Temporary (Short-term) Health Insurance FAQ
There are a variety of reasons that you may find yourself in the market for temporary or short-term health insurance. You may have graduated from college and can no longer be covered on your parent's policy, but don't have a job yet that will provide coverage.
You may have lost or left your job and now need health insurance coverage until you find a new one. Or you may have started a new job and have to wait a period of several months before you are covered under their plan. Whatever the reason, going without health insurance coverage, even for a few months, can be a costly gamble. If you find yourself in this predicament, temporary health insurance coverage may just be the key to solving your dilemma.
What Is Temporary Health Insurance Coverage?
It's basically just what the name suggests. Temporary health insurance coverage offers you the opportunity to continue to be covered under a health plan for a limited amount of time, usually one to six months, although there are plans out there that will cover longer periods of time. If you find you will need to be covered for more time than you originally thought, some temporary policies can be extended past their expiration date, but you may want to consider getting a more traditional health insurance plan instead.
What Do Temporary Health Plans Cover?
Temporary health insurance plans cover most of the same types of medical occurrences that permanent policies do, but there are some very important differences.
For one, these plans are usually strictly indemnity plans. Preventative treatments like check-ups, as well as dental and optical coverage are generally not covered. Pre-existing medical conditions and work-related injuries or illnesses are also not covered.
Your temporary health insurance policy will generally cover any emergency medical care you may need, prescription drugs, hospital and intensive care needs, lab and x-ray needs, ambulance care, and even some in-home medical care.
How Do You Get Temporary Health Insurance?
Your first step should be to find an agent that specializes in temporary health insurance. Decide in advance how many days or months you need the coverage and when you want it to start. Pay attention to the 'exclusion' clauses in the policy and ask questions about any concerns you may have. Review the application and make sure all your personal information is correct before you sign anything. Also, remember to get a copy of all paperwork for your files.
The cost of the temporary health insurance plan will depend on the type of coverage you pick. To keep the cost down, you can choose to have a higher deductible with a 50/50 co-insurance option rather than the more common 80/20 ratios. There are some extras that you may want to consider, though. With the high cost of prescription medicines, you may be better off buying the coverage rather than leaving it off.
The important thing is to read through the temporary health insurance policy carefully and make sure you are being offered the coverage you think you are paying for.