Buying a short-term plan in Maryland
- Maryland enacted legislation in 2018 to limit short-term plans to three months and prohibit renewal.
- The new federal rules, allowing for extended short-term plans, do not apply in Maryland.
- Maryland’s Insurance Administration conducted a comprehensive study of short-term plans in 2017.
- Various state-mandated benefits must be included in short-term plans sold in Maryland.
- At least four insurers offer short-term health plans in Maryland.
The Maryland Insurance Administration conducted a study of short-term health insurance plans in 2017, resulting in a detailed report about the state’s short-term market and associated state regulations. The study was to determine whether Maryland had a need for short-term plans sold by non-admitted insurers, in addition to the already-available short-term plans sold by admitted insurers. (Here’s a summary of what admitted and non-admitted mean.) Ultimately, the Maryland Insurance Administration recommended that the legislature continue to allow only admitted insurers to offer short-term health insurance plans in the state.
Short-term plans in MD limited to three-months
Until October 2, 2018, federal regulations limited short-term plans to no more than three months, and renewals were prohibited. Much longer short-term plans are allowed under the new federal regulations, unless a state imposes its own restrictions.
Maryland enacted HB1782 in 2018, which limits short-term plans to three months and prohibits renewal. The Trump Administration’s new rules for short-term plans are clear in noting that states may continue to impose tighter regulations than the new federal rules. So short-term plans in Maryland will continue to be nonrenewable and have maximum terms of three months.
Although short-term plans cannot be renewed, a person is allowed to apply for additional short-term plans, with a new application, after a short-term plan ends.
What other regulations apply to short-term plans in Maryland?
The Maryland Insurance Administration’s (MIA) report notes that short-term plans must be filed with the MIA, reviewed, and approved before they can be sold. State-mandated benefits must be covered, including “some level of coverage for medically necessary expenses incurred as a result of inpatient room and board, hospital care, intensive care, emergency room care, surgical care, diagnostic services, outpatient treatments, and doctor visits. Mandated benefits in Maryland include coverage for preventive care screenings, habilitative services, mental health and substance misuse, and other services that the legislature has determined should be provided to Maryland residents.”
Admitted insurers selling short-term plans in Maryland are also required to have processes in place to handle preauthorizations, appeals, and grievances.
The Maryland Insurance Administration maintains a page called “Is a short-term medical plan for you?” with details that help consumers understand how the plans work.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in Maryland?
Maryland has four insurers that offer short-term plans as of 2018:
- Freedom Life
- Independence American Life
- National General
- Standard Security (as of 2017, the majority of the short-term plans sold in Maryland were issued by Standard Security)
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.