Buying short-term health plans in South Carolina
- South Carolina has its own state regulations regarding short-term health plans.
- Short-term plan terms can’t last more than 11 months in South Carolina, with a total duration of 33 months (including renewals).
- South Carolina issued a consumer alert to ensure that residents could differentiate between ACA-compliant plans and short-term plans.
- At least six insurers offer short-term plans in the state.
South Carolina limits short-term plan duration to 11 months
As of October 2, 2018, the Trump Administration’s new regulations allow a short-term health insurance plan to have an initial term of up to 364 days and total duration of up to 36 months, but the federal rules are clear in noting that a state can impose stricter guidelines.
The South Carolina Department of Insurance published Bulletin 2018-08 in August 2018, to clarify the state’s rules for short-term health insurance plans.
In an effort to differentiate short-term health plans from ACA-compliant health plans, South Carolina is limiting the initial term of a short-term plan to no more than 11 months, and total duration, including renewals, to no more than 33 months.
Why South Carolina chose shorter limits
South Carolina has chosen slightly shorter limits because ACA-compliant plans have one-year terms (if they’re purchased during open enrollment and take effect on January 1), and the 11-month limit on short-term plans is designed to help consumers understand that short-term plans and ACA-compliant plans are not interchangeable.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in South Carolina?
- Everest Prime
- Companion Life Insurance Company (offered in partnership with the South Carolina Blues)
- Independence American Life
- National General
- Standard Life
- United Healthcare (Golden Rule)
BlueChoice has a filing in SERFF for a short-term product slated to be available as of 2019. Previously, the South Carolina Blues partnered with Companion Life to offer a short-term plan, but it is not a Blues-branded product.
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.