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The ACA (Obamacare)
Short-term health insurance (also referred to as short-term medical), provides temporary benefits that help pay for healthcare when you don’t have major medical insurance or another plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).Read our “Complete Beginner’s Guide” to short-term health insurance to learn more.
You may want to choose short-term coverage if you are between ACA plans due to:
Short-term health insurance benefits can be used to help pay for a range of unexpected medical bills – from relatively minor events such as a doctor’s office visit due to illness, to major events such as a heart attack.
Examples of healthcare commonly covered by a short-term plan include:
These temporary plans function much like a major medical plan. You present your health insurance ID card at the time you receive healthcare services. Your healthcare provider bills your short-term health insurance company, and that company then pays the amount your policy covers. You are then billed for your portion.
Short-term plans last as few as 30 days. Under the current law, they can last up to 90 days. However, the 90-day limit may soon be lifted, which means that eventually short-term policies could last up to 364 days in some states. Learn more about the pending removal of short-term medical limits and what it means to you.
There is no open enrollment period for temporary health insurance. You can enroll year-round. If your application is accepted, you can choose to begin coverage as early as the next day.
Begin the enrollment process now by comparing multiple short-term plans available in your area.
Whether or not short-term coverage is right for you depends upon your life stage and circumstances, your personal healthcare needs and budget, and your ACA exemption status. Read what to consider when deciding whether or not short-term health insurance is right for you, and call the number on your screen to discuss your options with a certified advisor.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan recommended for everyone. Short-term coverage comes in many designs to accommodate your healthcare needs and household budget. Learn more about what to consider when choosing a short-term plan, including premium, deductible, pre-existing condition coverage and more.
No, short-term health insurance is not the same thing as Obamacare. Temporary plans are not ACA-qualified major medical plans because they are not required to provide essential health benefits, are not guaranteed issue and are not subject to other provisions mandated under Obamacare.
No, short-term health insurance does not qualify as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. If you are not exempt from the ACA’s individual mandate, you could still owe a tax penalty, even if you have temporary coverage. Not sure if you’re exempt? Find out.
Short-term health plans typically cost less than an unsubsidized Obamacare plan. For a comparison, see this example using rates for a 35-year-old woman living in North Carolina 1:
|Plan Type||Unsubsidized Premium||Deductible|
|Secure Net Short-Term Plan (HealtheDeals.com)||$114.04||$5,000|
|Bronze ACA Plan||$469.85||$6,650|
|Short-Term Plan Savings:||$355.81||$1,650|
The best way to find out what a short-term health plan will cost you is to request a quote. It takes about 1 minute to obtain multiple plan options, then compare premium costs and coverages to find the best fit for your needs.
Short-term health plans tend to have lower premiums than major medical plans because they are not subject to ACA provisions, meaning they don’t have essential health benefits, have few (but most commonly, none) preventive care benefits and don’t often cover pre-existing conditions. They are designed to provide benefits that help with medical bills resulting from unexpected illnesses and injuries.
In general, the more coverage you seek, whether through an ACA plan or a short-term plan, the higher the premium you will pay.
Comparison of Short-Term Health Insurance and Obamacare
|What They Offer||Short-Term Medical Plans||Major Medical|
|Coverage Type||Temporary, catastrophic coverage||Long-term, minimum essential coverage including the ACA’s 10 essential health benefits|
|Coverage Length||30-90 days||365 days|
|Premium Cost||Typically less than an unsubsidized ACA plan; cost varies by plan selected||Typically more than a short-term health plan, but subsidies may reduce cost; cost varies by plan selected|
|Pre-Existing Conditions||Not typically covered; dependent on plan selected||Covered by law|
|Preventive Care Benefits||Not typically covered; dependent on plan selected||Covered by law|
|Enrollment Period||Year-round enrollment; plans start as early as the day after your application is accepted||During the annual open enrollment period, or a special enrollment period when eligible|
|Fulfills Individual Mandate||No; a tax penalty may apply if you are not exempt -- exemptions include a single period of up to 3 months without minimum essential coverage||Yes|
It is likely. However, plan availability varies by state. You can get a quote now to find out what plans are available to you through Health eDeals.
You can buy short-term medical coverage from a few sources, including websites such as Health eDeals, a licensed health insurance producer and specific health insurance companies. Learn more about “Who Sells Short-Term Health Insurance.” Or, get a quote now through Health eDeals.
No. Short-term plans do not cover most pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy.
As a general rule, no, short-term plans do not cover pre-existing conditions. However, some plans, like Connect Plus, have the option for additional benefits (at additional cost) to provide some coverage for certain pre-existing conditions. Limits do apply, including a dollar limit on the benefit amount the plan will pay out for pre-existing conditions.
To access a short-term health plan with limited pre-existing health coverage, just complete the quote and enroll process and look for the Connect Plus option.
They typically do not. That said, there are some plans that include a few basic preventive care services such as Pap smear, mammography and prostate antigen testing. Read policy details to learn what preventive services the plan you are considering may cover or exclude, and talk with a producer to find plans with preventive care benefits.
Short-term policies may include dependent children up to age 26, and child-only plans may be available to children starting at age 2. Call the number on your screen to speak with a certified advisor who can help you a plan for your family, or use Agent Finder to find local assistance.
Typically, no. Temporary coverage sold through Health eDeals is available to adults age 18 to 64.
Outpatient prescription drugs are not typically covered by short-term policies. You may consider adding prescription drug programs such as the RX Paycard available through Health eDeals.
These policies do not typically cover birth control. You may consider adding prescription drug programs such as the RX Paycard available through Health eDeals.
Learn more about temporary health plans.
Contact an insurance advisor to get help sorting through your options and finding the best type of medical insurance plan to meet your needs. Either call the number on your screen, or find an agent near you.
1Rate is for a 35-year old female located in the 28015 ZIP code. Rates vary by location, age, and sex.