Find short-term health insurance in Georgia.
Availability of short-term health insurance in Georgia
In Georgia, federal regulations limit initial duration of temporary health insurance plans to 364 days
In Georgia, federal regulations regarding short-term health insurance apply, which means plans can be sold with initial terms of up to 364 days, with the option to renew for a total duration of up to 36 months. However, insurers can opt to impose shorter limits on policy terms and durations.
As of 2024, at least eight insurers were selling short-term health insurance plans in Georgia.
Frequently asked questions about short-term health insurance in Georgia
Is short-term health insurance available for purchase in Georgia?
Yes. As of 2024, at least eight insurers were offering short-term health insurance in Georgia.
How much does short-term health insurance cost in Georgia?
The average monthly premium for a short-term health insurance plan sold in Georgia was $414.67 in 2022, according to data from IHC Specialty Benefits. The ACA’s premium subsidies are not available to offset the cost of short-term health insurance, so enrollees pay the full premium themselves.
How does Georgia regulate short-term health insurance?
There are no state-specific regulations for short-term health insurance in Georgia, so the state defaults to the federal regulations. Until October 2, 2018, federal regulations limited short-term health plans to three months in duration and prohibited renewals. But the Trump administration relaxed those rules — unless a state imposes stricter regulations, which Georgia does not.
(The Biden administration has proposed new rules that would sharply limit the allowable duration of short-term policies. If finalized, these new rules would be applicable in Georgia, and the state would not be allowed to have more lenient rules.)
Georgia’s former Insurance Commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, who had long opposed the ACA, stated in 2013 that “the problem is Obamacare, and we’re doing everything in our power to be an obstructionist.” The expansion of short-term health insurance is widely viewed as a means of undercutting the ACA, as it allows healthy people an alternative to ACA-compliant coverage — albeit an alternative that might leave them without the coverage they expect if and when they experience a serious health condition.
(Hudgens was succeeded by Jim Beck, who was elected to be Georgia’s insurance commissioner in November 2018. Beck was suspended by Gov. Brian Kemp in May 2019, after being indicted on federal money laundering and fraud charges. Kemp then appointed John King, who is the current insurance commissioner in Georgia.)
Both chambers of Georgia’s legislature have Republican majorities, and the legislature has been generally opposed to the ACA as well. So it was not surprising that the rules for short-term health insurance in Georgia defaulted to the less restrictive federal guidelines. The longer short-term policies are often heralded as an alternative to ACA-compliant coverage, with lower monthly premiums.
But their relative affordability has to be considered in conjunction with the fact that they also provide less robust coverage and none of the ACA’s consumer protections, and there are no subsidies available to offset short-term health insurance premiums, whereas most people who enroll in ACA-compliant coverage through Georgia’s exchange are eligible for federal subsidies.1
Do Georgia rules limit short-term health plan duration?
Because Georgia does not limit short-term plan duration, the 2018 federal regulations apply in the state. Insurers can offer short-term health insurance in Georgia with initial terms of up to 364 days and the option to renew for a total duration of up to 36 months.
Insurers can offer plans with shorter maximum durations, however, and prohibit renewal if they choose to do so. Some of the available short-term plans in Georgia have six-month term limits, while others allow for 364-day terms and renewals for up to 36 months.
Which insurance companies offer short-term health coverage in Georgia?
As of 2024, at least eight insurance companies offered short-term health insurance plans in Georgia:
- Allstate Health Solutions (National General)
- Anthem Enhanced Choice
- Companion Life Insurance Company
- Everest Reinsurance
- The North River Insurance Company
- Pan-American Life
- UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule)
- United States Fire Insurance Company
Some offer plans with 364-day terms and renewals that allow for insurance coverage that spans a three-year total duration, while others cap their plans at six months.
There’s variation across the available plans in terms of deductibles, benefit caps, provider networks, covered (and excluded) benefits, and eligibility requirements.
Be sure to carefully check the details of any short-term plan you might be considering, as the uniform consumer protection requirements that apply to ACA-compliant plans do not apply to short-term medical plans.
Who can buy short-term health insurance in Georgia?
Short-term health insurance in Georgia can be purchased by those who meet the underwriting guidelines the insurers use. In general, this means being under 65 years old (some insurers put the age limit at 64 years) and in fairly good health.
But it’s important to understand the limitations of these plans. Short-term health insurance policies generally come with blanket exclusions for pre-existing conditions, so for someone in the Peach State who is in need of on-going medical care and seeking a policy that will cover those needs, be aware that short-term health plans are wholly inadequate.
Short-term health insurance plans are not required to cover essential health benefits. It’s common to see these plans exclude coverage for maternity care, mental health care, and prescription drugs, although any of the essential health benefits can be excluded.
If you need health insurance coverage in Georgia outside of the annual open enrollment period for ACA-compliant coverage (November 1 to January 15), first determine if you’re eligible for a special enrollment period that would allow you to sign up for an ACA-compliant major medical plan.
Special enrollment periods are generally triggered by a qualifying life event, but some don’t require a specific life event (such as the rule that allows a person with income up to 150% of the poverty level to enroll anytime, or the provision that allows Native Americans to enroll anytime).
If you have a special enrollment period, you can sign up through the health insurance Marketplace in Georgia. Marketplace plans are purchased on a month-to-month basis, so you can enroll in one (with a premium subsidy if you’re eligible) even if you’re only going to need it for a few months before another policy takes effect.
So if you’ll soon be enrolled in Medicare or you’ve been hired by a business that provides health benefits but they haven’t started yet, you can still use a Marketplace plan to bridge the gap until the new plan starts (assuming you have a special enrollment period or are applying during the annual open enrollment period that runs from November 1 to January 15).
When should I consider buying short-term health insurance in Georgia?
There are times in Georgia when a short-term plan might be the only realistic option, such as:
- If you missed open enrollment for ACA-compliant individual market coverage (ie, Obamacare) or your employer’s healthcare plan, and do not have a qualifying event that would trigger a special enrollment period.
- You’ll soon be enrolled in Medicare or a new employer’s plan, and need a temporary policy to cover you until the Medicare or employer-sponsored coverage takes effect.
- Your employer-sponsored coverage is ending mid-month and your replacement plan (from a new employer or the Marketplace) doesn’t start until the first of the following month. Note that COBRA or state continuation might be available as a fall-back option instead, depending on the circumstances.
- If you’re not eligible for Medicaid or a premium subsidy in the exchange, the monthly premiums for an ACA-compliant plan might simply be too costly.
The American Rescue Plan has made premium subsidies larger and more widely available, and the Inflation Reduction Act extended those provisions through 2025.
But there are still people who are ineligible for subsidies and who may not be able to realistically afford unsubsidized coverage in the exchange. They include people stuck in the coverage gap in Georgia. The coverage gap was caused by Georgia’s refusal to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid under the ACA. Adults with income under the poverty level are ineligible for Medicaid as a result, but they’re also ineligible for premium subsidies in the marketplace/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.
- Effectuated Enrollment: Early 2023 Snapshot and Full Year 2022 Average. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Published 2023.