Are Short-Term Plans Bad for Consumers, Individual Market?

A new report prepared for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by actuarial firm Milliman Inc. concludes that short-term limited-duration (STLD) health plans expose enrollees to substantial financial risk, and that widespread enrollment in STLD plans by consumers would drive up premium costs. But some health policy experts tell AIS Health that, while STLD plans are undoubtedly a riskier proposition for consumers than more robust insurance, their impact on the broader marketplace is not clear.

In August 2018, the Trump administration issued a final rule that loosened the regulations governing STLD plans, allowing them to cover individuals for up to 364 days and be renewed up to 36 months. When the ACA was enacted, STLD plans were initially meant only to serve as stopgap coverage for consumers who lost coverage unexpectedly but didn’t qualify for a special enrollment period, so the Obama administration allowed the plans to last only three months.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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