Frequently asked questions about
short-term health insurance in Mississippi
Yes. As of mid-2020, there were at least seven insurers offering short-term health insurance in Mississippi.
Short-term health insurance in Mississippi is allowed to follow federal durational limits, as the state does not impose its own.
Insurers are allowed to offer short-term health insurance in Mississippi with initial terms up to 364 days and the option to renew for a total duration of up to 36 months. This is in keeping with the regulations the Trump administration implemented in late 2018. Insurers can still cap their short-term plans at shorter durations, however, and prohibit renewal if they choose to do so.
- Companion Life
- Everest Reinsurance
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National General
- UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule)
- If you missed open enrollment for ACA-compliant coverage and do not have a qualifying event that would trigger a special enrollment period.
- If you’ll soon be enrolled in Medicare and aren’t eligible for an employer’s plan or a special enrollment period for an individual market plan to cover you in meantime. Note that although Medicare covers pre-existing conditions, Medigap policies can impose a pre-existing condition waiting period if you didn’t have coverage for your pre-existing conditions prior to enrolling in Medicare.
- If you’re newly-employed and have a waiting period before your employer’s health coverage takes effect.
- If you’re losing job-sponsored health coverage in the middle of the month and your new plan (from a new employer or in the ACA-compliant individual market) doesn’t take effect until the first of the following month. A short-term plan can provide stopgap coverage in the meantime, although COBRA might be a good fallback option if it’s available to you.
- 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.
People who are ineligible for premium subsidies include:
- Those who earn more than 400% of the poverty level. (For 2021 coverage, that amounts to $51,040 for a single person. 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 caught by the ACA’s family glitch.
- People trapped in the coverage gap caused by Mississippi’s refusal to expand Medicaid. This affects adults with income below the poverty level who aren’t eligible for Medicaid (due to the state’s rejection of Medicaid expansion) and also aren’t eligible for premium subsidies in the marketplace.
All short-term plans in the state have to be filed with the Insurance Department and approved before they can be sold. The Mississippi Insurance Department confirmed in October 2018 that the state was working on requirements and regulations pertaining to short-term plans, so the rules might change in the future.
The Department has noted, however, that they do not plan to limit short-term plan duration — and will instead continue to follow federal regulations. This includes any potential state regulations which would address other issues (for example, things like filing requirements, disclosures, medical underwriting practices, state benefits mandates, etc.). As of January 2019, the Insurance Department confirmed that they had not yet finalized any new regulations, and were still considering the issue. This appears to still be the case as of 2020.
The Mississippi Insurance Department published a document in late 2019 that includes an explanation of how a short-term health plan could be an economical choice for some consumers, given the lower premium costs (assuming the person isn’t eligible for premium subsidies in the Mississippi exchange/marketplace) and potentially lower deductibles. They do note that “short-term health insurance may have limits that regular health insurance does not have (e.g., caps on annual benefits paid).” But they go on to state that “for stopgap coverage, these plans are a good option.”
This is a very different stance than insurance departments in many other states have taken, as insurance commissioners tend to warn consumers more strongly against short-term health insurance. But this is not surprising given that Mississippi’s government has tended to align itself with the Trump administration’s views on healthcare reform, as opposed to a pro-ACA (Obamacare) stance.