Find short-term health insurance in Arizona.
Availability of short-term health insurance in Arizona
In Arizona, federal regulations permit the sale of short-term health plans with initial durations up to 364 days
In Arizona, federal regulations regarding short-term health insurance apply, which means consumers can buy short-term health insurance plans – and can get policies with initial terms up to 364 days with the option to renew for a total duration up to 36 months.
As of 2023, there were at least seven insurers selling short-term health insurance plans in Arizona.
Frequently asked questions about short-term health insurance in Arizona
Is short-term health insurance available for purchase in Arizona?
Yes. As of 2023, there were at least seven insurers offering short-term health insurance in Arizona.
How much does short-term health insurance cost in Arizona?
The average monthly premium for a short-term health insurance plan sold in Arizona was $290.72 in 2022, according to data from IHC Specialty Benefits.
Which short-term health plan durations are permitted under Arizona rules?
Until the summer of 2019, short-term health insurance in Arizona was limited to a plan duration of no more than 185-day terms, and if renewal was available, the renewal term couldn’t be more than 180 days.
But Arizona enacted legislation (SB1109) in 2019 that aligns durational limits for short-term health insurance in Arizona with the Trump administration’s rules that took effect in 2018. Under the new law, short-term plans in Arizona can have initial terms of up to 364 days, and can be renewable for a total duration of up to 36 months.
SB1109 did not include a specific effective date, and the consumer guide that the Arizona Department of Insurance published only noted that the new rules would take effect in “the summer of 2019.” But the Arizona Department of Insurance confirmed by email that the new rules would take effect August 27, 2019.
SB1109 clarified that the state would update Arizona Revised Statutes Title 20, Chapter 6, Article 4, with a new section, 20-1384, which was added in late August.
The insurers that sell short-term health coverage in Arizona can set their own term limits that are shorter than the allowable maximum, and can opt to make their plans non-renewable. So it’s important to understand the details of the specific plans you’re considering, as they vary from one insurer to another.
Which insurance companies offer short-term health coverage in Arizona?
The market for short-term health insurance in Arizona is robust, and there are numerous insurance companies that provide short-term insurance plans as of 2023, including:
- Allstate Health Solutions (National General)
- Companion Life
- Everest Reinsurance
- Golden Rule (UnitedHealthcare)
- The North River Insurance Company
- Pan-American Life
- United States Fire Insurance Company
Contact information for several of these insurers is listed in the Arizona Insurance Department’s guide to short-term plans (the guide is a few years old and there have been some changes in terms of the insurers that offer short-term plans in the state).
Some of these insurers offer plans with 364-day terms, while others limit their terms to shorter periods of time. The coverage limitations and specific benefits offered by each company will vary too. So it’s important to carefully compare the plan options you’re considering before making a purchase, and make sure you understand the potential out-of-pocket costs (including costs for any service that simply isn’t covered at all).
Who can buy short-term health insurance in Arizona?
Short-term health insurance in Arizona can be purchased by residents who can meet the underwriting guidelines of insurers. In general, this means being under 65 years old and in fairly good health.
Short-term plans almost always include blanket exclusions for pre-existing conditions, so short-term coverage is not adequate for someone in the Grand Canyon State who needs medical care for ongoing or pre-existing conditions.
Short-term plans are also not required to cover the ACA’s essential health benefits. The most commonly excluded benefits are maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care, but you’ll want to make sure you understand what’s covered — and not covered — by each plan you’re considering.
If you need health insurance in Arizona, your first step should be to see whether you’re eligible to enroll in an ACA-compliant health plan (ie, an Obamacare plan), and whether you’ll qualify for premium subsidies (premium tax credits) to make that coverage more affordable.
Open enrollment for ACA-compliant individual/family (non-group) health plans runs from November 1 – January 15 in Arizona, and nearly anyone can enroll in coverage during that window.
Outside that window, a variety of qualifying life events will trigger a special enrollment period and allow you to enroll in an ACA-compliant major medical plan, either through the Arizona exchange/marketplace or directly through an insurance company (Obamacare rules apply both on-exchange and off-exchange). These policies are purchased on a month-to-month basis, so you can enroll in a plan even if you only need coverage for a few months before another policy takes effect — for example, if you’ll soon be enrolled in Medicare or a new employer’s plan and just need coverage until that other policy is active.
When should I consider buying short-term health insurance in Arizona?
There are times when a short-term health insurance plan might be the only realistic option, such as:
- If you missed open enrollment for ACA-compliant coverage and do not have a qualifying event that would trigger a special enrollment period. You may be able to use a short-term medical plan until the next open enrollment period (either for an individual/family plan or a plan offered by your employer), at which point you can switch to a more permanent coverage option.
- If you’re newly employed and the business has a waiting period of up to three months before you can enroll in the group’s healthcare plan. You can use a short-term plan during this period, and schedule it to end when the employer-sponsored coverage starts.
- If you’ll soon be enrolling in Medicare and aren’t eligible for any other coverage in the meantime. If you’re fairly healthy and don’t need coverage for pre-existing conditions, you may be able to use a short-term medical plan until your Medicare coverage takes effect (note that if you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65; your Medicare card will arrive about three months before you turn 65, but your Medicare coverage doesn’t actually take effect until the first of the month you turn 65, so you can’t use the card until that point).
- If you’ve signed up for an ACA-compliant individual/family plan (or an employer’s plan) but have to wait up to several weeks before the plan takes effect. Individual/family enrollments completed during the annual open enrollment period don’t take effect until January 1. And for enrollments completed during a special enrollment period, coverage in most cases won’t take effect until the first of the following month after the enrollment is completed. A short-term plan can provide emergency coverage (with an effective date as soon as the day after you apply) while you’re waiting for your new plan to take effect.
- If you’re not eligible for Medicaid or a premium subsidy in the exchange, the premium costs for ACA-compliant policies might be unaffordable.
People who are ineligible for premium subsidies include:
- Those whose incomes are too high for subsidies. There is normally a “subsidy cliff” at 400% of the poverty level, but that cap has been eliminated through 2025, under the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act. Unless Congress reauthorizes those provisions, the “cliff” will return in 2026. (If your ACA-specific modified adjusted gross income is just a little above the subsidy-eligible threshold, there are steps you can take to reduce it).
- People who are unable to enroll in a plan through the exchange/marketplace due to their immigration status. A valid lawfully-present immigration status is necessary in order to enroll in a plan through the exchange, and subsidies are only available through the exchange.
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.