans may cost less -- or more


Consumers who buy a health insurance policy good for only 364 days might save hundreds of dollars in premiums, but they could also find themselves without important benefits and charged a penalty for not having insurance next year, reports Kaiser Health News. 

"Under the healthcare law, in January most issuers have to start accepting all applicants regardless of their medical conditions and offer plans with comprehensive benefits that limit out-of-pocket costs. But short-term medical plans, defined as policies with terms lasting less than 12 months, can sidestep all the law’s new requirements. A number of insurance vendors are taking advantage of this loophole and offering plans with skimpier coverage that last up to 364 days.

“I am concerned that health insurers will try to … sell people coverage that yes, may come with a cheaper sticker price, but that may expose them to significant financial risks down the line,” says Sabrina Corlette, project director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

"In addition to inadequate coverage, consumers who rely on short-term plans will likely face a penalty next year for not having insurance because the plans don’t qualify as “minimum essential coverage” under the law. Plans that meet the standard must cover 10 “essential health benefits” and cover at least 60 percent of allowed medical expenses. Read more.


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