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AgileHealthInsurance Report | 2018-03-14

Poll: Spike in Short Term Medical Insurance Public Awareness

Are you familiar with short term medical insurance plans?

In the midst of ongoing political debate over short term medical insurance coverage, a new nationwide poll has found that public awareness of this category of health coverage has significantly increased. Over 1,000 adults across the country were asked, "Are you familiar with short term medical insurance plans?" Respondents had the option of selecting only one of the answers below listed in the following order:

  • "No, I'm not familiar with them"
  • "Yes, I'm familiar with them"
  • "Yes, I'm familiar with them & have used them"

31 percent of respondents indicated that they were familiar with short term medical insurance plans, with one-in-three people familiar with short-term plans having used them.

20.6 percent indicated they were familiar with the short-term plans and an additional 10.4 percent indicated that they had personally used a short-term health plan. This 31 percent public awareness represents striking increase compared to prior polls and studies on subject, including a July 2017 nationwide poll issued by AgileHealthInsurance.

The most likely reason for the increased public awareness of short-term health plans is the political debate in recent months over the Trump administration's intention to undo an Obama-era regulation (finalized in late 2016) that limited short-term insurance coverage to less than three months. The regulation itself only went into effect on April 2017, less than one year ago. The concerns contributing to the current political debate over short-term plans rests in the Democrats' belief that short-term policies may harm the Obamacare ("Affordable Care Act") insurance market risk pool and the Republicans' belief that these policies offer an economical option for Americans who cannot afford Obamacare plans.

Historically, short-term health plans provide temporary major medical coverage to consumers, often those who are in-between coverage due to job loss or missing open enrollment. Prior to the April 2017 regulatory limitation of short-term coverage to less than three months, the average duration of a short-term policy was 201 days (6.7 months). Short-term health plans have been available in the U.S. for decades with consumers flowing in and out of the temporary coverage market as their individual employment status and other circumstances dictate. Estimated enrollment for the short-term market prior to the three-month restriction have ranged broadly from 160,600 to 850,000 members at any given time, with enrollment typically peaking in the summer months as students and graduates take advantage of these plans in significant numbers.


Results are based on 1,215 responses to a nationwide survey conducted from February 22, 2018, to February 24, 2018. The survey asked respondents, "Are you familiar with short term medical insurance plans?" Respondents had the option of selecting one of the following answers: "No, I'm not familiar with them," "Yes, I'm familiar with them," and "Yes, I'm familiar with them & have used them." The answer options were displayed in fixed order across respondents.

The survey was displayed within a network of over 100 different news websites and other content sites. Demographic inferencing and methodology to acquire survey respondents who approximate national statistics on age, gender, income and region was performed by Google-administered technology. Race, education and health insurance status were not examined. Margin of error across all survey responses is estimated at +2.2%/-2.3%.