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Short-Term Health Insurance

Last updated 25th Nov 2022

Short-term healthcare insurance may be of interest to individuals that are between jobs, or waiting for a new healthcare policy to come into effect. Because it's sold as short-term insurance, the benefits and costs will be different than "standard" insurance policies. Therefore, the expectations of the policyholder should be different too.

Short Term Insurance Explained

The benefits, and costs, of short-term health insurance are designed to help the policyholder in their transition from one insurance carrier to the next; especially if there is a timing gap between the existing and new policy. Because the expectation is the duration of the insurance need is a relatively short timeframe, the benefits associated with this type of insurance are scaled back. On the positive side, the costs of these policies are reasonable too.

It's possible to get an insurance quotation for a 12-month policy, although some carriers may limit quotes to six months. If there is a really short term need, some health insurance companies offer temporary coverage with durations as little as one month.

Health Care Benefits

Generally, a short-term healthcare policy will cover the same types of medical services as a permanent insurance policy. These policies are usually structured as a fee-based or indemnity program, not a health maintenance organization, or HMO. That means participants won't be able to schedule a routine check up or qualify for any preventative medical care or immunizations.

Services that are typically covered include emergency care, intensive care services, ambulatory services, x-rays, and laboratory work. Moreover, while it's possible to extend a policy to cover a spouse or family member, short-term insurance policies are very strict when it comes to pre-existing medical conditions. If it's determined that someone has a pre-existing condition, they could lose their health care coverage or coverage will be denied.

Finding a Short-Term Health Insurance Policy

The Internet is one of those great resources when it comes to purchasing goods and services, and this kind of insurance is no exception. Consumers should be able to find an ample supply of carriers willing to provide a fast insurance quote at competitive rates. The Internet is home to a large marketplace for these types of services, so take advantage of the low premiums that are typically found online.

Keep in mind that any quotes for policy premiums received over the Internet are not final until the applicant has gone through the entire application process. Individuals are never obligated to buy anything without first providing an approval. Quotations are normally supplied free of charge.

Cost of Temporary Health Insurance

As mentioned earlier, the cost of temporary health insurance is typically very affordable. That's because coverage is limited to emergency care, which is not frequently needed. For this reason, monthly premiums may be as low as $50 per month, and almost always less than $200. Nevertheless, policyholders need to pay attention to three other elements of a policy besides the monthly premiums: coinsurance payments, deductibles, and policy maximums.


When comparing insurance quotes, be sure to make fair comparisons. For example, the analysis should include the deductible for each policy being compared. A large deductible, one in the $2,000 range, means participants pay the first $2,000 of medical expenses. That adds quite a bit to the overall cost of the policy if it's ever needed.

Coinsurance Payments

Coinsurance is another element of a short-term health insurance policy that needs to be considered before signing up. Coinsurance is the term used to describe the cost sharing arrangement the policyholder has with their carrier. Just like the deductible, it effectively adds to the cost of the monthly premiums.

For example, coinsurance payments might be a 70% / 30% split between the carrier and patient; whereby the patient is still picking up 30% of the costs associated with the medical services provided.

Policy Maximums

Finally, make sure the policy has a fairly high maximum payout level. Here we're talking about a maximum in the $1 million or more range. This is the maximum amount of insurance payments a company will make on the policyholder's behalf. Fortunately, the chances of needing this much money is very small. Just because a policy states the maximum is $1 million, does not necessarily translate into significantly higher premiums.

About the Author - Short-Term Health Insurance

Moneyzine Editor

Moneyzine Editor