Short term health insurance
short-term medical fills tall order for "in-betweens"
September 29, 2010
The nation’s current economic downturn has sent reverberations through the corporate world, creating waves that have put hundreds of thousands of Americans who previously had health coverage adrift – and desperately seeking a safe harbor.
But layoffs are only the most visible of the multitude of ordinary, but life-changing, events that create millions of “in-betweens” – average consumers who need individual health insurance coverage fast, if only for a short period of time.
Consider that the number of “in-betweens” at any given time is astonishing. Estimates as to the numbers of temporarily uninsured include:
- 22 million part-time employees
- 5 million recently graduated students no longer covered by their parents’ policies
- 900,000 Americans who have lost coverage following a divorce
- 300,000 recently discharge members of the military
- 8.7 million Americans between jobs (and who may be trying to avoid more expensive COBRA health insurance coverage
- 5 million early retirees
Many of those “in-between” health care consumers are now looking for a quick fix that has appeared in the form of short-term major medical health insurance policies. These increasingly popular health plans – available through private health insurance providers – were designed to provide coverage for consumers who need one to six months of coverage to avoid the possibility of a health crisis that could cause a serious financial hardship.
a short list of pluses
Under the policies, healthy individuals can secure immediate individual and family coverage – plans that can kick in as early as the next day And, if you already know the number of days you will need to be covered, your insurer may allow you to make a single payment for a policy based on the coverage period.
The policies are typically offered with a selection of premiums and deductibles and are promoted as providing savings of up to 35 percent over a typical privately purchased plan. The policies also cover a range of physician services, surgery, outpatient and inpatient care. In addition, policy holders can often choose their own doctor and hospital without restrictions, though there may be financial incentives for using in-network providers.
So if you’re healthy and in need of temporary coverage until new coverage kicks in, a short-term major medical plan may be right for you.
what short-term major medical plans won’t cover
Short-term major medical plans may be a great fit for healthy folks who just need temporary coverage, but the plans weren’t designed to cover everything. They typically won’t cover your routine office visits and preventative care – and they won’t cover preexisting conditions. Be sure to check the list of exclusions on any policy.
Short-term major medical may not be available in all 50 states.
As always, no matter what type of insurance you choose, be a responsible consumer. Research the coverage available in your state to make sure you understand what you are purchasing and closely review the benefits and limitations of each plan.