Buying short-term health plans in Illinois
- Illinois defaults to federal rules on short-term health plans.
- As of October 2018, short-term plans can have durations up to 364 days and be renewed up to 36 months.
- State lawmakers tried to limit short-term plans, but the governor vetoed the measure.
- The state’s insurance department has also warned consumers about marketing tactics in which short-term plans are disguised as ACA-compliant coverage.
- Eight insurers offer short-term plans in the state.
Duration limits of short-term plans in Illinois
Illinois does not currently restrict short-term health insurance plans, and instead defaults to the federal rules. Until October 2, 2018, federal rules limited short-term plans to three months in duration and renewals were prohibited. But the Trump Administration’s new rules for short-term plans allow them to have initial terms of up to 364 days, and to be renewable (at the insurer’s discretion) for a total duration of up to 36 months.
Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to limit plans
HB2624, which was approved by lawmakers in 2018 and sent to the governor in late June, would have implemented state-level guidelines for short-term plans. The amended version of HB2624 would have limited short-term plans to durations of less than 181 days and would have prohibited renewals. In addition, an enrollee would not have been allowed to purchase a new short-term plan from the same issuer within 60 days of the termination of a previous short-term plan.
The legislation was sent to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner on June 29, 2018, and he had 60 days to sign it or veto it. The bill would have automatically become law after 60 days if he had taken no action, but he vetoed it on August 26.
So short-term plan durations in Illinois continue to be limited only by federal rules.
Illinois insurance department: buyer beware
The Illinois Department of Insurance has warned consumers about high-pressure marketing tactics in which short-term plans are sometimes disguised as ACA-compliant coverage.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in Illinois?
- Companion Life
- Everest Prime
- Golden Rule (UnitedHealthcare)
- Health Alliance Medical Plans
- Independence American Life
- National General
- Standard Life
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois previously offered short-term plans, but discontinued them in 2016.
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.