Health Insurance

Short Term Medical

Short term medical coverage can be a good temporary option for health insurance. It’s designed to be just-in-case protection — you only use it when you really need it.

Short Term Medical is health insurance that’s designed to be temporary.

There’s been some confusion in the last couple of years about this kind of health insurance. You might have heard that it’s junk or that it doesn’t cover anything. And while it’s true that short term health insurance is not the same thing as major medical coverage, this kind of insurance isn’t junk.

In fact, it works well for many people — just not everyone.

Short term health insurance only works well for certain people.

Let’s say you’re in your twenties and you’ve just graduated from college. You land a great job, but there’s a waiting period before your company’s health benefits kick in. This common scenario is exactly what short term health insurance is for.

If you need coverage for a temporary situation, something to tide you over until major medical takes effect, short term’s got your back. You may also need short term health insurance if:

  • You can’t afford major medical insurance;
  • You’ve missed the Open Enrollment Period for major medical insurance under the ACA (“Obamacare”);
  • You don’t want all the bells and whistles that come with a comprehensive major medical plan — or you do, but it’s too expensive; or
  • You’re between jobs and just want a safety net in case you get sick.

As the name implies, “short term” coverage is meant to be, well, short. Temporary. Not permanent. (You get the idea.)

And because it’s not designed to replace all the juicy benefits of a major medical policy, short term coverage is not ideal for everyone, including people with pre-existing conditions, people who need a lot of medical care throughout the year, and people who plan on starting a family.

Short term health plans don’t have to follow the rules of the Affordable Care Act, the law that governs major medical policies. Because of this:

  • You can sign up anytime for a short term health plan. There aren’t any enrollment periods, meaning you can sign up or drop your plan whenever you need to.
  • Short term health insurance costs a lot less than major medical. These plans don’t have to cover all the benefits of a major medical plan — and many don’t — so they don’t carry the same high price tag.
  • Policies last anywhere from 30 days to 36 months (thanks to recent federal regulations).
  • Signing up is quick, convenient & simple. And you can find plans from top insurers, like UnitedHealthcare, National General, and Anthem.

Now, let’s talk about a couple of downsides.

Because short term health insurance is not major medical insurance and doesn’t have to follow the rules of the ACA, it also doesn’t come with the same benefits, rights & protections that Obamacare requires. Meaning:

  • If you have a pre-existing condition or need a lot of medical care, short term insurance isn’t right for you. You may find a policy that covers pre-existing conditions, but it’ll be expensive and limited. You’re better off with major medical in this case.
  • Short term plans don’t cover everything. Notably, missing from most plans? Coverage for preventive care, maternity services, prescription drugs, and mental health care. These plans cost less because the coverage isn’t as comprehensive.
  • Insurers can set higher rates for people with medical problems or deny coverage altogether if you’ve got a pre-existing condition. It’s how they keep rates low for everyone else.

That said, short term coverage can be a good temporary stopgap for medical crises. It’s designed to work like catastrophic coverage — you only need it when you really need it.

This kind of insurance may not work for you. But if you need a placeholder until you can get major medical or you can’t afford the robust benefits of an Obamacare plan, short term coverage is an affordable and convenient option for health insurance.

Concierge Services

Schedule your one-on-one insurance consultation with a coverage team member, privately and at your convenience.