Buying a short-term health plan in Kansas
- Kansas law limits the initial term to 12 months and only allows one renewal.
- So the maximum duration of a short-term plan in Kansas is 24 months.
- The state’s minimum loss ratio of 60 percent applies to short-term plans.
- At least four insurers offer short-term health plans in Kansas.
Short-term plans regulated under Kansas statute
Short-term plan duration in Kansas
The state law limits short-term plans to terms of “six months or 12 months, based upon policy design.” (The Kansas Insurance Department has clarified that the distinction between six-month and 12-month plans is up to the insurer; from a regulatory standpoint, the maximum term is 12 months).
Kansas statute also limits short-term plans to no more than one renewal period, regardless of whether the insurer uses medical underwriting for the renewal.
Under federal rules that were finalized in 2016 and took effect in 2017, short-term health plans were limited to three months in duration, and were not renewable. But the Trump Administration’s new rules for short-term plans (effective October 2, 2018), allow the plans to have initial terms up to 364 days, and total duration, including renewals, of up to 36 months.
The regulations are clear, however, in noting that states may continue to impose tighter regulations than the new federal rules. Since Kansas statute only allows for a maximum term of 12 months and no more than one renewal, the maximum total duration of a short-term plan in Kansas is 24 months.
Other Kansas regulations for short-term plans
Kansas has a minimum loss ratio of 60 percent, which applies to short-term plans. But under the terms of Kansas Statute 40-2, 193, any monthly administrative fees associated with a short-term plan are excluded from the medical loss ratio calculation.
Which insurance companies offer short-term plans in Kansas?
As of early 2019, the Kansas Insurance Department reported that four insurers were offering short-term plans in Kansas: BCBSKC, Independence American Insurance Company, Freedom Life, and Golden Rule.
As of late 2019, however, there were also plans for sale from National General. And Freedom Life did not appear to have any short-term plans for sale in Kansas. Short-term plans were available from four insurers at that point:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National General
- United Healthcare (Golden Rule)
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.