Is Short Term Health Insurance a Good Idea? Advantages and Disadvantages

Jenifer Dorsey
September 8th, 2020 September 8th, 2020 |
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.

Is Short Term Health Insurance a Good Idea?

When you’re between qualifying major medical plans, life can feel a bit vulnerable. But you don’t need to risk paying unexpected medical bills 100% out of pocket. The market offers plenty of coverage options these days, including short term medical plans.

Advantages of Short Term Plans Disadvantages of Short Term Plans
  • You’re in control
  • Premiums can be more economical
  • No enrollment periods
  • Coverage for the unexpected
  • Not ACA-compliant
  • Coverage is limited
  • ACA subsidies don’t apply

Short term health insurance can be an attractive option if you’re looking for temporary coverage that helps protect your finances against catastrophic healthcare claims.

We’ll discuss the pros and cons of short term health insurance in more detail in the remainder of this blog post so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Need Supplemental or Short Term Insurance?

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  • Get a quote within seconds
  • Compare multiple plans
  • Finish application online

Advantages – Why a Short Term Plan May be a Good Idea

Temporary insurance can be a smart solution for those in relatively good health who want benefits to help with big, unexpected medical bills (think of those related to hospitalization or surgery) rather than smaller, more routine healthcare costs (for example, maintenance visits for an existing health condition).

Here are some other reasons to put short term insurance coverage in the “pro” column…

You’re in control

Temporary health insurance tends to be highly customizable and provides you with options.  For example, you can:

  • Choose your policy length, from 30 days to 364 days depending on your state.
  • Select your deductible and coinsurance amounts.
  • You can choose to spend more for more robust coverage, including plans with limited benefits for pre-existing conditions or certain preventive services.

Premiums can be more economical

Short term medical premiums may be up to 38% lower than unsubsidized Affordable Care Act (ACA) premiums because short term plans have more restrictions and aren’t guaranteed issue.[1]

Remember, 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 preventive care. It is guaranteed issue, meaning you cannot be denied coverage based on health history or pre existing conditions. Learn more about the essential health benefits or what qualifies as ACA-qualifying minimum essential coverage.

By contrast, short term health insurance doesn’t provide any of these specific coverages or guarantees. Unlike major medical policies, short-term monthly premiums are 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
  • Additional optional coverages you elect, if any

Compare short term medical premium and coverage options now.

Shop Short Term Health Plans

No enrollment periods

With short term coverage, you don’t have to wait for open enrollment or qualify for a special enrollment period. You can shop and enroll year-round in most states — and the process is relatively quick and simple.

  • Get a quote within seconds
  • Apply online 24/7 and find out if you qualify within minutes
  • Begin coverage as early as the next day, if you qualify

Coverage for the unexpected

When you’re in between major medical plans and looking for an affordable alternative, a short-term health insurance policy may be a good alternative to going without coverage and having to pay your medical expenses fully out of pocket.

Short term health insurance includes benefits for a range of healthcare services that may be needed as a result of a serious accident or unexpected critical illness. While specifics vary by policy, covered expenses typically include hospital room and board, surgical services, emergency room treatment, intensive care, and outpatient surgery.

Learn more about what short term plans cover.

Remember, your monthly premium amount will depend on a number of factors, including your deductible and the benefits you select.

Find available plans by requesting a quote. It just takes a few minutes.

Get a Short Term Health Insurance Quote

Disadvantages – When Temporary Coverage Isn’t The Right Fit

Of course, short term plans may not be the right fit for everyone. As you weigh your options, you will want to consider whether or not the following factors are important to you.

Short term plans aren’t ACA-compliant

Because short term coverage is designed to be more affordable during temporary situations, it doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Additionally, short term plans do not include:

  • Essential health benefits or preventive care services as defined by the ACA—that said, some plans do include a few covered preventive services
  • Guaranteed issue coverage, factors such as age and health history can impact your eligibility
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions

Coverage is limited

Short-term health insurance plan durations are from 30 to 364 days depending on your state. Short-term health insurance is not available in all states.

As mentioned above, benefits don’t typically extend to pre existing conditions or preventive care.

ACA subsidies don’t apply

Temporary health plans are not eligible for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. Only major medical plans sold through HealthCare.gov and state-based exchanges qualify for subsidies. See if you could qualify for an ACA subsidy [calculator], or learn more about ACA subsidies.

Summary + Next Steps

Short term health insurance can be a nice option if you’re looking for temporary coverage that helps protect against catastrophic medical expenses, and premiums are generally less than major medical insurance.[2]

It may not be a good fit if you need more comprehensive coverage, have a pre existing health condition or are eligible for a subsidy that could substantially reduce your major medical premium. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons to decide for yourself.

How much does temporary coverage cost?

Get a short term medical insurance quote now or call 888-855-6837 to speak with a licensed agent to find out.

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 March 18th, 2016
Independence American Insurance Company and/or Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. may underwrite the products referenced on this website. Legal Disclaimers.

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