What is Short Term Health Insurance?


Short-term health insurance can provide you with temporary medical coverage in certain situations. Many of the features of these health insurance plans are very different from those of traditional health plans. What is short term health insurance? Is it suitable for you?

What is Short Term Health Insurance?

Short-term health insurance is a type of health plan that provides you with temporary medical coverage when you need emergency coverage during the period between health plans and outside of enrollment periods. But to get the most out of your short-term health plan, you need to understand how it works, how much it costs, and what it covers.

What does short-term health insurance cover?

Short term health insurance coverage varies considerably depending on the plan and the insurance company that offers it. These types of plans do not necessarily follow the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA plans must offer certain levels of coverage, called “minimum essential coverage.” Short-term health plans should not meet the same standards.

Short-term health insurance generally offers coverage for: preventive care, doctor visits, and emergency care. You may also have coverage for recipes . Some plans also offer cost savings for seeing providers in the network. Be sure to read the information on “exclusions and limitations” before purchasing any plan. There you can see what is covered or not by a certain plan.

How much does short-term health insurance cost?

If you are considering purchasing temporary health insurance, the initial costs generally include the following:

  • First: It is the monthly fee you pay for coverage. The premium varies depending on the level of coverage you choose, including deductible and coinsurance, and the types of services covered.
  • Deductible: Deductibles for short-term health plans may be considerably higher than other more traditional health plans. You must pay for the services until you meet the deductible. Then the plan begins to share the costs.
  • Coinsurance: This is the percentage of costs you share with the plan after meeting the deductible. It is often shown as a percentage. Most short-term plans have a deductible and coinsurance.
  • Copay: This is a fee that you may have to pay when you see a doctor; it is generally paid at the time of the consultation. Some short-term plans require you to pay a copayment for certain medical visits.
  • Other out-of-pocket costs: If the short-term plan does not cover certain health care services, you may have to pay all of the costs. For example, some short-term plans may not cover or limit coverage for maternity care, mental health or substance use services, dental or vision care – these are costs you must pay for the services you receive. .

Other costs may apply depending on what type of coverage you buy. Carefully read all the information in the plan before making a decision to be informed about what your plan really can cost you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of short-term health insurance?

If you don’t know if a short-term health insurance plan is right for you, here are some advantages and disadvantages:


  • It is intended for when you need to cover short-term coverage gaps.
  • You can cancel coverage whenever you want without penalties.
  • Generally, you can choose a plan that covers you for up to a year, if you need it.
  • There are many different plan designs, depending on the insurance company.


  • Deductibles are considerably higher than traditional health plans, and there may be other unforeseen costs.
  • It does not offer coverage for pre-existing conditions, and coverage for most services is limited.
  • You may need to answer a medical questionnaire to receive approval for coverage.
  • Coverage is not mandatory or standardized, so plans vary considerably in services and costs covered with very little government oversight.

Short-term health plans are not suitable for everyone. If you want to get comprehensive coverage and benefits, enroll in a traditional health plan. The traditional health plan is a plan offered by your employer or one you buy on your own through a private insurance company or in the Health Insurance Market.

Short-term vs. health plans ACA health plans

Short-term plans were created to cover temporary coverage gaps that can occur in certain situations. These types of plans are generally not a good replacement for traditional health plans. They do not need to meet ACA standards. They offer limited benefits with generally much higher costs.

On the other hand, ACA health plans must offer certain types of coverage required by the government. They must provide coverage for benefits associated with mental health and substance use, 100% coverage for essential health benefits such as maternity and preventive care, and more. Before deciding to buy a short-term health plan, make sure you fully understand what types of care and services are covered and which are not. Please read the information on exclusions and limitations carefully.

Do short-term health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions?

Short-term health plans are not included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so they do not necessarily have to meet these standards. This means that a temporary or short-term health plan will not cover pre-existing conditions. You may be denied coverage for a medical problem that has already been treated.

Is it a good idea to buy short term health insurance?

Short-term health insurance may not be ideal in the long term. But there are some situations where you may need temporary coverage, and a short-term health plan can provide it:

  • You missed Open Enrollment for a traditional health plan.
  • You lost or quit your job.
  • You turned 26 and lost coverage from your parents’ health plan.

Is it a good idea to take out short-term health insurance? As a first step, try to anticipate your next health needs. Will care costs be lower with a short-term plan than without a plan? Find out about the plans that are available to you. The duration, types of benefits, and even costs can vary widely among the insurance companies that offer these plans. Plans may also vary by state where you live due to state regulations.

How to buy a short-term health insurance plan?

Private insurance companies sell short-term health plans. Not all companies offer this type of plan. These plans are not available in the Health Insurance Marketplace and do not meet the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To buy a short-term health plan, you can look for a private insurance company that offers them. Be sure to read all the details before purchasing or signing up. These plans may vary considerably in cost and coverage.


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