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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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American health shield replacement

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: I was covered by American Health Shield through Chesapeake Life for a long time and was very happy with it. I need to extend my coverage. Why do you now recommend "Simple STM" policy over American Health Shield?

A: Chesapeake Life no longer offers short term health insurance. American Health Shield is now written by Fairmont Specialty Group. The product "Simple STM" is the same insurance at the same prices but the computer system that supports online pricing and enrollment is better. So this recommendation of using "Simple STM" instead of "American Health Shield" is simply a case of getting more value for the same low price. One of the most important advantages of the Simple STM computer service is the ability to offer downloadable policies and ID cards online. Three of the most important advantages the current policy offers over the older American Health Shield policy are: 1. lower price in most areas 2. policy durations up to 12 months with unlimited re-applications 3. access to PHCS national preferred provider network for discounts on out-of-pocket medical costs (there is no penalty if not using PHCS providers) The major disadvantage is that prescription drug coverage is not included under the base insurance policy, but is available under a separate optional rider. This change is in line with the overall national trend of separate prescription drug coverage from basic health insurance so it seems likely that all health insurance policies will change to cover prescription drugs by rider by the end of the decade. Details on both policies are available at


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