Buying a short-term plan in Minnesota
- Short-term plans in Minnesota are limited by statute.
- Plans cannot last more than 185 days and are nonrenewable.
- Additional short-term plans can be purchased, but you can’t have more than 12 months of short-term coverage in an 18-month period.
- New federal rules took effect October 2, 2018, but Minnesota’s rules for short-term plans continue to apply in the state.
- 2018 legislation to extend short-term plans in Minnesota was not enacted.
- At least six insurers offer short-term plans in Minnesota.
Short-term plans limited by MN statute
Duration of short-term coverage limited to 185 days
The plans cannot last more than 185 days (six months) unless the insured is in the hospital on the day that the plan would have terminated and the insurer extends the coverage until the end of the hospital stay.
Short-term plans are nonrenewable in Minnesota, but a person can buy additional short-term plans as long as their total amount of time with short-term coverage doesn’t exceed 365 days out of any 555-day period (12 months out of 18 months), plus any days that a plan is extended to cover an insured who is in the hospital on the day the plan would have ended.
This includes plans from multiple insurance carriers, so a person cannot continue to purchase back-to-back short-term plans from different health insurers in order to maintain continuous coverage; a Minnesota resident can only have short-term health coverage for a total of 12 months out of any 18 month period.
The new federal rules (which allow for initial terms of up to 364 days and total duration, including renewals, of 36 months) do not apply in Minnesota. Instead, short-term plans will continue to be governed by the state’s existing statute, unless it’s changed with future legislation. The Minnesota Commerce Department has published guidance for consumers regarding short-term plans, clarifying that the state’s rules will remain in effect and take precedence over the new federal rules.
HF138, which was considered by Minnesota lawmakers in 2018, would have redefined a short-term plan as being less than a year in duration and eliminated the 365 out of 555 days cap. The bill passed the House, but did not advance to a vote on the Senate floor.
Two insurers offer short-term plans in Minnesota
- Companion Life
- Everest Prime
- Independence American Life
- National General
- 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.