Cheap temporary medical insurance, also known as “short-term health coverage,” is available in every state. These policies are specifically offered when you only need benefits for less than a year. As the nation’s premier website for affordable medical plans, we review all of the available options, and provide you with the lowest allowable rates in each state. We realize that every individual or family has specific needs and a particular time frame that they need coverage, especially when someone loses dependent status.
When you only need a policy for a short time frame (or possibly more), our goal is to find the lowest cost plan that gives you the benefits you need. We assure you that only the most-respected companies are used. If we wouldn’t use it ourselves or for our own family members, you won’t see it either. There are many questionable “discount” companies we will not use since they don’t deliver on the promises that they make to consumers. We know you need a safety net for unexpected claims and that’s the type of contract we look for.
Temporary medical insurance is designed for anybody that is without health care benefits…especially if they are in transition. Coverage is available to individuals, families, the self employed or anyone that is uninsured. This type of plan is ideal for any US resident that is on COBRA, currently unemployed or between jobs, waiting for other medical coverage to become effective, or a recent school graduate. Premiums are typically 40%-65% less than a typical plan.
With the State Exchanges set to begin offering coverage in 2014, short-term contracts are starting to gain in popularity to carry until the enrollment process starts in October (although effective dates are in January). As long as the applicant remains relatively healthy, it’s an option that will work well, but not for everyone.
The standard application is usually completed in less than 10 minutes. There are very few medical questions and it can be completed online or by mail/fax. If the application is taken online, processing will be much quicker. In some states, you can receive instant approval. Humana, a large reputable carrier, offers this feature in many parts of the country.
Most short-term insurance plans can be purchased in increments of 1-12 months. Billing is flexible as policies can be paid with an annual lump sum payment or monthly installments. If the policy needs to be canceled early, most companies offer a pro-rated refund on the unused coverage. Since this type of plan is designed to protect a need for only a few months, it should not be used if benefits are needed for more than one year.
Policies are often approved within 24-48 hours since there are very few medical questions to answer and physicals are not required. Certain carriers will approve a policy instantaneously (Humana, as previously mentioned). If you have major health conditions, you could be denied and you would have to seek a more expensive “Open Enrollment” plan.
These plans cover unexpected injuries and illnesses. Typical coverages include inpatient hospital and outpatient services, emergency room and urgent care, ambulance and home care (subject to policy limits) and diagnostic services. Some short term health insurance plans also include office visit and prescription drug plans.
Once the specified deductible has been met (usually between $250 and $10,000) 80%-100% of the medical expenses will be paid by the policy. The remaining balance (if any) is paid by yourself until the total maximum out-of-pocket expense limit is reached. Lifetime maximum limits are usually around $1 million.
Although premiums are low, this type of policy is not designed to cover preventive benefits including routine physicals and well care visits, dental or vision expenses and long-term health care. Depending on the policy, your deducible may apply to each claim, or each cause. An “each clause” temporary medical insurance plan can result in substantial out of pocket expenses if multiple claims occur. Reducing the deductible will lower your possible maximum out of pocket expense.
But lower deductibles can cause the cost of the temporary health insurance policy to rise. Also, pre-existing conditions are generally not covered and the renewal of the policy is not guaranteed. For that reason, it is best when the exact time frame of needed coverage is known. However, if your current policy expires and there have not been significant changes in your health, you may apply for an additional policy.
Of course, if a heart attack or cancer was now being treated, another policy form would have to be used. Perhaps a “guaranteed approval” plan, and unlike cheap short-term healthcare, “GA” policies are not inexpensive.