Alternative health insurance (e.g., short-term medical and hospital insurance) is non-major medical insurance. These plans don’t have to comply with ACA requirements covering the 10 essential health benefits or be guaranteed issue.
Alternative health plans are not one-size-fits-all, and what their benefits cover varies from doctor office visits to hospital stays to care for catastrophic illnesses. There’s a good chance you will find one that meets your unique needs.
A range of deductible, coinsurance and benefits options means you can get a plan with a monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs that fit your budget.
With no network limits, you can see any healthcare provider you want. Some plans partner with networks that provide additional discounts if you choose providers within them.
No open enrollment period means you can obtain coverage anytime you need it. Enroll today, and have coverage tomorrow!
Short-term health plans are designed to provide coverage for a limited duration, currently 30 to 90 days; however, beginning in October 2018, plans will again be available in some states for up to 364 consecutive days.
These plans have more restricted coverage than major medical but may also have lower monthly premium costs.
Hospital indemnity plans (HIP) provide coverage specifically during hospitalization. These are “fixed” benefit plans that pay a set benefit amount per day, week, month or visit, rather than the insurance company paying a percentage of the total expense for a covered service.
Coverage varies, but you can add optional services like preventive care, X-rays and urgent care for additional premium.
Health insurance packages combine insurance plans like short-term medical and fixed hospital indemnity insurance into one to provide temporary coverage for higher-dollar claims, and additional fixed coverage for smaller claims.
Trying to decide between major medical and an alternative health insurance plan?
Here’s a quick look at some of the general differences between major medical, short-term health and fixed hospital indemnity plans. Specific plans will have different benefits and restrictions, so it’s important to read and understand the details of any plans you’re considering before making a decision.
|Major Medical Plans||Short-Term Health Plan||Hospital Plan||
|Enroll Anytime (365 days per year)|
|Covers Pre-Existing Conditions||
|Preventive Care Coverage|
|RX Drug Coverage|
|Next-Day Coverage Available|
Percentage to Provider
Percentage to Provider
Fixed Amount to Provider and/or Insured
Percentage to Provider and Fixed Amount to Provider and/or Insured
* The amount of benefits provided depends on the plan selected, and the premium will vary with the amount of benefits selected.
** Unsubsidized ACA plans
*** Some short-term health plans may cover limited pre-existing conditions.
**** Year-round coverage applies to the hospital plan only. Short-term medical is available up to 90 days in some states.
Short-term medical provides temporary limited coverage that can help during certain life transitions, while fixed hospital indemnity plans provide hospitalization coverage in a fixed indemnity benefit.
Either one may be a good option if you are:
Are you vulnerable to medical costs because you're self-employed and don't have a group major medical plan?
You may need to purchase individual health insurance, but you could qualify for alternative options.
COBRA is not your only option for health insurance if you find yourself unemployed.
Losing your job qualifies you for a special enrollment period for major medical, and there are alternatives like short-term health (available year round) as well.
What should you do if you don't get health insurance through your employer?
You may need to purchase major medical coverage on your own, or enroll in an alternative health plan.
College Students + Young Adults Over 26
What if your parents don't have insurance through their jobs or you just turned 26 and are no longer eligible to stay on their plan?
You have 7 health insurance options depending on your eligibility and circumstances.
Prefer Non-Obamacare Options
Can you buy health insurance that isn’t Obamacare? Yes.
It’s important to note that Obamacare alternatives are not comprehensive health plans and have less coverage than Obamacare plans.