As uninsured await PPACA, many seek short-term coverage News added by Benefits Pro on September 24, 2013

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By Dan Cook

Across the nation, millions of college graduates lost their college health coverage sometime during the summer. Now, as these millennials await the onset of coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, they and others are turning to short-term health plans to fill the gap.

An eHealth survey of purchasers of short-term health coverage confirms that an uptick in short-term product sales may just be a blip as many more uninsured individuals try to buy coverage until their state insurance exchange takes them on.

Among the survey’s findings from 261 online responses: 52 percent bought a short-term plans “because they expect to enroll in another form of coverage within one year.”

Additionally, 21 percent turned to short-term coverage after being rejected by a traditional major medical health insurance plan.

eHealth executives said that short-term health coverage is a “good alternative form of coverage” for many people during the 2013 gap year.

“Short-term health insurance [is] especially valuable for people who are concerned they may be declined for a traditional major medical plan prior to the implementation of health reform rules in January 2014,” said Robert Hurley, senior vice president of sales and operations at eHealth, Inc.

Short-term health insurance plans don’t typically provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or preventive medical care, and may not provide coverage for prescription drugs, eHealth said. “However, they are often easier to qualify for, tend to be relatively affordable, and often meet the temporary coverage needs of many consumers.”

Other results from the survey:
  • More than three quarters of policy holders cite affordability as a major factor in short-term health insurance plan purchase, although only 29 percent feel short-term plans cover the benefits they value most.
  • More than one third say they chose short-term health insurance because they only wanted basic coverage in case of emergencies.
  • 73 percent consider themselves not well informed about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • 20 incorrectly believe short-term plans will meet the coverage requirements of the PPACA in 2014.
  • Nearly two thirds don’t know if their short-term plans will meet the coverage requirements of the PPACA.
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