Short-term health policies growing in popularity, despite risks

Short-term health insurance policy sales are up, as more people see them as a less-expensive alternative to Affordable Care Act-compliant plans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Short-term coverage, which can have features that are largely banned by the ACA, are meant to fill coverage gaps for only a few months. But short-term plans have surged in popularity, the WSJ says, despite the fact that people who use them face hefty tax penalties because the coverage does not fit the ACA standards.

According to the article, an adult with short-term coverage supporting two children who are on conventional ACA-compliant plans pays about one-quarter of what it would cost for all three to get coverage under ACA plans.

Consumer advocates worry people using short-term plans don't fully understand the limits and risks, though. Some low-income short-term policy holders may not know that they qualify for subsidies, nor do they realize that a hefty fine may be coming their way from the IRS during tax season, the article says.

"This is exactly the kind of coverage the ACA was designed to get rid of," Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the publication. 

To learn more:
- read the WSJ article