Short-term health insurance's limits noted

April 29, 2012 at 7:32 PM
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ST. PAUL, Minn., April 29 (UPI) -- Short-term health insurance policies are better than no coverage but people should be aware of their limitations, Minnesota's attorney general says.

"Before you buy such a policy, keep in mind the policy is temporary. They are not renewable. At the expiration, the insurance company may sell you another short term policy," Lori Swanson, attorney general of Minnesota, said in a statement.

"You may not be covered under short-term policies more than 365 days out of any 555-day period. If you take out back-to-back, short-term policies, the insurance company will generally refuse to cover any pre-existing condition that occurred under your prior short-term policy."

Short-term health insurance policies typically exclude as a pre-existing condition any injury, illness or condition for which you had medical treatment, symptoms or any manifestations of illness before the effective date of coverage, Swanson says.

"This means that, even if you did not receive treatment from a physician before you took out the policy, the insurance company may refuse to cover a claim if you ever had symptoms before you took out the policy," Swanson said.

The state attorney general recommends people do their homework before purchasing short-term coverage, including reading the actual policy and paying attention to the exclusions that will apply.

Swanson said her office counted more than 35 exclusions in one short-term health insurance policy sold in Minnesota.

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