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Desperate for coverage: Are short-term plans better than none at all?

Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

The least expensive ACA plan in his area would cost his family $1,335 a month, according to government website healthcare.gov, which is about the same as the short-term plan by National. The ACA plan has a bigger annual deductible -- $13,600 for his family -- but the gap dwindles if someone falls ill and the family ends up meeting the deductible under the short-term plan in each of the four consecutive terms.

Consumer advocates say an ACA plan would cost the family more upfront but would include benefits for any pre-existing conditions and would cover more, noting the short-term plan does not include coverage for prescription drugs and excludes benefits for chronic pain, congenital conditions and immunodeficiency disorders.

"People should be aware," said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. "There's a huge variety of plans out there -- from true bottom feeders that are going to take your money and don't provide any protection to legitimate products that are designed to meet a short-term need."

Her advice: Find a reputable broker, read the fine print "and look for caps on amounts that they will pay per service, which can leave you holding the financial bag if you have to go to the hospital."

(Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.)

 

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