How to Use Your Temporary Health Insurance Plan

Jenifer Dorsey
2018-09-12 April 16th, 2014 |
Read time: 5 minutes

Using temporary health insurance, also known as short-term medical insurance, is similar to using major medical insurance: You visit the doctor for health care services and present your ID card. You receive a bill in the mail and pay the amount not covered by your health insurance benefits.

Whether you purchased a temporary 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. 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.

3. Find out if your plan has association benefits and remember to use them.

Depending on where you live, certain temporary health insurance plans sold at may include some members-only benefits from Communicating for America. They include the following:

  • A discount prescription card—Short-term medical insurance does not cover standard prescription medications unless you are in the hospital, which means the discount prescription card may help reduce pharmacy costs.
  • A vision discount program—Use this program to reduce the cost of eye exams, lenses and frames by 20 to 60 percent.1
  • Telehealth services through Teladoc—Get cross-coverage consultations from a national network of board-certified physicians 24/7. Teladoc physicians use electronic health records, telephone and video consultations to diagnose, recommend treatment and write short-term non-DEA controlled prescriptions when appropriate. Teladoc does not replace the existing primary care physician relationship but instead enhances it with an efficient, cost-effective alternative for minor medical problems. There is a $10 fee for each physician consultation.2

Although these are not health insurance benefits, knowing about these discounts and services may help save you money on medical expenses. Be sure to read your plan materials closely to learn more, or call a health insurance advisor with questions.

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 medical plan’s benefits carefully to see what expenses are covered by its benefits.

5. Call with questions.

When in doubt, call your temporary health insurance plan’s carrier. If you need help understanding your short-term medical insurance policy benefits, finding an in-network provider or anything else, just ask. Getting the information you need up front can help avoid unpleasant billing surprises and 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.

If you have questions or need help finding temporary health insurance, call 888-839-7679 to talk to a certified health insurance agent from


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Originally Published On April 16th, 2014


  • 1 Communicating for America brochure
  • 2 Teladoc does not replace the primary care physician. Teladoc is not available in Oklahoma. Teladoc does not guarantee that a prescription will be written and operates subject to state regulations. Teladoc does not prescribe DEA controlled substances. Teladoc physicians reserve the right to deny care for potential misuse of services.