For the In-between Times: Short-term Health Insurance

135235485When people think of health insurance, they think of traditional health insurance, with office visits, co-payments, and prescription drug coverage. However, such health insurance is not always available. Perhaps you are transitioning from one job to another; or maybe you are employed part-time or with a temporary agency that does not offer full health coverage; or you might be attending or just graduating from school. In these situations, traditional health insurance is sometimes not available. If you are unable to afford traditional health insurance but would like some coverage in the case of an accident or emergency, short-term health insurance is your best bet.

Short-term health insurance fills the gap in health insurance coverage that may come about for a number of different reasons, including those listed above. The idea of short-term health insurance is built into the name – it is a short-term solution offering short-term coverage, with the expectation that at some point, you will begin or resume traditional health insurance coverage. It is designed for those who would like some coverage in case of accident or injury and covers only emergency or serious medical expenses, such as x-rays, ambulance fees, intensive care, and a certain amount of hospital care. Though policies vary, these are often standard in short-term health insurance coverage. However, short-term health insurance does not cover regular physician visits, nor do they cover pre-existing conditions. If you are looking for this sort of coverage, you should consider obtaining a traditional health insurance policy or looking into other options.

Short-term health insurance costs vary greatly; you will have a monthly premium, ranging anywhere from $25 to $100, depending upon the plan’s coverage and deductible, which often begins at $250 and can increase to $5,000. Most policies these days also offer a reasonable pay-out amount (often one or two million dollars). Policies allow you to choose coverage for specific lengths of time, from 30 days to 90 days or six months, but almost no short-term policies extend past one year.

How do you find short-term health insurance? It is not as difficult as it may seem. A simple Internet search will yield a number of companies that offer short-term health insurance coverage. Searching online will also give you the opportunity to compare different companies and different plans. Just be sure to research each of the policies carefully to understand your maximum pay-out as well as deductibles, coverage, and other terms of the agreement.