Short Term Insurance

A short-term health insurance plan can offer health care coverage when you are between insurance sources.

Short Term Health Insurance Facts:

  • This is designed for healthy individuals and families Short-term policies provide an affordable safety net while switching from one life event to another when an official qualifying event is not an option.
  • Short term plans are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), So they are still available year-round. For people who missed open enrollment and do not have a qualifying event that allows them to purchase an ACA-compliant plan, a short-term policy can be a good solution to bridge the gap until general open enrollment begins again.
  • Short-term plans generally provide coverage for one to six months and are not renewable, although many states allow two back-to-back short-term plans to be purchased.
  • It’s important to know that short-term plans are not considered minimum-essential-coverage under the ACA, so people with short-term Insurance are subject to the ACA’s individual mandate penalty unless they’re otherwise exempt from it. The individual mandate allows a gap in coverage of fewer than three months, so you could have a short-term policy for two months in between other minimum essential coverage and would not be subject to a penalty. But relying on short-term coverage for more than two months would result in a penalty being assessed.
  • Emergency events are nearly always covered, as is hospital care, but in general, coverage is limited so study your policy carefully.  Short -term plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions, and they typically do not cover maternity, mental health or prenatal care. (They are not required to cover the ACA’s essential health benefits). Although their sale is not limited to open enrollment windows, short-term plans do use very basic medical underwriting to determine and applicant’s eligibility for coverage.
  • Although premium subsidies are not available for short-term policies, the plans are considerably less expensive than ACA-compliant major medical plans. And you can get coverage as early as the next day once you answer just a few simple questions about your health.

Bottom Line

Short-term health insurance is a low-cost option to protect yourself temporarily from unforeseen and emergency medical expenses. But it is not a substitute for ACA-compliant coverage, and it doesn’t include the myriad consumer protections provided under the law.