Due to the nature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), qualifying health plans are fairly uniform – for example, they all cover the essential health benefits, pre existing conditions, and are guaranteed-issue.
However, short term health plans (also referred to as “temporary” health plans and “short term medical”) aren’t required to adhere to a standard set of guidelines like ACA plans. States have different laws regarding short term plans, and some states don’t allow the sale of short term plans at all.
Because of the variety inherent in temporary policies, it’s critical to read the details and make sure you fully understand what benefits, limitations and exclusions apply to any coverage you’re thinking about purchasing.
Remember, while short term medical coverage may be a good option for many, it’s not the right fit for everyone, especially if you qualify for an ACA special enrollment period, ACA subsidies, Medicaid or CHIP, or have pre existing health conditions.
Get the Best Short Term Health Insurance – What to Consider
Let’s look at four things to consider and compare when looking at short term health policies.
- Policy length – how long you need coverage
- Benefits – what coverage you need and how much
- Cost – what you can afford to pay
- Networks – keep your preferred providers
Remember, short term coverage is available most of the year, and you can begin benefits as early as the next day if you qualify.
It just takes a minute to generate quotes for multiple policies so you can compare options.
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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, prescription drugs, or pre-existing conditions, you may be able to find plans with limited benefits for some of those types of services and coverages.
Compare short term insurance plans available to you.
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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.
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.
While ACA-qualifying plans all have the same essential health benefits, with non-qualifying health plans (like short term medical), the premium you pay typically depends on a few other factors besides the deductible amount, including the level of benefits you select.
For example, you may pay a higher monthly premium for a plan that covers preventive care and/or pre existing conditions.
To get a subsidized plan, enroll in an ACA-qualifying health plan during the annual open enrollment period or a special enrollment period from your state exchange or the federal marketplace.
ACA-qualifying insurance policies offered on the private marketplace are not eligible for subsidies or reductions.
4. Networks – 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 be able to save money – some short term plans partner with national networks and offer discounted care when you use participating providers.
Summary and Next Steps
Policy duration, benefits, out-of-pocket and premium costs, and network considerations are typically the things to consider as you’re trying to find the best short term health insurance plan for you.
What’s next? If you’re ready to get started, get quotes, and compare options. We also have more information about how to buy health insurance online.
Want to talk to an agent for more help finding short term health insurance? Call (888) 855-6837 to speak with a licensed professional today.
- What is Short Term Health Insurance and What Does it Cover?
- Is Short Term Health Insurance a Good Idea? Advantages and Disadvantages
- Why Buy Short Term Health Insurance and is it Right for You?
- Short Term Health Insurance Initial Term and Max Duration Limits by State
Check Plan Availability and Get a Short Term Health Insurance Quote