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Health care insurance

WILL COGGIN

Washington, D.C.

Any day now, the federal government will once again let short-term health insurance plans last for 364 days, instead of capping them at three months like it’s done since 2017.

Short-term health plans are supposed to bridge unexpected gaps in health insurance coverage, but Americans became increasingly reliant on them after major provisions of the Affordable Care Act caused monthly premiums to skyrocket.

These “skimpy” plans are so called because a 30-year-old bachelor can purchase coverage without pediatric dental (he has no children), speech therapy (his diction is fine), or chronic disease management (like more than half of adult Americans, he’s neither obese nor diabetic).

According to Agile Health Insurance — the largest short-term health insurance distributor — the average short-term plan saves our fictional bachelor $225 per month compared to a Bronze ACA plan.

That’s $2,700 per year! If an unlucky diagnosis leaves him needing more complete coverage, a year-long policy can cover him until open enrollment begins.

Short-term health insurance isn’t right for everyone, but cheaper plans should at least be available for those who need them.

(Will Coggin is research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom based in Washington, D.C.)

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