Buying a short-term plan in North Carolina
- North Carolina defaults to the federal rules for short-term plan durations.
- Short-term plans in North Carolina can have initial terms of up to 364 days, and total duration, including renewals, of up to 36 months.
- North Carolina does have various regulations that apply to short-term plans.
- North Carolina considers short-term plans to be creditable coverage.
- At least six insurers offer short-term plans in North Carolina.
How long can short-term plans last in North Carolina?
North Carolina statute (§ 58-3-225) clarifies that short-term limited duration health insurance in the state has the same definition that it has under federal rules (defined in Part 144 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations).
Until October 2018, the federal definition limited short-term plans to three months in duration and prevented renewal. But the federal definition has been expanded, under the terms of the Trump Administration’s new rules. Short-term plans are allowed to have initial terms of up to 364 days, and total duration, including renewals, of up to 36 months. States are allowed to set more stringent rules, but North Carolina has not done so.
North Carolina regulations applicable to short-term plans
North Carolina does have various laws and regulations that apply to short-term plans.
North Carolina’s regulations also indicate that a person would be considered continuously insured (with creditable coverage) if they had short-term coverage prior to enrolling in an employer-sponsored plan, as long as the short-term coverage duration wasn’t more than 12 months.
(Note that federal rules were different pre-ACA, when a person could have pre-existing condition waiting periods on a group plan if they hadn’t maintained continuous coverage prior to enrolling in the group plan; that is no longer a factor, as plans cannot impose pre-existing condition waiting periods even if the person didn’t have prior continuous coverage.)
Which insurers offer short-term plans in North Carolina?
- Companion Life
- Everest Prime
- 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.