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Health & Science

Health Care Finance Expert Says Buyer Beware of Short-Term Health Insurance

A stock photo of stethoscope and chart.
Short term health insurance plans are not regulated.

A health finance expert warns Ohio consumers about a new healthcare product hitting the market.

AARP is testing out a new branded short-term care insurance option provided by Medico Insurance Co. Ohio is among 17 states where it is available to buy.

The short-term plan targets individuals over 50 who want insurance that matches their budget and coverage in case of emergencies. It covers things like well-care coordination and household assistance like yard work. Mark Bagley, with AARP media relations, emphasizes that it is not a traditional health insurance plan. "The product is for short term care – it is designed to cover nursing home care, adult daycare, assisted living, etc.," Bagley said in an email. 

But Case Western Reserve Health Finance Professor J.B. Silvers says short-term insurance plans make it harder for Americans to know what they are buying because the plans are exempted from regulations under the Affordable Care Act.

“Consumers are going to be put in a more difficult situation where they have to be very careful about what they’re buying. That creates difficulty in particularly when you are dealing with the very old folks that may or may not be very good at doing that,” Silvers said.

AARP plans to expand the plan, making it available in more states later this year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include clarification from AARP that the plan is offered by Medico Health Insurance and is not a traditional medical plan that provides standard health insurance.