By Consumers For Quality Care, on March 25, 2019
Critics in Arizona, including Democratic lawmakers and physicians, are warning consumers about the risks associated with short-term limited-duration insurance plans (STLDI), reports The Arizona Mirror. They warn that the plans often contain coverage gaps that can result in hefty bills for consumers.
“It’s ‘buyer beware,’” Dr. Paul Kozak, an emergency room physician said to the Mirror about the short-term insurance plans.
Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation that allows consumers to buy STLDI plans for longer periods of time. These plans were originally intended to cover consumers in times of transition, like in between jobs. Consumer advocates worry that extending the duration of these typically lower-priced plans will result in consumers choosing them instead of more comprehensive coverage – and not having coverage when they need it. STLDI plans are exempt from covering essential health benefits like maternity care or prescription drugs and may not cover consumers with pre-existing conditions.
Thea Zajac of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society previously told the Mirror about stories of people buying STLDI plans and then being diagnosed with cancer, only to have the insurers deny covering treatment, leaving the patients with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Consumer advocates in the state want individuals to understand what they are signing up for with these plans.
“Really, really check carefully into the fine print,” Will Humble, Executive Director for the Arizona Public Health Association said. “Know what you’re getting into.”