Among the various health insurance options available today, short term health insurance offers healthy individuals and families a temporary, affordable solution to coverage. This type of health insurance is designed to provide financial security against potential accidents and unexpected illness during periods of transition. When individuals find themselves on strike, waiting for employment health insurance benefits to begin or no longer qualified to be on their parents’ insurance policy, these plans can provide peace of mind and protection until circumstances change.
A short-term insurance policy focuses on unforeseen accidents and major illnesses such as pneumonia. They do not cover preventable health care, routine office visits, physicals or immunizations. They also do not cover pre-existing conditions, pregnancy or childbirth. What they do cover is diagnostic tests for new illnesses, emergency and urgent care services, hospitalization costs, surgery and other major medical expenses. Some plans include discount cards for prescription drugs or co-pay alternatives. They protect patients against the high costs of unforeseen medical bills during short periods of time when other health insurance benefits are unavailable.
These policies cover periods that range from one to twelve months. At the end of the policy, individuals can often qualify to reapply. These new policies, however, are not a continuation of the previous policy and may come with new terms or additional limitations. While some companies only allow an individual to renew their policy one time, others provide coverage for a total period of up to 36 months. That makes it worth the time and effort to shop around and compare benefits and exclusions before signing a contract. Reputable companies do offer up to a 30-day guarantee, but it is best to investigate insurance plans before signing. In addition, most companies do not penalize for early termination of the policy.
Who Needs Short-Term Insurance
A standard health insurance policy provides continuous coverage to individuals and families. A short-term policy provides temporary coverage. Individuals and families who need temporary benefits vary, but some of the most common circumstances are as follows:
• waiting for new employment health insurance benefits to begin
• laid off or between jobs and looking for work
• young adult or recent college graduate who no longer qualifies for parents’ insurance plan
• seasonal employee, temporary worker or part-time employee
• union member on strike
• early retirement and waiting for Medicare coverage to begin
Employment benefit packages can often require new employees to wait for up to six months before health insurance benefits become available. Likewise, those who wish to retire early can find themselves without health insurance until they reach retirement age. Even with a good college education, finding employment can take several months. A short term health insurance plan can help to fill in the gaps for these and other temporary situations while individuals wait or work towards better solutions.
Short-term insurance plans come with many benefits. They are easier to apply for than standard health insurance plans and allow the applicant to choose the length of the plan. Unlike standard health insurance policies, applicants can keep their current physicians, and the policy can become effective as early as the next day. Insurance premiums can be paid monthly or all at one time for the coverage period. These premiums cost less than standard premiums due to the temporary nature of these policies and because companies who specialize in short-term coverage only work with healthy individuals and families. While deductibles, terms and benefits do vary widely between these plans, the variety enables applicants to choose a short term health insurance policy that best fits their individual and family needs.
By Andre Bradley