Why short-term insurance will sell you short
“ ‘These are substandard products,’ sold on the premise that ‘junk insurance is better than nothing’ for people who cannot afford comprehensive coverage, Troy J. Oechsner, a deputy superintendent at the New York Department of Financial Services, told the insurers.”
—Trump’s short-term health insurance policies quickly run into headwinds, The New York Times
Earlier this month, a rule quietly went into effect that will encourage consumers to purchase health insurance policies that do not meet the core standards of the Affordable Care Act. Stopgap short-term insurance policies—previously capped at just a few months under Obama-era regulations—can now be extended up to 36 months. At a lower price point than many ACA plans, they’ll be attractive to millions of Americans, at the cost of forfeiting access to prescription drug coverage, prenatal and maternity care, mental health treatment, and more.
Don’t expect short-term insurance to go under the radar. These plans will be heavily advertised across the country (unlike open enrollment for the ACA)—although, as The New York Times notes, many states are challenging marketing pushes for short-term insurance, or even enforcing the original time limitations.
Our right to health and well-being has become a partisan issue in this country. It’s a travesty. The bottom line? Decent health insurance is an absolute necessity, and if you don’t have it through work, you’ll need to purchase it. If you’re younger and healthier, that may mean going with a lower-cost high-deductible plan. But you shouldn’t resort to short-term insurance, which could leave you with inconsistent coverage during a medical emergency and paying out of pocket for prescriptions. You deserve better—we all do.