Short Term Health Insurance
If you’re in between work or waiting for permanent
insurance you’ll need temporary health insurance
protection. Here’s a look at how short term health
insurance plans work.
People who have a temporary need for health insurance, like those who are in-between jobs, may
consider short term health insurance. Short-term health insurance plans last for only a few months, but
can be as short as a single month but are typically less than 12 months. Some plans even let you add a
spouse or dependent. Once the insurance plan expires, you may be able to renew or reapply for the
insurance. Unfortunately, claims made while you were covered under the insurance may be considered
pre-existing conditions. You’ll be turned down for subsequent coverage if you have a pre-existing
Short-term insurance plans may only cover a certain number of doctor visits per term. Shorter terms
cover fewer doctor visits. You may have a co pay and the insurance provider may require you to go to an
in-network physician. Deductibles vary by plan and the provider may allow you to choose your deductible.
In general, higher deductibles mean you’ll pay a lower insurance cost, but you’ll have to pay more out-of-
pocket before the insurance kicks in.
Who Needs Short Term Medical Insurance?
You might need short-term medical insurance if:
- You recently graduated college and you can no longer be covered under your parents’ insurance
- You’re in-between jobs or have been laid off,
- You just started a new job but have a waiting period before your health insurance benefits begin, or
- You’re a seasonal employee without a long-term health insurance,
- You’re waiting for Medicare to kick in,
- You’re recently been discharged from the military.
While you may be eligible for COBRA if you recently left
a job or you become ineligible for a parents’ plan, the
premiums are expensive. Under COBRA, you’d be
responsible for paying the full cost of insurance, which
could be hundreds of dollars a month. Not only that, you
have a certain amount of time to take advantage of
COBRA, if that time period elapses, you can’t invoke
your rights to COBRA. If you decide you can’t afford
COBRA coverage or you’ve waited too long, short-term
insurance can tide you over until you get long-term
Many short-term health insurance policies will cover
hospitalizations, but they may require you to get
pre-certified before you can be admitted it’s important that you follow the pre-certification process,
otherwise, the insurance company may not cover the hospital expenses. Hospitalization for an illness or
injury may be considered a pre-existing condition on a future short term health insurance application.
Premiums are typically lower than long-term insurance plans. Non-smokers under age 30 get the best
insurance rates. You may be required to pay your premium in full upfront for the entire term of the plan.
Plans that don’t require you to pay your plan in full may provide a discount if you do pay the full premium
upfront rather than making monthly payments.
You may feel like you can make it just a few short months without insurance coverage. However, if you
have to be hospitalized for any reason or if you’re in an accident, out-of-pocket expenses could push you
into bankruptcy. With a short term health insurance plan, these types of visits are covered saving you
from the financial responsibility.
A lapse in insurance coverage could leave you ineligible for certain group insurance plans, especially if
you have a pre-existing condition. So it’s important to make sure you don’t leave a gap in your insurance
Most short term insurance plans will deny you if you have a pre-existing condition within the past 24 to 36
months. These short-term plans also do not cover pregnancy or delivery expenses.
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