Temporary health plans with low benefits continue to grow

Have I got a deal for you?
Have I got a deal for you?

From Kaiser Health News (Consumers Drawn to Low Prices of Temporary Health Plans Despite Risks)

Long seen as a stopgap for people between jobs, short-term policies that focus on catastrophic coverage [are growing in popularity].  In exchange for their lower premiums, the plans come with sharp limits, including no coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Many consumer advocates hoped interest in such plans would decline after the Affordable Care Act made broader coverage widely available, but short-term policies appear to be enjoying a resurgence, brokers say.

The article doesn’t directly address why the plans are continuing to sell. Here’s what I think:

  • The Affordable Care Act has increased awareness that everyone needs to have health insurance, so more people who would have otherwise had a gap in coverage are purchasing these plans instead
  • Some shoppers may think that the plans –some of which can be bought on line– are actually part of the Obamacare exchanges; they don’t realize that the plans don’t meet the essential benefits requirements
  • In states that have not expanded Medicaid, lower income buyers may be opting for temporary plans instead. The article didn’t provide data to analyze this possibility, but I’m interested
  • The plans are marketing themselves effectively, emphasizing affordability

Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

June 3, 2015

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