Short-term health plans in Arizona
- A new law allows short-term health insurance in Arizona to follow federal durational limits, with initial terms of up to 364 days and total duration of up to 36 months (this took effect in late August 2019).
- Prior to the new law, short-term health insurance plans in Arizona couldn’t have durations longer than 185 days, and if the plan was renewable, the renewal term couldn’t be more than 180 days.
- Insurers can cap their plans at shorter durations in Arizona.
- At least 11 insurers offer short-term health insurance in Arizona.
Arizona’s short-term health insurance regulations
But Arizona enacted legislation (SB1109) in 2019 that aligns durational limits for short-term health insurance in Arizona with the Trump administration’s new rules that took effect in 2018. Under the new law, short-term plans in Arizona can have initial terms of up to 364 days, and can be renewable for a total duration of up to 36 months.
SB1109 did not include a specific effective date, and the consumer guide that the Arizona Department of Insurance published only noted that the new rules would take effect in “the summer of 2019.” But the Arizona Department of Insurance confirmed by email that the new rules would take effect August 27, 2019.
SB1109 clarified that the state would update Arizona Revised Statutes Title 20, Chapter 6, Article 4, with a new section, 20-1384, which was added in late August.
Short-term plans duration in Arizona
Until the summer of 2019, short-term health insurance in Arizona was limited to a plan duration of no more than 185-day terms, and if renewal was available, the renewal term couldn’t be more than 180 days.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in Arizona?
The market for short-term health insurance in Arizona is robust, with numerous insurers offering plans:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (in partnership with IHC)
- Everest Prime
- Golden Rule (UnitedHealthcare)
- Independence American Insurance Company
- Madison National
- National General
- Philadelphia American Life Insurance
- Standard Life
- Companion Life
- United Security Health and Casualty
Contact information for several of these insurers is listed in the Arizona Insurance Department’s guide to short-term plans.
Who can get short-term health insurance in Arizona?
Short-term health insurance in Arizona can be purchased by residents who can meet the underwriting guidelines of insurers. In general, this means being under 65 years old and in fairly good health.
Short-term plans almost always include blanket exclusions for pre-existing conditions, so short-term coverage is not adequate for someone in the Grand Canyon State who needs medical care for ongoing or pre-existing conditions. We advise you to seek medical insurance that will cover those needs.
If you need health insurance in Arizona, your first step should be to see whether you’re eligible for a special enrollment period that would allow you to enroll in an ACA-compliant major medical plan. There are a variety of qualifying life events that will trigger a special enrollment period and allow you to buy a plan through the health insurance exchange in Arizona. These plans are purchased on a month-to-month basis, so you can enroll in a plan even if you only need coverage for a few months before another policy takes effect (with a premium subsidy if you’re eligible).
When should I consider short-term health insurance in Arizona?
There are times when a short-term health insurance plan might be the only realistic option, such as:
- If you missed open enrollment for ACA-compliant coverage and do not have a qualifying event that would trigger a special enrollment period.
- If you’re not eligible for Medicaid or a premium subsidy in the exchange, an ACA-compliant plan might be unaffordable.
People who are ineligible for premium subsidies include:
- Those who earn more than 400% of the poverty level. (For 2021 coverage, that amounts to $51,040 for a single person. If your ACA-specific modified adjusted gross income is just a little above the subsidy-eligible threshold, there are steps you can take to reduce it).
- People ensnared by the ACA’s family glitch.
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.