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Short Term Health Insurance

We all love permanence in life. However, the reality is that sometimes life happens and we find ourselves in a situation needing a temporary solution. When it comes to having a temporary need for health insurance coverage, the best solution for you may be short term health insurance.

What is Short Term Health Insurance?

Short term health insurance is temporary coverage that helps you during a time of transition in your life. Short-term plans are called temporary for a reason. They don’t provide the comprehensive health coverage you may be looking for, but can definitely come in handy. For example, many people turn to temporary health insurance plans between jobs and use it as a way to keep themselves, and their families protected in the event of a medical emergency. Some events which can trigger the need for this type of coverage are:

  • Loss of a job
  • Waiting for a new job to begin
  • Needing an alternative to an expensive COBRA plan after leaving an employer
  • Coverage required for a school activity
  • A college student just out of school
  • A child is too old for dependent coverage
  • Needing coverage as a bridge to Medicare

Short-term medical insurance policies are perfect for individuals and families in these situations.

How Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Work:

Short-term health insurance works just like any other health insurance plan would. First, you begin by finding the right policy, which is going to take a bit of time and effort unless you use tools like FirstQuote Health. The next step is to get yourself enrolled, and with short-term health plans, the enrollment process can happen on the same day. Once enrolled, you pay a monthly premium, which is a payment you make, typically each month, that gives you access to a network of providers who offer negotiated rates.

Once you are covered, you will receive a policy number from your short-term health insurance company, along with a coverage card. Just present either to your medical service provider and in most cases, all claims will be filed directly with your health insurance provider.

Graphic how short-term health insurance works

Even though you pay a monthly premium and are covered, you will still be required to pay some out-of-pocket costs. With temporary plans, your out-of-pocket expenses tend to be a little higher than with traditional health insurance plans. Out-of-pocket costs don’t include your premium but will include added costs like deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance which can all add up quickly.

Do Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Qualify Under Obamacare (The affordable care act)?

No, short-term coverage was not, and still does not fall under the category of qualified health plans. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed, it forced every American to enroll in qualifying coverage, which met the minimum essential standards for benefits or face a tax penalty.

The purpose of the newly implemented piece of legislation was to drive Americans away from skimpy health insurance plans, which often offered little coverage, and towards policies that actually provided benefits. Temporary plans are traditionally lower quality plans that don’t cover much of the minimum essential benefits, like preventive care services and mental health benefits which are required by the affordable care act.

Depending on whether your state enforces an individual mandate, you may no longer have to worry about facing a penalty for being enrolled in short-term coverage, or forgoing health insurance altogether. President Trump removed the individual mandate early on in his presidency and shot these temporary coverage options back into the spotlight. Trump even added some new rules that allow you to extend your short-term coverage even outside of open enrollment, making it a viable option for health insurance in 2020.

What’s the difference between medical insurance through the affordable care act and short term medical insurance plans?

While the ultimate goal of medical insurance is to protect you from expensive medical bills in the event of sickness or an accident, there are many differences to consider when choosing the right type of health insurance. Luckily with FirstQuote Health we can connect you with insurance agents that are licensed and trained to guide you through the process of choosing between short term plans and affordable care act health plans. The table below will help to explain the differences between term health insurance plans and insurance coverage available through the affordable care act.

Health BenefitsShort-term health plansACA health plans
Enrollment periodAny TimeOpen Enrollment Period
Minimum essential coverageDoesn’t qualifyQualifies
CostCheapVaries (Subsidies may be available)
PenaltiesDepends on StateNo
SubsidiesDoesn’t qualifyACA Subsidies
Preventive CareLimited or NoneYes
Mental HealthNoYes
Substance UseNoYes

These are just some of the many conditions that you should consider when deciding between a traditional medical insurance plan and short term plans. Depending on when you’re looking to enroll, unless you have a qualifying event you’ll need to wait until an open enrollment period or special enrollment period in order to qualify in traditional health plans. While short term medical plans provide health benefits when you need them the most.

How Much It Will Cost You

Short-term medical insurance plans usually cost an average of $110, but you can expect prices to vary depending on coverage. It is safe to assume that the average cost of temporary health insurance will be significantly cheaper than traditional medical insurance plans, but there are trade-offs to consider. Short-term coverage may be cheaper, but it doesn’t offer the extensive coverage you may desire and depending on the state that you live in it may not meet the minimum essential coverage set by the affordable care act (ACA).

Term medical insurance prices are typically dependent on the following factors, where you live, how long you are looking to stay covered, and the out-of-pocket expenses you are willing to take on. Using FirstQuote Health is the easiest way to shop for and compare short-term insurance quotes in your area.

Graphic short-term health insurance cost factors

Find Cheap Short-Term plans

We’ve mentioned that these gap medical care plans don’t really measure up to traditional coverage, but what they lack in benefits, they more than makeup for in pricing. Consider this, short-term health insurance plans, on average, cost around $1,320 annually. Compare that with an average, traditional health care plan through the ACA marketplace, which could cost you around $5,940 annually.

So, if you’re looking for cheap health insurance, all short-term plans would fall into that category. If you’re looking for the cheapest short-term health insurance plans, you’re going to have to do a little digging.

We work with tons of agents and brokers across the country who carry some of the most affordable term health insurance plan options available, including short term insurance plans for those with pre-existing conditions or other health status concerns. To get started, you can enter your zip code, and within minutes you’ll be able to either talk to an experienced professional or compare quotes side by side.

Applying For Coverage

If you’re looking to apply for short-term health plan, you’re going to have to do it off the exchange. Term health insurance plans, as mentioned before, still don’t count as qualifying coverage, so they are not allowed to be sold through the marketplace. This also means that you won’t qualify for a subsidy, but these plans will likely still cost you less than what you can find on the exchange.

You can find short-term insurance plans just about anywhere, with the exception of the health insurance marketplace. Most of the major providers offer temporary coverage options, which is good news for you because it means you get a more extensive network of health providers.

Your best bet is to start your search online. The internet offers tons of resources that make shopping cover gap health insurance easier than ever. You can read reviews on short-term insurance to see what others are saying about the current coverage they have, along with comparing plans, health benefits and pricing side by side.

The final step in your application process is actually submitting the paperwork. Temporary health insurance does not require you to wait for open enrollment or special enrollment, once you have found an insurance plan that covers your needs you’re able to sign up the same day.

You have a few options when enrolling for a term insurance plan, but working with an agent or broker will probably be easiest. You can opt to apply with an insurer directly, in which case, you will have to follow their application instructions which may vary.

Short-Term Health Insurance Quotes

You have two options when searching for health short-term health insurance quotes. You can browse through different company websites and see what they have to offer, or you can use free comparison sites like FirstQuote Health.

FirstQuote Health makes finding short-term health insurance quotes easy by working with a wide range of independent health insurance brokers and agents who are licensed in your area. These health insurance professionals will help you find the most affordable short-term health insurance plans in your area, and make sure all your medical needs are met.

Short Term Health Insurance Questions

Many people find themselves needing short term coverage for the first time in their life. Here are some frequently asked questions which may help you decide if this is the right type of coverage for you.

Q: Will I still be able to use my current doctor?

A: Some short-term health policies have networks of doctors that you must use, in which your doctor may be a listed provider. However, most plans will give you the choice of choosing your doctor, and you won’t need a referral to see a specialist if one is required.

Q: Are prescriptions covered under short-term health insurance plans?

A: That will depend on the insurance carrier and the policy you select. Some plans offer prescription drug coverage, while many won’t. First Quote Health can put you in touch with licensed agents that can provide you with options for the temporary coverage you need.

Q: Are short term medical plans the same as high deductible health insurance plans?

A: No, it’s not. High deductible plans are frequently associated with a Health Savings Accounts (HSA). Short term insurance providers offer plans which have various deductibles from which you can choose the plan details that work best for your needs. Keep in mind: the higher the deductible the plans offer – the lower the premium payment.

Q: Am I guaranteed to get coverage if I apply for short term medical insurance?

A: No, this is not guaranteed issue coverage. Short term health insurance policies are fully underwritten, meaning the insurance company will review your health history, and they will make a decision on your eligibility based on their findings. You can be denied coverage, but in some cases, the insurance company will offer to cover you at a higher premium than the standard rate.

Q: Does Short-Term Health Insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

A: With short term health insurance policies, pre-existing conditions are not covered. However, this doesn’t mean that the insurance company will decline you. Acceptance will depend on your complete medical history, the plan details, and the insurance company still may accept you if you agree to pay a higher premium amount.

Q: Do short-term policies cover maternity?

A: No, maternity care expenses are not covered. However, complications from pregnancy may be included, depending upon the specific language in the policy. This is a good reason to speak with a licensed agent that is trained to understand different companies’ coverage and explain them clearly to someone considering coverage.

Q: How long can a short term policy cover me?

A: Many policies will cover you from one month to 364 days, depending upon the insurance company and the specific benefits you have. This meets the short term needs of most individuals. However, in some instances where the need for coverage lasts longer than twelve months, you can apply to another carrier for a new short-term health plan since your original plan will not be renewable.

Q: Will having a short term health insurance policy meet the federal government’s requirements for coverage?

A: As of 2020, you are no longer required by the federal government to be covered by a health insurance plan. There are no tax penalties for someone not having health insurance unless you live in a state which requires you to carry health insurance.

Q: Is short term health insurance coverage affordable?

A: Compared to long-term health insurance policies, many short term policies are very affordable. However, remember that buying the lowest priced policy is not always the best decision. Factors such as coverage and exclusions should be considered carefully before making a decision. A licensed agent referred by First Quote Health can help you sort through the choices and make an informed about short-term insurance plans available for you.

Q: Can I use a short-term policy instead of Medicare coverage?

A: Short term health insurance policies are not intended to replace Medicare coverage. Many people do use short term policies to cover them until they’re eligible for a medicare health plan. You want to apply for Medicare as soon as you’re eligible.

Q: How quickly does short term health coverage take effect?

A: In many cases, you’ll be covered once you complete the application or the following day. Again, bear in mind that pre-existing conditions may not be covered, and if you get sick or injured and are declined for coverage, no benefits will be paid by the insurance company.

Q: Can I drop the coverage without penalty when I no longer need it?

A: Yes, you can. You are under no obligation to keep paying premiums when you decide to drop the health insurance plan coverage.

Q: If I have supplemental plans, can I still get short-term health insurance?

A: Yes, this is frequently done by people carrying coverages like dental, vision, accident, and critical illness.

Q: In what states can I get short term health insurance?

A: You can get short term health care coverage in 39 states. These 11 states exclude coverage: New York, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Mexico.