Having health insurance is necessary for keeping you protected in the event of an emergency or accident. A full-coverage plan is usually your best bet, but in some cases you might decide to opt for a short-term plan. For example, if you missed Open Enrollment and need a plan quickly you might choose one of these plans for convenience. Or, if you are healthy and rarely visit the doctor, you might choose one of these plans to save money on premiums, since they are usually less expensive than traditional plans.
Unfortunately, if you are not careful when picking out your short-term health plan, you might end up dealing with post-claims underwriting. Some insurance companies bait consumers into choosing their short-term plans, only to turn around and use this tactic to deny customers their insurance payouts after a claim is made. To avoid post-claims underwriting, you have to know what it is; you should also work with a reputable agent to know that you have the right plan from the right insurance company.
Before the protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), major medical health insurance plans could force customers to undergo the medical underwriting process before choosing whether to insure them. This meant that you would have to fill out a questionnaire based on your pre-existing health conditions, and if you were considered high-risk, they could deny you coverage or charge you a higher premium based on your medical history.
Although the ACA ended medical underwriting for major medical health insurance plans in 2014, it still applies to short-term health insurance plans and Medicare Supplement Plans if someone enrolls after their Initial Enrollment Period.
Short-term health plans are not subject to any ACA regulations, so with these plans, insurance companies can still use the underwriting process to choose who they want to insure and how much to charge for coverage. But in some cases, instead of being thorough in the underwriting process, insurance companies that offer short-term plans will not fully evaluate the risk of a customer before agreeing to insure them. Instead, the insurance company will evaluate the risk of the customer after a claim is made. This is called post-claims underwriting, and it can end up costing you thousands in medical expenses.
When using post-claims underwriting, insurance companies will look for a reason to deny claims by asking questions that should have been asked before the policy was sold. Generally the insurance company will do this to try and take your premium payments without intending to pay out on your claims. They will issue you a policy with little to no investigation, giving you a simple application with yes or no answers. For example, they might simply ask you if you are in good health; if you check yes, then, once you file a claim, they will investigate your prior health issues and will use your answer against you. If you have a stroke, for example, while covered by the plan, the insurance company might investigate your actual health status prior to the stroke and would use any information they found to deny your claim.
Avoiding Post-Claims Underwriting
Unfortunately, some health insurance companies that offer short-term plans still engage in the practice of post-claims underwriting. To avoid being swindled into buying one of these plans, there are some steps you can take. Before signing up with a company, examine their application and ask questions if you don’t understand it. This may not be enough, though; the best way to make sure that you are fully insured and protected is to work with an insurance agent. EZ.Insure works with some of the top rated-companies in the country, and will go through the application process with you. Our agents are honest and will make sure that you understand your policy, and that you won’t have any rugs pulled out from under you when you file a claim. We might even be able to find a health insurance plan that is not allowed to medically underwrite at a more affordable price than that of a short-term plan!
Avoid confusion and any possibility of being denied coverage in the future by working with an EZ agent. Our agents are highly-trained, honest, and work with your best interests in mind. To get free quotes on plans in your area, simply enter your zip code in the bar above. Or to speak directly to an agent, call 888-350-1890.