What Is Short Term Medical Insurance?
Short term medical insurance provides coverage to individuals who are in between health insurance plans. Perhaps you have just graduated from college, have recently gotten divorced or missed your open enrollment period for general medical insurance. Whatever the reason may be for not currently having a permanent major medical insurance plan in place, a short term medical policy can help.
What Does Short Term Medical Insurance Cover?
A short term medical policy covers many healthcare payments incurred during a specified period of time, usually 90 days. This coverage will help to pay for medical expenses incurred during that time.
What Doesn’t Short Term Medical Insurance Cover?
The exact coverage will depend on your specific policy, but sometimes short term medical insurance will not cover medical treatments/issues described as Essential Health Benefits under the ACA. Some of these medical treatments/issues might include doctor’s office visits for illness and injury, emergency room care, hospitalization, maternity care, mental health services, prescription drugs and more. Always look at the individual short term medical policy to see what is and what is not covered before signing up.
Who Needs A Short Term Medical Policy?
Individuals who can benefit from short term medical insurance fall in all different age groups, life situations and financial statuses. Some of the individuals who may require short term medical insurance include the following:
- Those who are in between jobs
- Individuals who have yet to receive medical benefits at their new place of employment
- Those awaiting ACA coverage
- Recently-divorced individuals
- Self-employed individuals
- New retirees
- Recent graduates
- Those who are awaiting Medicare benefits
- Waiting for next open enrollment
- Leaving parent’s healthcare insurance plan
Since the short term medical plan is only available for a specific period of time, it will likely come in handy in the circumstances listed above.
Why Is Short Term Medical Insurance So Important?
Medical bills can be really expensive and you never know when you are going to need medical treatment. Therefore, it’s important to have medical insurance coverage in place at all times. Since you may need temporary insurance to fill in the gaps between your regular medical insurance coverage, short term medical insurance provides a way to do so. It ensures that you have consistent coverage in place at all times.
How Does Short Term Medical Insurance Work?
In order to put your short term medical coverage into motion, you have to apply for the insurance policy. In general, these insurance policies will last for 90 days, at which time you’ll have to renew the policy to put it into effect for 90 more days. The money that you have paid towards your deductible will reset and the new period will begin.
You should note that, if you have pre-existing medical conditions, you may be denied coverage under a short term medical plan. These conditions will be inquired about during the application process.
With a short term medical policy, you’ll have a premium to pay, deductible to meet and maybe even some co-pays to consider.
Benefits of Short Term Medical Coverage
There are quite a few benefits to having a short term medical policy in place when you don’t have a current major medical insurance plan at the moment. Some of the benefits of short term medical coverage include the following:
- Healthcare coverage will protect you when you don’t have a permanent health insurance plan in place
- Short term medical coverage is affordable
- Coverage is immediate, upon approval
- There is no enrollment period
- Out-of-network coverage issues are non-existent
- You can drop coverage whenever you want
By looking at these aforementioned benefits, you can see why short term medical coverage is often obtained as temporary health insurance. It provides protection, it’s affordable and you only need to keep it as long as you want to.
Is Short Term Medical Coverage Necessary?
Whether or not short term medical coverage is necessary will depend on your individual circumstances at the moment. If you are currently without a health insurance policy due to being in between jobs, newly retired, awaiting health benefits with a new employer, etc., you should seriously consider obtaining a short term medical coverage plan to safeguard you against high medical bills during an uninsured period.
Look at the cost involved and consider how long you will be without a permanent healthcare insurance policy to see if signing up for a temporary health insurance policy is in your best interest.
What to Look for When Choosing a Short Term Medical Policy
If you’ve decided that it’s time to obtain a short term medical plan to cover any potential medical expenses that may arise before you obtain a major medical insurance policy, you want to be on the lookout for a few things when selecting a short term insurance plan.
First, see if any pre-existing conditions will prevent you from obtaining your short term coverage plan of choice. Next, look at what the plan will cover and if the coverage will properly protect you in case you need to put the plan into motion. Also, consider the costs involved, including the premium, deductible and co-pays to ensure that this temporary health insurance plan is affordable and worth the money.
You also must consider the term length. Again, many short term medical policies are 90 days in length, but this term will vary amongst providers and policies. In addition, read the fine print to see if there are any exclusions to coverage, as you want a policy that works best for you should you need to use it.
Obtaining a short term medical policy provides the protection you need if medical costs are incurred in between having your main health insurance policy in effect. Consider if it is worth the cost and will offer you peace of mind until your permanent health insurance policy can be obtained.