Buying short-term health plans in Texas
- Short-term plans in Texas can have initial terms of up to 364 days.
- Short-term plans are allowed to renew for a total duration of up to 36 months.
- Texas state-mandated benefits apply to short-term plans sold in the state.
- At least seven insurers offer short-term plans in Texas.
How long can short-term plans last in Texas?
Since 1997, Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) rules have defined short-term health insurance plans as coverage that ends within 12 months of the plan effective date.
That was the same as the federal definition that was in place through the end of 2016, but federal rules in place in 2017 and 2018 limited short-term plans to three months. As of October 2, 2018, however, the Trump Administration’s new rules once again allow short-term plans to have initial terms of up to 364 days.
The TDI rule, allowing a short-term plan to have a term that ends within 12 months of the start date, applies in Texas, as it aligns with the new federal rules. And the Department confirmed that renewals are allowed in line with federal guidance. The new federal rules for short-term plans allow for total policy duration, including renewals, of up to 36 months. Insurers are not required to offer renewals though, so that will be at the discretion of each insurer.
Texas regulations and short-term health insurance
TDI confirmed that the state’s mandated benefits for individual major medical policies also apply to short-term health insurance plans. The mandated benefits can be found starting on page 5 of the state’s individual major medical checklist for insurers.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in Texas?
- Companion Life
- Everest Prime
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National General
- Standard Life
- United Healthcare (Golden Rule)
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.