Buying short-term health plans in Idaho
- Short-term plans in Idaho can have terms of up to 364 days.
- Short-term plans are defined in Idaho as being non-renewable, so the 36-month total duration allowed in federal rules does not apply in Idaho.
- Idaho consumers received cautions from the state about the potential drawbacks of short-term plans.
- 3,769 people had short-term coverage in Idaho in 2016.
- At least nine insurers offer short-term plans in Idaho.
How long can short-term plans last in Idaho?
Under longstanding rules, Idaho allows short-term health plans to have durations of up to one year (constrained by federal regulations — so until October 2, 2018, the maximum term was three months, but it is 364 days now that the Trump Administration’s new regulations are in effect).
But if the plans are renewable, they’re subject to Idaho’s rules that apply to Idaho’s individual insurance market, including a requirement that the plans be guaranteed renewable. So short-term plans are defined in Idaho as being non-renewable (see Idaho insurance statutes, Title 41, Chapter 52).
Because Idaho does not limit the initial term of short-term policies, the Trump Administration’s new regulations apply in the state: Insurers may offer short-term plans with initial terms up to 364 days.
But plans that renew beyond that duration are subject to state regulations, including guaranteed renewability. So the portion of the new federal rule that allows short-term plans, with renewal, to have total durations up to 36 months does not apply in Idaho.
Idaho and short-term insurance regulations
The Idaho Department of Insurance published a news release in 2016, cautioning residents about the potential drawbacks of short-term health insurance, while noting that the plans can be appropriate for people who missed open enrollment and don’t have access to a special enrollment period for ACA-compliant coverage.
In 2017, the Idaho Department of Insurance published an overview of coverage in the state. As of 2016, there were 3,769 people with short-term health insurance coverage in Idaho, which was a decrease of 13.3 percent since 2015.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in Idaho?
- Blue Cross of Idaho
- Companion Life
- Everest Prime
- Independence American Life
- Life Map
- National General
- Select Health (Transition plans)
- Standard Life
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.