What is short term health insurance?
Short term health insurance plans provide you with coverage for a limited period of time, and may be an ideal solution for those between jobs or those waiting for other health insurance to start. Typically, short term plans offer coverage up to six months, although some plans may offer coverage up to 12 months. If you think you’ll need coverage for a longer period of time, you may want to look at a standard, longer-term health insurance option like our individual and family health insurance plans.
The application process for short term health insurance is usually simpler than standard, longer-term health insurance. Short term health insurance plans are designed to protect against unforeseen accidents or illnesses, rather than to provide comprehensive coverage, and, as such, typically do not include coverage for preventive care, physicals, immunizations, dental or vision care.
Purchasing a short term medical insurance plan will make you ineligible for any guaranteed issue individual health plans commonly referred to as HIPAA Plans. HIPAA plans are usually very expensive and are generally intended for people with pre-existing medical conditions who would have trouble getting health insurance otherwise. If you wish to maintain your eligibility for HIPAA plans, you should not purchase a short term plan. Please consult your benefits advisor to discuss your rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other rights under state law.
Short term health insurance plans typically do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. The definition of a pre-existing condition varies by state, but, in general, short term health insurance policies exclude coverage for conditions that have been diagnosed or treated within the previous 3 to 5 years. If you have an existing medical condition, you may want to research whether you can extend your current insurance. Employer-sponsored insurance can be extended under a government-regulated option commonly referred to as COBRA, which you should seriously consider if you have an existing medical condition.
Why would I want coverage for a limited amount of time?
If you’re between jobs, waiting for coverage from another health insurance plan to start, laid off, on strike, a recent college graduate or seasonal employee and know that you only need coverage for a specific period of time, short term health insurance may be a great option for you.
What happens when I reach the end of my coverage period?
At the end of your coverage term, most health insurance companies will allow you to re-apply for another short term plan. These plans do not typically constitute an automatic continuation of your first plan. Many short term health insurance plans only allow you to re-apply once.
What if I only need coverage for less than 30 days?
Most short term health insurance plans have a minimum coverage period of 30 days. Even if you only need coverage for less than 30 days, you can either:
Make a single payment upfront for 30 days of coverage, or
Select the monthly payment option, and then cancel your coverage when you no longer need it. Please note that you will not be refunded for partial months of coverage.
How soon can my coverage start?
Coverage for many short term health insurance plans can start as soon as 24 hours after the application is submitted. In order for coverage to start promptly, you can make your first premium payment by supplying a valid credit card number with your application. Please note that credit card billing of premiums is optional and you can obtain coverage without using that method of payment.
If you would prefer to have your coverage start later, you can select a date up to 30 days in the future.
How will I know if I qualify for short term health insurance coverage?
In most cases, as soon as you complete your application, we will be able to let you know if you do not qualify for short term coverage.
If I don’t qualify for short term coverage, will my credit card still get charged?
No. If you choose to use a credit card, your card will only be charged if you qualify for short term coverage. Please note that credit card billing of premiums is optional and you can obtain coverage without using that method of payment.
If I apply for an insurance plan, am I obligated to buy?
No. You are under no obligation to buy a health insurance plan when using our site. After submitting your application you may cancel it at any time during the underwriting process. When you submit an application you will typically include your credit card number or a check for the first premium payment. Most insurance companies will not charge your card or deposit your check until you are approved. If you are charged or your check is cashed and you are denied for coverage or cancel your application prior to approval, the insurance company will issue a refund.
A few insurance companies may charge an application fee. You will be notified in the application if the plan you chose requires an application fee. Please note that these fees are non-refundable.
Do short term health insurance plans include dental and vision benefits?
No. short term health insurance plans are designed to protect you in the event of an unexpected illness or injury and are not intended to cover dental and vision care. Short term health insurance plans are for temporary coverage only and therefore do not include some of the benefits offered by standard, longer-term health insurance plans.
Should I pay monthly or make a single payment up front?
Most short term health insurance plans give you the option of paying in monthly installments, or in a single up-front payment. Often, single payment plan costs may be lower than monthly plan costs.
We recommend you select “Monthly“, if you:
don’t know exactly how long you will need coverage, or
don’t want to make a single up-front payment
We recommend you select “Single Up-front Payment“, if you:
know exactly how long you will need coverage for,
want lower plan costs, and
don’t mind paying your whole premium up-front
If you select “Single Up-Front payment” you will need to specify the duration of your coverage (30-185 days). Also, if you select ” Single Up-Front payment” payment, you will enjoy the convenience of not having to manually cancel your plan at the end of your coverage period, although typically you will not be able to get a refund once coverage starts. If you need short term health insurance after your specified duration, you will need to re-apply for a new short term plan. (Note: most short term health plans will only allow you to re-apply once.)
Note: Some insurance companies only offer the “Single Up-Front payment” option, thus selecting this option may give you a greater selection of plans to choose from.
How can I insure just my child?
When getting quotes for your child(ren) only, enter the child’s gender and birth date in the “Applicant” or first row. Additional children should be entered below in the “Child” rows, but not the “Spouse” row.
However, many health insurance companies require one policy per child. So if you have more than one child, try entering just one child to see a larger selection of plans and prices. You are free to apply for each child separately.
What if I get a standard, longer-term insurance policy at a future date?
Once you receive written confirmation that the health insurance company you selected approved your application for a standard longer-term health insurance policy, you should contact the insurance company that issued your short term health insurance plan and cancel the short term policy.
Will purchasing a short term insurance plan make it harder for me to get coverage in the future for a pre-existing medical condition?
If you recently lost health insurance coverage through an employer, purchasing a short term medical insurance plan will make you ineligible for any guaranteed issue, individual health insurance plans commonly referred to as HIPAA plans. Oftentimes, HIPAA plans are quite expensive but may be appropriate for those whose pre-existing conditions make it difficult to obtain health insurance in the private market. Therefore, if you wish to maintain your eligibility for HIPAA plans, you should not purchase a short term health insurance plan. Please consult your benefits advisor to discuss your rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other rights under state law.