Is Short Term Medical Insurance Right for You?

Jenifer Dorsey
November 28th, 2019 November 28th, 2019 |
Read time: 4 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.

You may have heard about temporary medical insurance, but who’s it for? Possibly, you!

Life changes can interrupt your access to a major medical plan. When an ACA-qualifying major medical plan isn’t an option and you need alternative coverage, a temporary solution known as short term health insurance could be right for you.

Short term plans offer you and your family a range of healthcare benefits to help pay for unexpected medical expenses. The application process is quick and easy, and you can enroll year-round if you qualify.

Let’s talk about when you should buy temporary health insurance, what it costs and how to find coverage now…

Short Term Medical Insurance

Temporary coverage for unexpected care and treatment that may result from a serious illness or injury - short term insurance can help with covered costs for hospital room and board, diagnostic physician's visits, ER services, and intensive care.

  • Flexible – Choose from a range of benefits levels and deductibles
  • Child-only plans available – For kids aged 2 to 18
  • Apply anytime – Policies are available year-round in most states
  • Coverage for 30 to 364 days May be renewed depending on state laws
  • Benefits now – Coverage the day after your application is accepted + premium is received
  • Not guaranteed issue – Your application for coverage may not be accepted
  • Not ACA-qualifying – Pre-existing conditions + essential health benefits may not be covered
  • Not available in all states Find out if STM is available in your state

Compare plans + costs

What is Short Term Health Insurance?

Short term health insurance is a form of medical insurance. Short term medical premiums are generally less expensive than those of major medical because they cover few if any essential health benefits, are not guaranteed-issue, and are effective for a limited period of time (from 30 to 364 days depending on your state).[1] In addition, premiums for short term health insurance will vary depending on the benefits you select.

Read our “Complete Beginner’s Guide” to short term health insurance to learn more.

What Does Temporary Health Insurance Cover?

Many things! Short term plans include benefits for a range of healthcare expenses, though, the specifics will vary by policy and benefits you select. That means it’s important to read brochures and ask questions to understand the coverage you are buying.

Some examples of expenses short term health insurance may cover include:

  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • Intensive care
  • Emergency room visits
  • Ambulatory services
  • Surgical services
  • Certain pre-existing conditions

Keep in mind: Because temporary plans are not intended to replace major medical insurance, their benefits are less comprehensive. They are not considered minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act and, therefore, do not include the essential health benefits and are not guaranteed issue.

Looking for temporary coverage for healthcare expenses like hospitalization and surgery? 

Get a Short Term Health Insurance Quote

Who is Temporary Medical Insurance For?

Generally, anytime that you’re experiencing a life transition is a time to consider temporary coverage. Common situations may include:

Find plans near you and compare costs and coverage.

Get a Short Term Medical Quote

Is Short Term Health Insurance Still Relevant in the Age of the ACA?

Absolutely. As shown above, there are many times in which a major medical plan doesn’t make sense or isn’t an option.

Take a look at how short term health insurance compares with ACA-qualifying major medical to better understand why you may choose one over the other, depending on your life circumstances.

Compare Short Term Health + ACA-Qualifying Major Medical Insurance

What They Offer Short Term Medical Major Medical
Coverage Type Temporary, catastrophic coverage Long-term, minimum essential coverage including the ACA’s 10 essential health benefits
Coverage Length 30 to 364 days (duration limits vary by state) Guaranteed Renewable
Premium Cost Typically less than an unsubsidized ACA plan; cost varies by policy + benefits selected Typically more than a STM policy, but subsidies may reduce cost; cost varies by policy selected
Pre-Existing Conditions No Yes – Covered by law
Preventative Care Benefits Not typically covered; dependent on policy + benefits selected Yes – Covered by law
Enrollment Period Year-round enrollment; coverage starts as early as the day after your application is accepted During the annual open enrollment period, or a special enrollment period when eligible
Subsidies Available No Yes
Guaranteed Issue No Yes

How Much Does Short Term Insurance Cost?

Short term medical premiums may be one-third the cost of major medical premiums.[2] This type of health policy is designed to be an economical option while you are in a life transition.

ACA policies and short term policies are very different in terms of what they actually cover.

ACA insurance is much more robust. It includes coverage for essential health benefits and policies are guaranteed issue, meaning you cannot be denied coverage based on health history or pre-existing conditions.

Short term health plans don’t provide any of these specific coverages or guarantees. Your short-term policy monthly premium will be based on a number of factors, including:

  • Your age and sex
  • Health history and/or pre-existing health conditions
  • How many people are on the policy
  • The plan options you select.

Find out what short term coverage would cost you.

Get a Short Term Medical Insurance Quote

How Do You Apply for a Temporary Plan?

You can shop and apply for short term health insurance online or by calling 888-855-6837 to speak with an agent.

Short term health insurance is available year-round. You don’t have to wait for open enrollment!

Buying a short term medical policy is quick and easy if you qualify.

  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 within minutes.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 want.

Need Supplemental or Short Term Insurance?

Apply in 3 Easy Steps

  • Get a quote within seconds
  • Compare multiple plans
  • Finish application online
Originally Published On September 27th, 2013
Independence American Insurance Company and/or Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. may underwrite the products referenced on this website. Legal Disclaimers.