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Availability of short-term health insurance in Mississippi

Mississippi applies federal regulations that limit initial duration of short-term plans to 364 days

In Mississippi, 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 eight insurers selling short-term health insurance plans in Mississippi.

Frequently asked questions about
short-term health insurance in Mississippi

Yes. As of 2023, there were at least eight insurers offering short-term health insurance in Mississippi.

The average monthly premium for a short-term health insurance plan sold in Mississippi was $261.26 in 2022, according to data from IHC Specialty Benefits.

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.

At least eight insurers offer short-term health insurance policies in Mississippi:

  • Allstate Health Solutions (National Insurance)
  • Companion Life
  • Everest Reinsurance
  • The North River Insurance Company
  • PanAmerican Life
  • Standard Life/American National
  • UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule)
  • United State Fire Insurance Company

Some of these insurers offer short-term policies with 364-day terms and renewability for up to three years, while others cap their plans at just six months in duration. Deductibles, benefits, exclusions, and provider network requirements vary from one plan to another, so it’s important to carefully read the fine print of the short-term health insurance options you’re considering.

Short-term health insurance in Mississippi can be purchased by residents who can meet the underwriting guidelines of insurers. Generally, this means being under the age of 65 and in fairly good health (short-term health insurers will reject an application if the person does not meet their basic underwriting requirements).

Short-term health medical insurance plans usually exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, so these types of plans are not adequate for someone in the Magnolia State who needs medical care for ongoing or pre-existing conditions. Short-term health plans are also not required to cover essential health benefits (they often exclude benefits for maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health care, although additional essential health benefits are sometimes excluded). And they generally impose lifetime or per-incident benefit maximums, even for the services that they do cover.

If you need health insurance in Mississippi, your first step should be to see if you can buy an ACA-compliant major medical plan through the health insurance exchange (marketplace) in Mississippi. These plans are available during the annual open enrollment period (November 1 – January 15). And they’re also available if you’ve experienced a qualifying life event that triggers a special enrollment period (loss of coverage is a qualifying event, but note that it has to be minimum essential coverage; loss of a short-term health plan does not trigger a special enrollment period, because short-term health insurance is not minimum essential coverage).

If you’re eligible to purchase an ACA-compliant plan, you can buy it even if you’re only going to need it for a short while — while you’re waiting for Medicare to take effect, for example, or for coverage from a new job. ACA-compliant plans are purchased on a month-to-month basis, so you can enroll (with a premium subsidy if you’re eligible) and then cancel the coverage if and when your new policy becomes effective.

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.
  • 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, have a waiting period before your employer’s health coverage takes effect, and do not have a qualifying event that will allow you to use an ACA-compliant plan during the waiting period.
  • 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. (Note that HHS has proposed a rule change for 2024 that would allow a person to have double coverage for a few weeks in situations like this, instead of facing a gap in coverage.)
  • 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. This includes 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.). 

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. 

Not sure if short-term health insurance is right for you? Explore other health insurance options in Mississippi.

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