What is Short Term Health Insurance?

Nowadays, it feels like everything is uncertain. It’s no surprise that this sense of unrest leads to worry and confusion for many people. We all crave stability and predictability in our lives.

Certainly, as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, the healthcare industry is facing considerable challenges due to the rising number of health cases. However, there are a handful of large national insurance companies that are financially strong enough to meet the demand for healthcare now and in the future.

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Additionally, many individuals are finding themselves out of work or transitioning from one job to the next, which typically results in losing their health insurance until they are re-employed with a company that offers employer-sponsored health insurance.

For people who are in between jobs, attending college, or have aged out of their parent’s coverage, short-term health insurance will likely be the best way to obtain health insurance coverage without giant deductibles and monthly premiums.

Because short-term health insurance is not nearly as well known as traditional health insurance, we are providing an overview of coverage and the most frequently asked questions.

What is Short-Term Health Insurance?

Short-term health insurance is a type of insurance that provides temporary coverage for individuals and families who are between health insurance plans. This type of insurance is typically for those who are healthy and do not need extensive coverage.

If you are leaving an employer who provided group health insurance and cannot afford COBRA coverage, a short-term health policy can be an affordable way to fill that gap. This type of policy can provide temporary coverage until your new group health plan kicks in.

Short-term health insurance plans can be a great option for many consumers. The biggest benefit is typically the lower premium compared to a full-blown health insurance policy. For some people, the savings can be considerable. Other attractive features and benefits of short-term health insurance plans include obtaining immediate coverage that provides flexible coverages, and the ability to build a custom plan according to your circumstances and budget.

How Do Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Work?

Short-term health plans have been traditionally defined by the government as temporary health insurance with a policy period that is less than one year.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed the policy term for short-term health plans from one year to three months. This was done so that people could use these plans as a bridge until they could get comprehensive coverage through an employer or through the ACA Marketplace.

However, once Donald Trump took office, the government decided to allow short-term health insurance policies with policy terms of up to 364 days. Policyholders will be able to renew their policies up to 3 times, for a total of 36 months of consecutive coverage.

These new liberalized rules significantly opened up the health insurance marketplace for short-term coverage except for the 11 states that have refused to allow short-term health plans to be sold within their borders.

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island

Although short-term health plans offer fairly comprehensive coverage, there are distinct differences between short-term plans and plans regulated by the Affordable Care Act. The primary differences are that short-term plans do not have to offer the “10 essential coverages” or cover pre-existing conditions. 

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Short-Term Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Is short term health insurance cheaper?

Since short-term health insurance plans do not have to provide the 10 essential benefits that the ACA requires, they are generally much cheaper than a traditional health insurance plan.

What is the best short term health insurance?

Although there are several health insurance companies that offer short-term health insurance, we have found that UnitedHealthcare and National General Accident and Health insurance company offer the most popular plans at really affordable rates.

Can I buy short term health insurance?

Any adult can purchase short-term health insurance as long as they can medically qualify for a policy.

What is the point of short term health insurance?

Short-term health insurance plans were designed to help individuals who are unable to purchase traditional health insurance and who will only need it for a short period of time.

What are the disadvantages of short term health insurance?

Certainly, it’s a good idea the compare the pros and cons of any insurance product before applying for coverage. With short-term health insurance, you will not be covered for pre-existing health conditions and most plans do not offer maternity benefits. Additionally, most plans fall short of providing the essential benefits found in the Affordable Care Act health insurance.

How long caan you have short term health insurance?

Most health insurers offer short term health insurance coverage from 1 to 12 months and will allow 3 renewals of the plan you select.

Who is elegible for short term health insurance?

Any adult can purchase short term health insurance except for the following:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • Men who weigh more than 300 lbs and women who weigh more than 250 pounds
  • Residents of the 11 states who do not allow it
  • Individuals who are on Medicaid
  • Not citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
  • Been diagnosed with the AIDS virus or HIV

How long does it take for a short term health plan to become effective?

Depending on the insurer you choose, your short-term health insurance will become effective 1 to 14 days after you’ve applied for coverage.

Is short term health insurance a good option?

If you are in a situation where you will have a lapse in health insurance such as between jobs, waiting on Medicare to start, or missed the enrollment period for Affordable Care Act health insurance, short-term health insurance will likely be your best option.

Does short-term health insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

While most companies will not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, there are a few companies that will issue a policy with a waiting period before coverage for pre-existing conditions will be covered.

What are the Pros and Cons of Short-term Health Insurance?

It’s doubtful that anyone can find a health insurance product without pros and cons so it’s all the more important to consider and weigh them before making a purchase decision:



  • Considerably lower premiums than traditional health insurance
  • Insurance companies allow applicants to choose the coverages they need
  • Easy qualifications and no enrollment periods.
  • Comprehensive provider network (larger than ACA)
  • No coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • No coverage is provided for mental health care
  • No coverage for retail prescription drugs
  • High deductibles before coverage kicks in
  • No limits on out-of-pocket expenses

The Bottom Line

Certainly, short-term health insurance is not for everybody but if you are in a situation where you will be without health insurance temporarily, a short-term health plan will likely be your only alternative. For more information, call the insurance professionals at HealthPlans2Go at 888-773-1181 or contact us through our website.

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