Safeguarding medical insurance: Short-term coverage options

Sanford Health Plan offers bridge-gap coverage for consumers

Open enrollment: Mom and said playing on a computer

Insurance provider Sanford Health Plan is now offering Sanford Safeguard, a new short-term limited duration insurance plan in South and North Dakota.

This option is great for those who find themselves temporarily without insurance coverage.

“It’s meant for those who are in between jobs, missed the annual open enrollment window, or perhaps lost group coverage,” said executive vice president at Great Plains Brokerage Jennie Nickles.

Differences from traditional plans

She says things like preventive care, prescription drugs, or preexisting conditions are not covered under Sanford Safeguard.

This plan differs from traditional Affordable Care Act plans, which have more comprehensive coverage for both medical and pharmacy benefits.

“It’s important to meet with a local insurance agent to explain the differences in detail,” she said.

“The key is you must have a qualifying life event such as a marriage, loss of group coverage, or move to new service area to be eligible to enroll in bridge coverage,” added Nickles.

There are preexisting limitations on short-term limited duration plans. For example, if a patient is pregnant at the time of attempted enrollment, they wouldn’t qualify.

Sanford Safeguard, and similar plans, are meant to be transitional insurance plans.

“Since you can only purchase them in three- and six-month durations at a time, they’re designed to cover things like doctor visits, urgent and emergent coverage, $0 virtual care and value added discounts on prescriptions,” said Nickles.

Related: Finding short-term coverage with a preexisting condition

Differences from other short-term plans

Nickles says Sanford Safeguard can “take a patient’s plan further” than other short-term limited duration coverage.

“With Sanford Safeguard, you have access to our regional network of over 25,000 providers. And, a nationwide network when traveling or for college students residing outside our service area,” she added.

Sanford also puts additional coverage on the plan through $0 virtual care.

“We market this product only through our trained and licensed insurance agents to ensure you understand your options, and the coverage that you are purchasing, so we can put you with a plan option that meets your needs, lifestyle, and budget.”

To learn more about the plan’s limitations and benefits, contact Sanford Health Plan.

Where can I find it? How do I enroll?

Short-term limited duration plans cannot be found on the Federal Marketplace. Instead, they’re purchased through health insurance carriers.

Enrolling in Sanford Safeguard is as simple as answering a few questions, Nickles says.

“We ask you a series of health questions. If you answer ‘no’ to all questions, you are accepted by the plan.”

Services can begin immediately. However, an enrollee must be a South or North Dakota resident, and between ages 2-64.

To purchase the plan, reach out to your local insurance agent.

You can also call Sanford Health Plan at 888-535-4831 to be connected to a local insurance agent.

Learn more

Posted In Health Plan, Healthy Living

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