Are you unemployed without access to COBRA, a new hire, a seasonal worker or a new college grad? Then you’re a very good candidate for temporary health insurance coverage. Also called Short Term Health insurance, this affordable health coverage provides a vital safety net in case of illness or accident until you can afford or qualify for long-term health insurance.
If you’ve ever shopped for individual health insurance coverage and found the process frustrating, you should be in for a pleasant surprise. Temporary health insurance coverage is considerably easier to get. How come? Mostly because the company providing the short term medical insurance quote isn’t assuming a long-term risk like a permanent policy provider does. Long term providers have to worry about the cost covering you until you’re 65, even if you come down with a costly condition. Short term medical insurance providers issue a policy for a set amount of time. When the term is up, with a very few exceptions and depending on your plan, all benefits cease immediately.
Another reason for the relative ease and low cost of short-term health insurance is that most plans won’t cover treatment for pre-existing conditions. In fact, that’s one of many exclusions and limitations you’re going to find if you bother to read the fine print when you get a temporary health insurance quote. These will vary from state to state, but some typical exclusions and limitations include routine physical exams and similar services that aren’t medically necessary, preventive treatments like immunizations or flu shots, maternity-related services, convalescent or rehabilitative care and any benefit payments that would exceed the maximum limit on your short term health insurance policy.
What typically will be covered in most temporary health insurance plans are inpatient and outpatient doctor visits, non-elective surgeries, lab and x-ray work, hospital services, ambulance service and prescription drugs. Naturally, the specific benefits will vary from plan to plan.
There are some downsides to temporary health insurance plans that you need to consider. Under most circumstances they are not considered creditable coverage, a necessary hoop you need to jump through when moving from health insurance plan to another. That means that when you finally do get a permanent health insurance plan, your new provider can legally deny paying claims on any pre-existing conditions for up to 6 months if there’s been a lapse in creditable coverage of more than 60 days. Even so, that’s a comparatively smaller risk than going without any health insurance coverage.