If you are looking to cover a temporary gap in your or your family's health insurance coverage, you may be asking yourself, “Should I get short-term health insurance?” A short-term health insurance plan provides coverage for a limited term, which can be a great option to use while you look for a long-term health insurance solution. However, unlike Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, short-term plans do not have to follow the guidelines for minimum essential coverage, and you can be denied coverage based on your health history. It’s important to note that plans and the rules concerning short-term health insurance benefits vary by state.
Who Does Short-Term Insurance Fit Best?
While most people can apply for short-term health insurance if it is offered in their states, there are people in certain situations who could uniquely benefit from purchasing short-term health insurance.
Those Experiencing Work Status Changes
If you are currently out of work, have been terminated, are on-strike, or have experienced a lay-off, you may be a good candidate for short-term health insurance. If you are a temporary or seasonal employee, it can be a good choice, too. Purchasing even a 30-day health insurance policy can sometimes be enough to fill the insurance gap between jobs.
If you are waiting for employer-based coverage or open enrollment to begin, short-term insurance can be a solution, as some companies require a waiting period before health coverage starts. Short-term health insurance can cover you if you temporarily lost coverage due to a reduction in work hours. This sometimes happens when employees transition from a full-time to a part-time position.
Those Seeking an Alternative to COBRA
COBRA allows for people who have lost their jobs to continue coverage under their current group health plan. However, prior to losing employment, most workers were accustomed to paying only a portion of the cost for their medical insurance, while their employer was paying for the rest. With COBRA, you are required to pay the entire health insurance premium, plus a 2% administrative fee.1 Finding a short-term plan with a lower premium could be a good temporary solution.
Recent College Graduates
If you are a student who has recently finished college or aged out of your parent’s coverage, you could be without a health plan. A temporary health insurance plan can buy you some time until you have secured permanent health insurance of your own.
Those Who Have Been Discharged from the Military
Unfortunately, when you separate from the military, you don’t always get to take your medical benefits with you. As a veteran, you may not meet the eligibility requirements for the military’s health insurance program. Some former military personnel will qualify for transitional assistance. However, many veterans who did not remain in the military long enough to reach retirement will be required to healthcare from another source. Short-term health insurance can be an easy way to fill the gap until permanent benefits are secured.
Those Who Experience a Change in Marital Status
Americans can lose their health insurance due to divorce. Those experiencing a change in marital status such as a divorce can purchase short-term health insurance as a temporary solution to receive coverage.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you could be getting married to someone with benefits. If your partner can add you to a policy, you may not want to purchase a comprehensive plan on the marketplace during this time of transition. Instead, a short-term plan could cover you until the new benefits take effect.
If you have decided to retire before the age of 65, you are not alone. It is reported that the most common retirement age is 64 for both men and women.2 This is roughly one year before the age of eligibility for Medicare.3 If you’re among this group of early retirees, you could be facing a health insurance dilemma.
Temporary health insurance plans can provide some health insurance coverage until you work out a permanent option. However, these plans generally take current and past health status into consideration when determining eligibility. They also are not required to cover any pre-existing conditions. So, as an older citizen, a short-term plan should only be considered if you are already in good overall health.
Those Who Missed Open Enrollment
If you miss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Open Enrollment Period (November 1 to December 15 in most states), you are not able to enroll in a healthcare plan unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. A Special Enrollment Period requires a qualifying life event, such as a move to a different state or part of the country, a marriage or divorce, a job loss, or the birth or adoption of a child. If you do not meet the criteria, you could be without any health insurance until the next open enrollment period. Short-term health insurance can help you get coverage until the next open enrollment period.
Americans may assume that should they get hurt or need medical attention while on vacation, their health insurance policy will cover them same as if they were at home. However, many policies are not valid outside of the United States. Temporary health insurance used for international travel could help provide a certain level of coverage should you experience an accident while away.
This is true for more than just those who are vacationing. Business professionals who spend a lot of time overseas could also consider this option, as could any students looking to participate in a study abroad program. For those who are relocating outside of the United States, a short-term health insurance plan can provide expatriates with coverage until they assimilate into their new home and establish insurance coverage.
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for Me?
Short-Term health insurance might be right for you if you are in good health and looking for temporary health coverage. Still not sure? HealthMarkets can help! Shop for a short-term health insurance plan that fits your situation by comparing the options available in your area.
Looking for something more long-term? HealthMarkets can help you find an Affordable Act (ACA) plan that best fits your needs, at no cost to you. Get started reviewing your options now.
1.“You may qualify for free or low-cost health insurance.” WTHR. June 2021. Retrieved from https://www.wthr.com/article/money/consumer/you-may-qualify-for-free-or-low-cost-health-insurance/531-3799252d-0316-4b5a-8770-871e5c735116 | 2.“The Average Retirement Age in Every State.” Yahoo Finance. June 2021. Retrieved from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/average-retirement-age-every-state-120000478.html | 3.“Original Medicare (Part A and B) Eligibility and Enrollment.” CMS. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Eligibility-and-Enrollment/OrigMedicarePartABEligEnrol Accessed June 16, 2021.