Buying a short-term plan in Alaska
- Alaska defaults to the federal rules for short-term plans.
- Short-term plans are allowed to have initial terms of up to 364 days, with total duration, including renewals, of up to 36 months.
- Some state insurance regulations do apply to short-term plans in Alaska.
- Alaska’s Division of Insurance stresses the need for caution when consumers consider short-term health insurance.
- Five insurers are licensed to offer short-term plans in Alaska.
Alaska doesn’t limit the duration of short-term plans
Alaska does not have state-specific regulations pertaining to the duration of short-term health insurance plans, so the state defaults to the federal regulations and the Trump Administration’s new regulations apply in Alaska. Insurers are allowed to offer short-term plans with initial terms up to 364 days and the option to renew for a total duration of up to 36 months.
Until October 2, 2018, federal rules limited short-term health plans to three months, and prohibited renewal. But the Trump Administration relaxed those rules.
Alaska insurance regulations and short-term plans
The Alaska Division of Insurance confirmed that while the state does not have benefit mandates for short-term plans or limit the duration or renewability of short-term plans, there are some state-based rules that short-term plans must follow. These include rules relating to prompt payment of claims as well as the state’s 80th percentile rule for out-of-network providers. Rates and forms for short-term plans must be filed with, and approved by, the Alaska Division of Insurance.
In 2015, Alaska Insurance Commissioner, Lori Wing-Heier, issued a press release about a short-term product that was being fraudulently marketed in the state. The notice included information about the drawbacks of short-term plans.
The Alaska Division of Insurance has since reiterated the need for caution when consumers are considering short-term plans.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in Alaska?
The Alaska Division of Insurance has confirmed that five insurers are licensed to sell short-term plans in Alaska. But Independence American Life appears to be the only insurer actively marketing short-term health plans. However, plans can be sold by all five of these insurance companies:
- HCC Life Insurance Company
- Independence American Life
- National General (National Health Insurance Company)
- Standard Security Life
- United States Fire Insurance Company
Some national websites dedicated to short-term health insurance only have fixed indemnity plans available for Alaska; note that fixed indemnity plans are very different from short-term health insurance in terms of plan design, although both types of coverage are considered “excepted benefits,” meaning that they’re not regulated by the ACA.
Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.