Skip to Main Content
Q&A: Short Term Health Insurance FAQs
Shop Now

Short Term Health Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Who Buys Short Term Health Insurance? Is It Right for Me?

Short Term insurance is also called Temporary health insurance or Term health insurance. It is designed to bridge temporary gaps in medical insurance coverage. That means it can be a good solution for a wide variety of people with all sorts of different needs, including those…

  • Who missed Open Enrollment and don’t have a qualifying event for Special Enrollment
  • Coming off their parent’s insurance
  • Losing coverage following a divorce
  • In between jobs or in need of a temporary alternative to COBRA insurance
  • Waiting for Medicare
  • Waiting for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage to begin
  • Waiting for benefits to begin at a new job
  • Healthy and under 65

These are just some of the situations where Temporary insurance fits for people. If you’re facing a change in your life that leaves you with a gap in your health insurance coverage, then taking a look at Short Term medical insurance plans may help you take a long step toward finding the best health insurance for your current needs.

Can I Get Covered Fast?

Yes. You can get a quote in seconds. Complete an application in a few minutes. If you qualify, you can be insured as early as the next day with some carriers.

Can I Apply for Short Term Insurance Right Now?

Yes. You don’t have to wait for a special Open Enrollment period to apply for Short Term health insurance. You can apply at any time.

I’m Looking for Cheap Health Insurance. Is Short Term Health Insurance the Answer?

That depends on what you mean by cheap health insurance. Short Term health insurance, what others might call Temporary health insurance or Term health insurance, is generally less expensive than a health plan that is in line with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That’s true.

However, it is less expensive for a reason. Short Term medical insurance isn’t required to cover the essential health benefits that ACA plans have to by law. So what’s covered by any given Short Term insurance plan can vary. Check the plan details carefully to make sure what you’re buying covers what you need.

Also, because Short Term medical insurance does not provide the coverage required by the ACA, you could face a tax penalty. You’ll want to figure that into your costs as well.

The ACA’s 10 Essential Health Benefits

The ACA, what is often referred to as Obamacare, requires coverage in all these areas:

  1. Doctor visits for illness and injury and other outpatient care (ambulatory services)
  2. Emergency services
  3. Hospitalization
  4. Maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services
  6. Prescription drug coverage
  7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (for example, relearning to walk after a stroke)
  8. Laboratory tests and services
  9. Preventive and wellness care
  10. Pediatric services (including both oral care and vision care)

Short Term health insurance does not meet this minimum essential coverage standard outlined in the ACA and may not provide mandated coverage for Essential Health Benefits.

Affordable Health Insurance is a Real Concern for Me. Are There Ways to Save Money on Short Term Insurance?

Absolutely. Many Short Term medical plans offer ways to shave dollars off your premium, the money you pay an insurance company, usually monthly, to have your health care plan. Consider one of these options if you want to save even more money on Temporary health insurance.

  • A plan with fewer benefits. Your needs are unique. You may not need all the benefits that another person or family needs. That’s why we present a variety of different Short Term health insurance plans from multiple national carriers. Compare plans with different benefits and different prices. Don’t need prescription drug coverage right now? Select a cheaper plan without it. A few minutes of matching health plans to your needs can add up to savings for you.
  • A lump sum premium payment. Some carriers will lower your overall premium cost if you’re willing to pay up front the total premium for the time you want to be covered.
  • A higher deductible. Before the insurance company pays for anything, you have to pay a portion of your plan’s covered expenses. This is called your deductible. If you choose to pay more before insurance starts paying, that is, if you select a higher deductible for your Short Term insurance plan, you can often reduce what you pay in premium.
  • A per cause deductible. Per cause means you pay a separate deductible for each illness or injury, as opposed to one deductible for the whole period of time you are covered. By making this choice on plans where it's available, you take on more responsibility and can reduce your premium payment. This might be a good option for you if you generally stay healthy and are just looking for coverage in the event of something unexpected.

Also remember that staying with doctors and health care providers that are within your chosen Short Term medical plan’s network may lead to savings as well.

I Have to Have Health Insurance or Face Tax Penalties. Can Short Term Insurance Help With That?

No. Short Term health plans are not minimum essential coverage as defined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called Obamacare. If you don't have minimum essential coverage for any month in 2018, you may have to make a payment when you file your federal tax return unless you qualify for an exemption from the requirement that you have health coverage for that month. For 2019, the federal tax payment for not having minimum essential coverage is no longer applicable. If you are looking at Short Term plans for 2018, take into account that potential tax penalty costs.

Short Term and the ACA

Short Term is not required to comply with certain federal market requirements for health insurance, principally those contained in the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check your policy carefully to make sure you are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of preexisting conditions or health benefits (such as hospitalization, emergency services, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services). Your policy might also have lifetime and/or annual dollar limits on health benefits. If this coverage expires or you lose eligibility for this coverage, you might have to wait until an open enrollment period to get other health insurance coverage. This coverage is not “minimum essential coverage.”

I Hear the Government Helps Make Affordable Health Insurance. Can I Get Federal Help for Short Term Insurance?

No. You are not eligible for tax subsidies to help pay for Short Term health insurance plans. The plans are not minimum essential coverage as defined by the ACA, and do not qualify for the same subsidies that apply to ACA health plans. However, generally, Short Term health plans cost less than ACA health plans, so you may save money even without the subsidies.

Does Temporary Health Insurance Cover Preexisting Conditions?

No. Short Term health insurance plans typically do not cover preexisting medical conditions. How each state defines preexisting conditions varies, but, generally speaking, Short Term health insurance policies exclude coverage for conditions you have been diagnosed with or treated for within the last 2 to 5 years. Short Term insurance is medically underwritten insurance, which means you have to answer a series of medical questions and get approved by the insurance company to get the coverage. ACA plans, in contrast, are guaranteed issue, meaning you can’t be denied coverage based on your preexisting conditions.

If you have an existing medical condition and you are still covered under your current coverage, find out if you can extend your medical insurance. For example, employer-based insurance may be extended under COBRA (or a similar state program).

Can Short Term Health Insurance Cover My Family?

Yes, spouses and dependents can be covered. However, everyone you want to cover is subject to a series of medical questions to determine if they are eligible for the Short Term health insurance plan.

How Long Can I Be Covered?

It varies by state, but the new federal Final Rule for Short Term Limited Duration Insurance allows terms of less than 12 months (364 days). You'll have to check what terms are available in your state.

Is My Short Term Plan Renewable Once the Term Is Up?

According to the new federal rule a maximum duration of 36 months of renewable coverage is allowed for Short Term limited-duration insurance.

However, many Short Term health insurance plans are not renewable. Once your term is up, you would have to apply for a new Short Term plan to get covered again.



Important: If you reapply, you are applying for a brand new Short Term insurance plan, not an extension of your current plan. So, if you were diagnosed with an illness or medical condition while you were covered under your current plan, that would now be considered a preexisting condition for the new plan.

Can I Keep My Doctor?

Generally speaking, yes. Most Short Term health insurance plans will not penalize you for using the doctor of your choice, even if that doctor is outside of their plan’s network. However, some plans will pay only if you use a network provider. It might make more sense for you to choose a plan with a network that includes your doctor. Staying in-network can save you money because in-network doctors and health care providers have generally agreed to charge lower fees to those who are a part of that network.

Can I Get Preventive Care Coverage?

If included at all, preventive care coverage is usually limited in Short Term health insurance plans. Check specific plans for more information.

Can I Get Prescription Coverage?

Prescription coverage is available with some Short Term medical insurance plans. Check specific plans for more details.

Do I Have to Have a Primary Care Provider or Get Referrals When I Want to See a Specialist?

No. Some health care plans require you to designate a primary care provider or primary care physician (PCP) as your main health care professional. Under those plans, your PCP must then officially refer you to another doctor or for a specific service if you want that visit or service to be covered.

You don’t have to deal with those types of pre-approvals and network issues when you have a Short Term health insurance plan. Generally speaking, you can go directly to any doctor, specialist or health care service without needing a referral. As always, check the specific plan for more details.

Don’t forget, though, that if you do stay in your Short Term insurance plan’s network for your care, you can often save money because of the lower rates doctors and providers in the network have agreed to charge.

I Want to Apply. Will I Have to Pay an Application Fee?

Possibly. GetHealthInsurance is a multicarrier agency, so we offer Short Term health insurance plans from several carriers. Some carriers do charge application fees, so check the specific plan for details on whether applying for that carrier’s Short Term insurance plan includes a fee, and factor that into your decision.

Ask about a Refund of Premium

Some carriers offer an option where you can be refunded the unused premium on your Temporary health insurance plan should you find a more long term health insurance solution before the end of your plan’s term. This option is another great way to potentially save money. You have the freedom to get covered with a Short Term medical insurance plan during your time of transition and still get money back if you find a more permanent health care plan sooner than you expected.


Questions about affordable health insurance?
Call us today.

1-866-370-8160



Fast, free quotes on Short Term insurance plans that fit your lifestyle and budget!

Shop Plans


GHISTFAQADDR4

Navigate Back to Top