Buying a short-term health plan in West Virginia
- West Virginia defers to federal rules for the maximum duration of short-term health plans.
- Plans can have initial terms of up to 364 days, and total duration, including renewals, of up to 36 months.
- Opioid Reduction Act’s insurance provisions do apply to short-term plans.
- At least seven insurers offer short-term plans in West Virginia.
West Virginia defaults to federal rules
West Virginia does not have regulations pertaining to the maximum duration for short-term health insurance plans, so the state defaults to the federal rules.
Limits on short-term plan duration in West Virginia
Until October 2, 2018, federal rules limited short-term plans to three months and renewals were not permitted. But the Trump Administration implemented new short-term insurance rules at that point, allowing the plans to have initial durations of up to 364 days. Renewals are permitted as long as the total duration of the coverage doesn’t exceed 36 months.
But renewability is optional for insurers, and insurers can choose to offer plans with shorter terms. Some of the insurers that offer short-term plans in West Virginia cap their terms at six months and don’t allow for any renewals.
Insurers that offer short-term plans in the state are required to file rates and plans with the West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner. The state passed legislation (SB273) in 2018 designed to reduce opioid utilization, and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner confirmed that the insurance-related provisions of that bill do apply to short-term plans.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in West Virginia?
- Aspen Insurance
- Companion Life
- Everest Reinsurance
- Golden Rule (UnitedHealthcare)
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National General
- Standard Life
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.