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Short Term Health Insurance
With short-term policies, healthy applicants can secure immediate individual and family coverage, with plans that can kick in as early as the next day. If you already know the number of days you will need to be covered (usually 1-11 months), your insurer may allow you to make a single payment for the whole coverage period.
Short-term plans are typically offered with a selection of premiums, deductibles and benefit maximums. The policies are considerably less expensive than ACA-compliant major medical plans, so you may find that you can afford to purchase a plan with a low deductible and a high-benefit maximum.
The policies also cover a range of physician services, surgery, outpatient and inpatient care. In addition, policy holders can often choose their own doctor and hospital without restrictions, though there may be financial incentives for using in-network providers.
So if you’re healthy and in need of temporary coverage until another plan kicks in, or if you missed the last open enrollment and need coverage just for the rest of the year, a short-term major medical plan may be right for you (in that case, be sure you also enroll in a regular once open enrollment begins, so that you’ll have ACA-compliant coverage effective January 1).
What short-term health insurance won’t cover
Short-term major medical plans may be a great fit for healthy folks who just need temporary coverage, but the plans weren’t designed to cover everything, and they do not provide coverage for all of the ACA’s essential benefits.
They typically won’t cover your routine office visits, maternity, mental health or preventative care – and they won’t cover preexisting conditions. They also still use medical underwriting, which means that applicants with serious pre-existing conditions may not be able to get short-term coverage. Be sure to check the list of exclusions on any policy.
Short-term major medical may not be available in all 50 states.
As always, no matter what type of insurance you choose, be a responsible consumer. Research the coverage in your state to make sure you understand what you are purchasing and closely review the benefits and limitations of each plan.
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