The number of Americans without health insurance has increased over the last couple of years. This number has only risen by 1.2 percentage points, but that still works out to 3.2 million people.
Are you among this group of people who don’t have health insurance?
If you want health insurance but feel that you can’t afford it, there are options available to provide you with the coverage you need. One of these options is short term health insurance.
What is short term health insurance, though?
If you’ve never heard of this type of insurance, keep reading. Everything you need to know is explained below.
What is Short Term Health Insurance?
As the name suggests, a short term health insurance policy is one that provides you with coverage for a short period of time. It is also referred to as temporary insurance.
Some of these short term plans offer coverage for a period as short as three months. Others offer coverage for close to a year (360 days, in some cases).
Who Should Use Short Term Health Insurance?
Short term health insurance is a good option for some people. If any of these situations apply to you, it might something for you to consider:
- You are unable to afford other, long term health insurance plans
- You are waiting for your coverage to start
- You need coverage to bridge you until you can start receiving Medicare benefits
- You are turning 26 this year and will be off of your parent’s insurance plan
- You are in generally good health
- You are under the age of 65
Short term health insurance is also a good option for individuals who have recently lost their job or who are between jobs and waiting for new benefits to kick in.
Pros and Cons of Short Term Health Insurance
There are lots of benefits that come with paying for short term health insurance. There are also some potential drawbacks of which you ought to be aware. The pros and cons of this type of insurance are listed below:
There are plenty of reasons to purchase a short term health insurance plan, such as the ones offered on this site. Some pros of short term health insurance include:
- Fast coverage, sometimes as soon as the day after you apply
- Several deductible options to help you find an affordable plan
- Several coverage length options to help you bridge the gap in your insurance policies
- No penalty for dropping coverage when another option comes along
- Refunds are available on your unused premium when you sign up for a more permanent plan
- Easily apply for another short term plan, if necessary, when your other plan ends
- Gain access to an extensive network of doctors and other health care professionals
- Family members can also be covered by short term plans
With short term coverage, you also get to enjoy significantly lower premiums than if you chose a different type of insurance plan.
Of course, there are some potential downsides to short term health insurance, including the following:
- Preventive care may or may not be covered
- Prescription drugs may or may not be covered
- You may have to switch primary care providers if yours is not included in your plan’s network
If you are a young, healthy individual, these drawbacks shouldn’t have much of an impact on you, especially if you don’t already have a primary care provider or don’t mind switching.
If you are concerned about prescription drugs or preventive care, you can also check to make sure that those things are covered by a particular plan before you choose it.
Remember, too, that this is a short-term plan that will tide you over until you find a more permanent solution. Even if your coverage is not as comprehensive as you’d like, it will likely be sufficient for a short period of time.
How to Choose the Right Plan
Okay, you’re convinced that short term health insurance might be a good option for you. How do you decide which plan to choose, though?
There are several different types of insurance out there, and it can be hard to know which one is the best fit for you and your needs. Here are some guidelines that can help simplify the process:
Consider Premiums and Policy Lengths
The first step you ought to take when you’re looking for a short term insurance plan is to find one that fits your budget and will cover you for the length of time you need.
Short term plans are highly affordable (some cost less than $100 per month), and policies come in several different lengths, so it should be easy to find one that fits your specific needs.
Get Customizable Coverage
Next, try to find a plan that offers customizable coverage. That way, you can get the deductible and coinsurance that you need and make sure the benefits that matter most to you and your family are covered.
Stick with Your Preferred Provider
If possible, make sure that the plan you choose will allow you to continue seeing your current doctor. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs when you go see them.
If you don’t already have a preferred provider, you don’t need to worry about this step.
Find a Policy with Strong Backing
Finally, be sure to find a policy provided by an insurance company that has a positive financial rating (a “B” or better is best). This will help you ensure you’re in good hands and will have access to a reliable customer service network.
Many insurance companies publish documents online regarding their history and stability to help you determine whether or not they’re a reliable option for you.
Learn More About Health Insurance
As you can see, there are some definite pros that come with investing in short term health insurance.
Now that you can easily answer the question, “what is short term health insurance?” is it something in which you’re interested in investing? Or, do you want to learn more about other types of health insurance?
If you want to learn about other types of insurance, we’ve got articles for you.
Start by checking out this article to learn some important facts about Medicare. You definitely ought to know these if you’re considering applying.