Short Term Medical
Major medical insurance isn’t always an option for some.
If you’ve missed the deadline for open enrollment, you lost your Obamacare or group health insurance coverage but do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, or you just can’t afford the premiums and deductibles that come with a major medical health insurance policy, then short term coverage might be a good alternative for you. As the name implies, short term medical (short term health insurance – abbreviated to STHPs for short-term health plans) is temporary medical coverage. These plans are ideal for people in transition, whether you’ve changed jobs and need something to fill the gap between employer-sponsored coverage, you’ve just graduated college or been dropped from your parents’ plan, or you’ve retired early but don’t qualify for Medicare yet.
Before 2016, Short Term Medical plans were seen as an annual product in some states, but that changed when new regulations were passed that prohibited any short term plan duration from exceeding past three-months. Luckily, starting on October 2, 2018, you will once again have the flexibility to apply for the Short Term Medical plan duration of your choosing, which can be as short as 30 days or as long as 364 days, so long as you live in a state that permits that duration.
Short Term Medical plans cover limited benefits and are not required to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions like an Obamacare plan. Unlike major medical policies, Short term health insurance plans include maximum lifetime payout limits and in some instances, you must meet a deductible before the insurer will pay its portion under the plan. In addition, short term plans require you to see in-network providers. If you go outside the network, the plan won’t cover your care unless it’s a true emergency. It’s important to review the doctor network of any medical plan, particularly if it’s important that you get to keep your current medical providers.
Despite some obvious drawbacks, short term health insurance makes sense for certain people. Premiums are much lower for Short Term Medical plans than for major medical policies, they cover a variety of benefits depending on the plan you choose, and they offer peace-of-mind if you don’t have major medical insurance but need some kind of protection in place.