How to Use Your Short-Term Health Insurance Plan Benefits

Jenifer Dorsey
2018-10-09 July 30th, 2015 |
Read time: 8 minutes

Once your short-term health insurance plan becomes effective, what do you do with it? Using a temporary, short-term health insurance plan is similar to using your major medical health insurance: You visit the doctor for health care services and present your ID card. Then, you receive a bill in the mail and pay the amount not covered by your health insurance benefits.

Whether you purchased a short-term health insurance plan for the first time or the first time in a long time, there are a few things you should keep in mind when using your benefits.

1. Print your ID card.

Once you receive your plan materials, take time to print your ID card and keep it in a safe and accessible place. This card will provide you with details about your specific temporary health insurance plan and benefits. Be sure to bring it along when you seek health care services.

2. Review your plan benefits.

Short-term health insurance plan benefits will differ from Obamacare health insurance (i.e., major medical insurance). Make sure you understand what your policy includes and excludes before you receive medical care. Short-term plans frequently include benefits related to emergency room care, surgical services, intensive care or more. While some plans may include a few preventive services, not all do. Know your benefits before you buy, and review them after—this can help you avoid unpleasant billing surprises.

3. Seek in-network care when possible.

If you are seeking non-emergency care for services covered by your temporary health insurance plan, it may be worthwhile to look for in-network providers. While short-term medical insurance sold at may not require you to visit in-network providers, doing so may lower your out-of-pocket costs. Read your plan details carefully and be aware of any network restrictions or opportunities that may be associated with it. Before you receive care, confirm that the health care provider or hospital participates in the PPO network or optional plan network.

4. Know your deductible and other plan details.

Nearly all charges will be subject to your deductible, so keep this amount in mind when receiving health care services. Once you have fulfilled your selected deductible, your plan’s benefits will kick in.

Also be aware of any applicable copayments, coinsurance, out-of-pocket limits, and daily plan limits. Review your short-term health insurance plan’s benefits carefully to see what expenses are covered by its benefits.

5. Call with questions.

When in doubt, call your short-term health insurance plan’s carrier. If you need help understanding your policy benefits, finding an in-network provider or anything else, just ask. Getting the information you need up front can help ensure you get the right care.

Remember, temporary health insurance plans do not comply with the Affordable Care Act. Obtaining this health insurance coverage will not help you avoid the shared responsibility payment, a tax penalty for those who do not obtain ACA-compliant major medical insurance and are not exempt from doing so.

To learn more about short-term health insurance plans, read:

If you have questions or need help finding short-term health insurance, call the number on your screen to talk to an IHC representative.


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Originally Published On July 30th, 2015