How to Find the Best Short Term Health Insurance Plan for You

5 Things to Consider
Jenifer Dorsey
January 20th, 2020 June 7th, 2018 |
Read time: 8 minutes

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Find out if you qualify for temporary coverage for emergencies and hospitalization – Don’t go uninsured between major medical plans.

5 Steps to Finding the Best Short Term Health Insurance

  1. Policy length – how long you need coverage
  2. Benefits – what coverage you need and how much
  3. Cost – what you can afford to pay
  4. Flexibility – save on costs by being flexible
  5. Convenience – get covered as early as tomorrow

Uh oh. Suddenly, you’re uninsured … and, as a result, uncertain about how you’ll pay for healthcare.

Maybe you lost your existing coverage and don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, or perhaps you’re looking for the best short term health insurance during a new employer’s benefits waiting period.

One way or another, you’re probably reading this because you’ve found yourself without health insurance outside of the annual Obamacare open enrollment period. Now you’re looking for a temporary option.

That option may be short term health insurance, temporary benefits that can help pay for unexpected healthcare expenses when you are in between Obamacare or job-based plans.

Short term coverage is available anytime of year, and you can begin benefits as early as the day if you qualify.

It just takes a minute to generate quotes for multiple policies so you can compare options.

Get a Short Term Insurance Quote

So how do you go about finding the best, most affordable short term health insurance plan for you? Here is what to consider when shopping for short term health insurance.

1. Policy length – How long do you need coverage?

Short term policies last from 30 to 364 days depending on your state. Short term medical insurance is not available in all states. Find out what the short term medical duration limits and availability is in your state.

2. Benefits – What coverage do you need?

Are you simply looking for something to help with unexpected healthcare bills if you become sick or injured? Or, do you need a plan that includes benefits for preventive care, prescription drugs or pre-existing conditions? The best short term health insurance plan is one that fits your individual needs.

The Affordable Care Act’s 10 essential health benefits and no-cost preventive services are not required for short term plans. And while it is rare that short term health insurance policies cover preventive care or pre-existing conditions, it isn’t unheard of.

Compare short term insurance plans available to you.

If you need more robust benefits, you may want to add a hospital plan to gain access to benefits for smaller, less expensive claims as well as larger, more catastrophic claims. In some states, hospital indemnity insurance can only be sold as a supplement to your major medical insurance policy.

How much do hospital indemnity plans cost? Get a quote now to find out. 

Get a Hospital Insurance Quote

3. Cost – What premium and deductible can you afford?

The general rule with any health benefits plan is this: the more you pay in premium, the lower your deductible and vice versa. The premium you pay depends on the level of benefits as well as the deductible.

If you want additional benefits, for example, to help cover preventive care or certain pre-existing conditions, you will pay a higher monthly premium for a plan that offers them.

Likewise, short term health insurance plans typically come with multiple deductible options; if you select a plan with a lower deductible (typically because you expect you’ll use healthcare services), then you will pay more in monthly premium.

Start comparing short term insurance plan options and rates.

It’s important to remember that short term health insurance doesn’t qualify for Obamacare subsidies. If you think you’re eligible for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions and think you’ll save more on benefits that way, you must either qualify for special enrollment or enroll in an ACA-qualifying health plan during the annual open enrollment period. Then, obtain a policy through your state exchange or the federal marketplace (

Insurance policies offered on the private marketplace are not eligible for subsidies or reductions.

Need help deciding what’s best for your budget? Use Agent Finder to search for local assistance or call 888-855-6837 to speak to an agent.

4. Flexibility – Is it important to keep your healthcare providers?

Do you already have doctors, a hospital or other healthcare providers you prefer? If you want to keep them, then make sure you select a short term health insurance policy that doesn’t include network restrictions. (Most short term plans do not include network restrictions.)

If you don’t mind being flexible with where you obtain medical care, you might save money. Many short term plans partner with national networks and offer discounted care when you use participating providers.

5. Convenience – How quickly do you need coverage?

Year-round availability and no waiting periods make short-term health insurance particularly attractive when you are suddenly and temporarily uninsured. You can get quotes in under a minute, then compare policy options, and if you find coverage that works for you apply and enroll. You can begin coverage as soon as the next day once if you qualify.

If you qualify for special enrollment, then you’ll want to consider an Obamacare plan.

Next steps: Get the best short term health insurance policy for you

Start shopping now at It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Get a quote. Provide basic info such as the ZIP code and dates of birth for those being covered. Quotes for multiple policy options are generated within a few seconds.
  2. Select a plan that works for you, apply, and find out if you’re approved. Simply answer a few short medical questions and provide your contact and payment information. You’ll find out if your application is approved immediately.
  3. Begin coverage the next day if you qualify.

Get a Short Term Health Insurance Quote

Have questions? Call 888-855-6837 to speak with a health insurance agent. Or, use Agent Finder to find local assistance.

Need Supplemental or Short Term Insurance?

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  • Get a quote within seconds
  • Compare multiple plans
  • Finish application online
Originally Published On July 26th, 2016
Independence American Insurance Company and/or Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. may underwrite the products referenced on this website. Legal Disclaimers.