Short-Term Health Insurance

A variety of circumstances can leave you in need of short-term health insurance. Perhaps you have just graduated from college or aged out of your parents’ health insurance, changed jobs, or quit your job. All of these are valid reasons why you might need or want to purchase short-term health insurance if it is available in your state.

The name says it all. Short-term health insurance provides coverage for a short period of time, usually from 30-180 days. Some companies may offer coverage for as much as a year, but renewals are not typical. If you expect to need health insurance for a longer period, look for a standard health insurance provider.

Short-term health insurance provides coverage in the case of accident or sudden illness. You will be responsible for deductibles and co-payments. Coverage is typically immediate with payment, and you can apply via mail or online. No health exam is required. Payments may be made via check or credit card. You will be able to choose your own doctors and hospitals, and will have coverage for inpatient and outpatient care, intensive care, laboratory costs, and x-rays.

You can expect that your short-term health insurance will not cover routine medical exams and tests, prenatal and birth care, pre-existing conditions (any condition that has produced signs or symptoms, or for which you have received treatment in the past five years), or preventative health care. There is also no coverage for dental or optical care. These measures help keep your premium costs down, while still having coverage in case of a medical emergency.

While the Health Insurance and Portability Act of 1996 regulates many insurance companies, short-term health insurance providers are exempt from these rules and regulations. These policies are not guaranteed to be renewable, and most are not. They also do not have to waive preexisting condition limitations when other standard insurance carriers would be required to accept a waiver if certain conditions were met.

While short-term health insurance plans come with a number of limitations, they can provide you with critical financial protection during a time when you would otherwise be uninsured. A health emergency can happen at any time, and even if you only expect to be between coverage for a month or two, purchasing a short-term health insurance policy is a smart move. If you are waiting on your employer’s health plan to kick in, in between jobs, or otherwise in need of short-term health insurance, start shopping today, before you need it.