When life’s transitions happen, you shouldn’t be without healthcare coverage. There are a lot of emergencies that can rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills, but even during these times, you can get assistance from an insurance company to pay your bills. Short term health insurance is a way that many people prevent out-of-pocket costs when they are out of work or just don’t have an insurance plan yet. Whether you have missed open enrollment on Healthcare.gov or just want to ensure that you have coverage, understanding short-term health insurance can save you a lot of time and money as well.
These plans allow you to fill in temporary gaps where you won’t be covered, and yet you can choose to have a temporary insurance plan for up to year. These are some more details to help you get a closer look of short-term health insurance options.
What’s Covered in Temporary Insurance
Affordable short-term health insurance provides a variety of different services, and you can continue to see your doctor as long as they accept your insurance company’s short-term plan. Some of the services that are covered include:
- Inpatient and outpatient medical care
- Surgical and hospital care
- Diagnostic services
- Emergency care
- Office visits
- Prescription drug coverage
- Certain types of rehabilitation and therapy
Many of these plans are flexible and may include more, but in general, these are the basic services that you’ll receive with most major insurance companies offering temporary insurance coverage. You can compare plans easily using SHTP’s comparison tool and just select on the plans that are right for your budget and needs.
Limitations and Exclusions
With all insurance plans, there are some services that are not covered. For the cost of short-term healthcare, you can’t expect the insurance companies to pay for pre-existing conditions, which is one reason why many choose to add temporary health insurance for a month in order to go to a doctor to get diagnostics done.
Short-term healthcare plans don’t have to meet the same requirements as plans in Affordable Care Act either. These plans cover at least 60 percent of the medical costs, but they also have to cap out-of-pocket expenses or the amount that you would pay for care if you did it on your own. Since temporary health insurance coverage is so cheap, the limitations do make it best for only a certain group of people who need insurance but don’t have pre-existing conditions. Here are some of the limitations to make note of:
- Companies are allowed to deny short-term insurance coverage if you have a health conditional ready
- Some benefits called “essential” in ACA can be excluded from short-term healthcare plans
- Since benefits are only give for a short period of time, the company can cap the cost of those benefits to a certain amount.
- Companies may also charge deductibles that are above the out-of-pocket cost limit that ACA plans have.
- While many companies try to renew coverage, short-term plans are not guaranteed renewal at the end of the plan date.
Short-term health insurance policies are sold by private companies and cannot be purchased on the marketplace. However, there are a number of people that can help you find the right coverage even when you’re not sure what you need.
Medical Provider Networks
Short-term healthcare plans also have medical provider networks like long-term insurance plans. You could pay more out-of-pocket to see a doctor or go to a facility that isn’t included with the plan. This usually results in a higher co-pay. There are a variety of choices, however, when you are picking a plan.
One company may offer a range of different deductibles ranging up to $10,000 in some cases for coverage. To ensure that your insurance carrier is covered, you should always talk to your doctor beforehand or call a facility to make sure that a plan is acceptable before choosing it.
Overall, temporary health insurance provides a number of options to pick and choose coverage as you need it. If you wouldn’t use the doctors or hospitals in the network provided, you should contact the doctor who you would choose to see if it’s possible for them to start choosing your healthcare to include as well.
What to Do When Shopping for Short-Term Health Insurance
If you are thinking of buying a plan during your transitional period, you’re already on a track to save a lot of money and be protected in case of sudden health problems. However, there are a few things that you can to make your experience more enjoyable.
1. Always read the fine print of the insurance plan to ensure that you’re getting the deductible, coverage and services that you need.
2. Look for how much you will pay out of pocket to have the plan. The plan should be able to tell you a deductible and how much you will pay after the deductible to cover your medical expenses. In some cases they will provide a maximum that you will have to pay in order to get coverage.
3. Always check for the dollar cap coverage on any temporary health insurance plan. There could also be a lifetime benefit maximum on the plan.
4. If there is a network of providers and facilities with a certain plan, you should always do a check with your doctor to see if they will take your new insurance.
5. You also want to make sure that the period is timed correctly so that the end of the short-term plan does not qualify you to enroll in another health plan that is standard and costs more than other plans from Healthcare.gov because you signed up early.
6. If you decide to enroll in a short term plan, then you will also be forfeiting coverage from COBRA or HIPPA. You can always gain COBRA eligibility back by dropping short-term insurance plans.
Getting Lower Premiums
The major benefit for anyone considered health coverage is that temporary health insurance has a lower premium and doesn’t insist that companies loads of money either. However, there are plans with higher and lower deductibles. IF you have a $5,000 deductible, then you could end up paying about $100 a month for insurance coverage, which is still pretty low.
For anyone who needs coverage today, short-term is definitely the best option. You can pick and choose from different plans and call the ones that interest you, or you can also send a message.