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What is Short-Term Health Insurance?

Young woman aging off of her parent’s health insurance plan reviewing short-term medical insurance options.

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Short-term health insurance, also called temporary insurance or term insurance, is a flexible health insurance solution used to fill a gap in coverage until a long-term solution presents itself.

What Do Short-Term Insurance Plans Cover?

Short-term health coverage covers some preventive care, unexpected illness or injury, emergency room visits, and some inpatient and outpatient hospital services. This temporary coverage helps to protect you from large medical bills during a lapse in a permanent health coverage solution.

When it comes to coverage, it’s important to keep in mind that short-term health insurance plans are not ACA-compliant. This means that short-term plans are not required to cover the ten essential health benefits as outlined in the Affordable Care Act (including benefits such as coverage for pre-existing health conditions, maternity care, mental health care, and more). Short-term health coverage is much less comprehensive than ACA-compliant plans, and these solutions vary in what they cover.

Who Qualifies for Short-Term Medical Insurance?

To qualify for short-term medical insurance, you typically answer a health questionnaire from the insurance company. You will be automatically disqualified from most short-term plans if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Do not meet a weight requirement
  • Aren’t a legal citizen or legal resident of the United States
  • Qualify for Medicaid
  • Are currently insured under a different policy

When Do You Enroll in Short-Term Medical Insurance?

You can enroll in a short-term insurance plan at any time, even outside of the Open Enrollment Period. Most plans also go into effect the following day after enrollment. This could be a good coverage option if you:

  • Missed the Open Enrollment Period
  • Are in-between jobs and waiting for new employer coverage to begin
  • Need quick proof of insurance
  • Are waiting until you can enroll in Medicare

How Much Do Short-Term Insurance Plans Cost?

Costs for short-term coverage depend on how many individuals are included in your plan, the carrier, and the plan that you choose. While premiums are typically lower than ACA plans, short-term coverage is not eligible for subsidies.

HealthSherpa found that, “the average monthly premium in 2018 for a three-month short-term plan was $107 per month for an individual and $258 per month for a family.”

How to Choose Short-Term Health Insurance

Like all health insurance plans, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when reviewing your short-term medical insurance options.

  • Review Coverage: Short-term insurance is typically limited on coverage, with most plans not covering care such as maternity care, mental health, and outpatient prescriptions. When enrolling in short-term plans, it’s important to understand completely what is covered. Remember to have a close review of benefits when comparing coverage options to ensure you have access to the services that you need.
  • Look at Total Cost of Care: Your healthcare coverage cost isn’t just your monthly premium – you also must consider deductibles, coinsurance, copays, and drug costs. When evaluating your plan options, be sure to keep these costs in mind and explore all expenses you would have with each plan.
  • Beware of Coverage Gaps: Sometimes, short-term plans are favored due to low costs with the idea that you can sign up for more comprehensive coverage if you need it down the line. While this may be true, you can only enroll in most health coverage plans during the Open
    Enrollment Period each year – which could leave you with a gap in coverage before you can enroll in a new plan.
  • Beware of No Out-of-Pocket Maximums: Unlike ACA-compliant plans, there are no caps on your out-of-pocket costs with short-term plans. Should you have a costly illness or require hospitalization, you could owe a large medical bill if you had already hit your coverage cost limit.

Enroll in Short-Term Health Insurance with the Team at Find The Plan

Whether you’re waiting for employer coverage to kick in or are a college student looking for benefits during the school year, the team at Find The Plan will help you go through plan options and determine if this coverage works for your needs. Best of all, our services are completely free of charge.

We at Find The Plan are dedicated to finding the right kind of health insurance coverage for you and your family. We’ll explore the different types of health insurance and offer our personal recommendations on the best plan to suit your needs.

To get started, we recommend completing our PlanMatch tool. You can complete the questions in just five minutes, and your answers will give our team a better idea of what you’re looking for before we even pick up the phone. Once your profile is complete, you can either contact our team right away or schedule an appointment at a time that is convenient for you.