What Is Short-Term Health Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

What Is Short-Term Health Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

Everyone goes through a transitional phase at least once in their life. Whether you’re in between jobs or waiting for your new health coverage to go into effect, you can have your medical needs taken care of in the meantime with short-term health insurance. 

These plans are fairly easy to obtain, go into effect right away, and are often much more affordable than your standard health insurance plan. However, there are certain limits and restrictions to this kind of insurance plan, since they are designed to cover emergency situations and are not a long-term solution. 

Short-term insurance is a great option for those who unexpectedly lose access to reliable healthcare. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you need health coverage for a brief period and don’t want to break the bank, a temporary health insurance plan could help meet your needs.

What Is Temporary Health Insurance? 

Temporary health insurance is often used in emergency situations. However, it’s essential that you do the proper research and understand exactly what you’re getting into in order to make sure short-term health insurance is right for you.

There are many differences between temporary health insurance plans and traditional ones. Here’s everything you need to know. 

What Does Temporary Health Insurance Cover? 

Short-term health coverage options differ from company to company, and the plan you select will dictate which medical events you can receive coverage for. It’s also important to note that temporary plans are not held to the same standard as traditional health insurance plans. The Affordable Care Act does not place any minimum coverage requirements on them.

Situations that may be covered under a temporary health insurance plan: 

  • Urgent care. A person needs to visit an urgent care center when their condition requires immediate treatment (24 hours or sooner) but is not life-threatening if treatment is administered in a timely manner. Examples might include respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, pink eye, infected cuts, and more.
  • Emergency (ER) visits. A visit to an ER or a ride in an ambulance due to a life-threatening situation — for instance, broken bones or severe abdominal pain — may be covered under a short-term health insurance plan as well. Depending on your coverage, the emergency treatments you receive may be taken care of under your health plan.
  • Preventative care. Preventative care such as health screenings, check-ups with your primary care physician, and patient counseling can be covered under your plan as well. Any treatment that helps combat future diseases and other health issues falls under the category of preventative care.
  • Prescriptions. In some cases, prescriptions may also be covered under your plan, although it depends on the company you’re insured under. If this is a coverage you wish to have, you’ll need to verify it ahead of time. 

Overall, short-term health insurance plans are designed to cover the unexpected. While many have other offerings as well, there is no legal requirement for them to do so. 

Short-term health insurance plans typically do not pay for maternity care or treatment for any pre-existing health conditions. They are only meant to be a temporary coverage solution.

When Should You Opt for Short-Term Coverage? 

There are a few situations where it could be a good idea to look into short-term health insurance. While it might not cover every single thing you’re hoping for, it will help protect you in urgent situations — and save you some money on out-of-pocket costs as well. 

Here are some circumstances where temporary health insurance might be a good fit. 

  • You’ve been laid off from your job. If you’re let go from a job with an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, short-term coverage will help you out while you search for a new position. Even after you land a new job, you’ll benefit from the short-term plan because employers often have a waiting period before new coverage goes into effect.
  • You’re no longer on your parents’ plan. You’re allowed to remain on your parent’s health plan until you’re 26 years old. If you’re about to turn 26, you may want to look into temporary coverage until you’re able to get a plan of your own.
  • You missed the application deadline. Every health insurance company has an open enrollment period. This happens once per year, and it only lasts for about one month. If you don’t enroll during the allotted time slot, you’ll have to wait another year before you can purchase coverage. 
  • You’re going on vacation. Many health plans don’t offer coverage outside of the insured’s home state. For those that offer limited out-of-state coverage, it is usually emergency-only, and things like preventative care or prescriptions will not be covered. And if you’re traveling outside the country, you likely won’t have coverage at all. 

If you fall under any of these categories, you’ll want to look into temporary health insurance plans so you can be protected. Going without health coverage can be dangerous and costly if the unexpected happens. 

Is Temporary Health Insurance Expensive? 

It depends on the company and plan you select. Above all, you’ll want to make sure you fully understand what you’re signing up for before you agree to pay for anything. 

Here are some costs you’ll generally have to keep in mind with any short-term health plan.

Your Insurance Premium 

An insurance premium is the amount you pay per month (or per policy term if you decide to pay it all up front) for your health plan. The amount you pay for a short-term health insurance premium depends on what you want covered, the deductible limit you select, and many other factors. 

If you’re concerned about a high premium, one option is to pay a higher deductible (more on this below). A person opting to pay a $1,500 deductible will likely pay less per month than someone who opts for a $500 deductible.

Your Deductible

While the premium is what you pay before you receive any medical care, the deductible is what you pay once you’ve visited your doctor or the hospital and before your insurance kicks in. For instance, you may have a $1000 deductible, which means you’ll have to pay $1000 out of pocket before your insurance begins to cover any services.

Deductibles on short-term health plans are often much more expensive than a standard health insurance deductible. Be prepared to pay a decent amount out-of-pocket for emergency cases.

Doctor’s Visit Fee

Also known as a copay, this is the fee you often have to pay when you go visit your primary care physician for a check-up. Copays might not be required for every single visit, but they should be an expense that you budget for just in case. 

Coinsurance Costs

Coinsurance is the percentage of your medical costs left for you to pay after you reach your deductible. Coinsurance is very common with short-term health insurance, with plans often requiring you to pay 20% of the costs of your medical services. 

Before you sign up for any short-term health plan, then, make sure you’re prepared to pay a hefty deductible and coinsurance costs.

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Events Not Covered 

Even with all of the above costs, you’ll have to cover certain costs on your own with short-term health insurance. Maternity care, treatment for pre-existing conditions, vision care, and dental treatments are not covered under short-term plans. You’ll have to cover 100% of those costs on your own. 

Remember that these plans are only meant to cover urgent needs. If a dental issue becomes a life-threatening emergency, it would then qualify for coverage under your short-term plan. 

The Good and Bad of Short-Term Plans

Short-term health insurance has both positive and negative aspects. When deciding what’s right for you, you’ll want to weigh both sides. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to temporary health plans. 

The Negatives of Temporary Health Insurance 

There are a few downsides to short-term health plans. First, they are not accountable under the Affordable Care Act. There are no regulations surrounding what services they need to cover, and the government isn’t monitoring them very closely, so coverage is often quite restrictive. 

You’ll also have to pay much more for your deductible than with a traditional health plan, and many health services are not covered even once you’ve reached your deductible.

There are also certain companies that require applicants to take an assessment or fill out a questionnaire prior to approval. If you’re unable to complete the questionnaire, you won’t be able to qualify for short-term health coverage with that particular company. Don’t allow this to discourage you, as there are many companies that don’t have this requirement. 

The Positives of Temporary Health Insurance 

Temporary plans are good for people who need coverage while in between jobs, when reaching a certain age, or after missing open enrollment. When you’re in a pinch, you can get the essentials covered at an affordable cost — usually for up to a year if necessary.

Short-term plans also offer flexibility. With traditional health plans, you’ll likely have to pay some sort of fee for early termination. With short-term plans, though, you can cancel as soon as you get your new job or find a suitable health plan elsewhere.

Health Insurance With Insured Nomads

If you’re looking for a temporary health insurance plan, Insured Nomads can help you with that. We offer Global Health Insurance options for people who need emergency coverage while traveling — but that plan can also extend to those who are suffering from a lapse in coverage for whatever reason. If you move around often, this is a great option for you.

Our global health plans also offer much more than the standard short-term health plan. We cover pre-existing conditions, and we have lower deductible options.

Here are some perks you’ll get when you opt to purchase coverage through Insured Nomads: 

  • Inpatient care. Inpatient care refers to the care of a patient who has to be admitted into the hospital for at least one night. Some examples of inpatient care include childbirth and different types of rehab. 
  • Outpatient care. Outpatient care refers to the care of a patient that does not need to be admitted to the hospital. Outpatients can be diagnosed, treated, and discharged all within the same day. Examples include minor ER visits and consultations with your primary care physician or office visits to a specialist.
  • Mental health counseling. If you find yourself in need of mental health services, you can request those at any time while receiving either inpatient or outpatient care. 
  • Additional assistance. Additional types of medical assistance are also covered under your Global Health Insurance plan, such as necessary vaccinations, ambulance transportation, preventative screenings, maternity care, prescriptions, and more. 

For travelers looking for emergency insurance options that are short-term, we also offer quality coverage through our travel insurance plans.

Is Temporary Health Insurance Right for You? 

Depending on your situation, short-term health insurance could be a great option. It’s designed to be a short-term fix, which is why it’s usually quite limited in its offerings.

Ultimately, if you’re without coverage and you need medical care, a temporary health plan can easily protect you while you figure out your next move. It’s risky to go without medical insurance, so it is better to have some type of coverage than none at all. 

Insured Nomads offers health coverage that will protect you better than your average short-term health plan — and at affordable rates as well. Get a free quote today

About Insured Nomads   

Insured Nomads is the first to take an integrated traveltech, fintech and insurtech solution to the world for remote workers, globally distributed teams, expats, and travelers. Their purpose is to make travel as safe and smart as staying at home. They do this by providing health insurance with exceptional medical benefits in tandem with wellbeing, safety, security, and advanced tech-enabled solutions for ease of payment for healthcare, emergency response and evacuation. Insured Nomads is available through affinity relationships, direct, embedded and through select brokers and partners for groups and individuals. 

Information on integration, collaboration and partnership contact Brett Estep: brett@insurednomads.com



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  • Insured Nomads

    Insured Nomads provides global health and safety protection for the remote worker, traveller & expat. Insurance paired with advanced tech-enabled features and solutions for health, safety, security, well-being and support.

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