Temporary health insurance has been gaining popularity. But how do you know if temporary health insurance is right for your needs? There are a few key elements to understand before you purchase this kind of short-term health insurance. Let's sort it all out.
What's the Difference Between Short Term and Temporary Health Insurance?
The phrases 'short-term health insurance' and 'temporary health insurance' mean the same thing. They both pertain to limited options meant to fill in gaps between employment benefits enrollment or Green Card approval.
Short-term medical insurance or short-term health insurance, as the name suggests, provides the insured with limited medical coverage for a specific window of time. Most temporary medical insurance covers 30 to 180 days. But there are more specialized plans including coverage for up to 364 days before requiring renewal.
Compared to regular health insurance, a temporary health insurance policy provides only essential health benefits, and includes certain limitations regarding coverage. Short-term medical insurance typically has a coverage amount maximum of $2 million, along with other exclusions or limitations for covered health services
Who Should Consider Temporary Health Insurance?
Despite the limitations, short-term health plans are beneficial for those seeking basic insurance coverage for a prescribed period of time.
- Regular insurance has lapsed: If someone is transitioning jobs, they may want to find temporary medical insurance until their new employee benefits kick in. Short-term medical plans ensure that individuals can get the health benefits they need.
- Dependents or students: Once young adults reach the age of 26, they're no longer eligible for coverage under their parents or guardians insurance plans. In addition, students, including those in optional practice training (OTP) programs, may find themselves without coverage after their student policy ends. Temporary health insurance plans are an ideal solution for this transitional phase.
- Before Medicare enrollment: Older individuals who retire from employment before their Medicare benefits begin can rely on short-term medical insurance.
- New to the U.S.: Individuals who recently immigrated to the U.S. are required to comply with insurance guidelines. Temporary health insurance plans can offer limited coverage they need as they wait for employee to begin.
- Missed the open enrollment period: A temporary health insurance plan is also a perfect option for those who may have missed the open enrollment period for long-term insurance.
There are other situations where someone might want to get short-term health insurance. For example, a U.S. citizen returning from living abroad, a temporary or seasonal employee without regular insurance, or those recently divorced may also need short-term health insurance coverage. While you might get a temporary health insurance plan for travel, there are other options that may be even better. For example, visitors medical insurance, or international travel insurance.
Finding the best temporary health insurance plans
Temporary medical insurance keeps you covered temporarily and ensures that you have access to healthcare without incurring heavy financial burdens. But there are a few key things to consider before purchasing a short-term medical policy:
- Coverage period: As noted, plan coverage periods vary, so its important to find a plan that suits your needs. If you'll be without a regular policy for a longer period of time, consider a plan with 364 days (the maximum window) of coverage.
- Exclusions or limitations: Even the best temporary health insurance plans may have limitations regarding coverage for pre-existing conditions, maternity, preventive care, and other services. Temporary medical insurance typically is only available for those 65 and younger, and may not be available in all states.
- Approval and renewal: Some temporary health plans include a nonrefundable application fee, and approval is not guaranteed. Similarly, while some policies can be renewed at the end of the coverage period, this is not guaranteed.
With these restrictions in mind, you might be wondering why you should get short-term health insurance? It comes down to saving money and protecting your physical health. If you're a new immigrant to the U.S., waiting for green card approval or employee benefits, having temporary medical insurance can give you peace of mind.
How to get temporary health insurance
So, how do you get short-term health insurance? Many insurance companies offer temporary medical insurance. Although VisitorsCoverage doesn't offer short-term plans, visiting the healthcare marketplace is a great place to find high-quality plans.