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Short-Term Guides

Short-term health insurance plans offer temporary, limited health benefits at a very low price.

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Most Popular Questions About Short-Term

Q: Is There Short-Term Insurance That Covers Pre-Existing Conditions?

It’s unlikely that you’ll find short-term insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. Generally, your individual claims will be denied if they resulted from a pre-existing medical condition. Short-term insurers can even outright decline to insure you due to your medical history or current health status.

Many Conditions Are Excluded from Short-Term Insurance Coverage

Some pre-existing conditions are chronic conditions, including:

  • Arthritis,
  • Asthma,
  • Cancer,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
  • Congestive heart failure,
  • Diabetes,
  • High cholesterol, and
  • High blood pressure.

The length of time that short-term policies “look back” on pre-existing conditions varies by state, ranging from the previous six months to five years. If you’d like to purchase another short-term policy after the first policy expires, your new plan may not cover conditions that developed during the term of your first policy.

You’ll be able to ask your insurance company what is covered before buying a plan.

Short Term Plans Cover Limited Benefits

  • Ongoing Health Problems Are Not Covered:  Since short-term health policies are designed to take care of immediate health needs, they are unsuitable for long-term maintenance of health issues. Short-term plans rarely cover medical devices, dental care, or vision care. Prescription costs are typically the planholder’s responsibility outside of a hospital setting as well.
  • You Will Get Emergency Care: Peace of mind from unexpected medical costs is a major benefit of short-term coverage. If you’re seriously ill or injured, short term insurance will cover the costs of your hospital visit. Short-term policies also cover follow-up care for acute medical issues until your coverage ends.
  • You Can See A Primary Care Doctor: Nearly all doctors accept short term insurance. You will receive a welcome letter, insurance card, and other familiar benefits when you enroll. Although you have to pay for care on your own before hitting your deductible, the costs for a visit once you do reach your deductible are generally low. Some plans also include a checkup, free of charge.
  • You Can See a Specialist: Specialized doctors (such as a dermatologist, orthopedist, or neurologist) are frequently covered by short term plans. Medical imaging (like x-rays) and mental health care are also common short-term benefits.  Short term plans often bundle in additional benefits such as life insurance or prescription drug discounts as well.

Taking the Next Steps

It only takes a few minutes to get a quote for a temporary health insurance plan. It’s a good idea to learn if you’re eligible by applying for coverage. If temporary health insurance doesn’t work for you, there are several other Obamacare alternatives you can turn to.

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Q: Are ACA Essential Health Benefits Covered Under Short-Term Health Insurance?

Short-term health insurance is different from other types of coverage. These plans are designed to keep you protected from medical or financial catastrophe in case of an emergency. Short-term insurance isn’t a reliable way to maintain your health for long periods of time.

While traditional health insurance plans must help you pay for the 10 ACA essential health benefits, short-term plans don’t cover these benefits very well. In fact, short-term health insurance plans are under no obligation to offer any specific benefits.

Short-term health insurance can safely get you through a variety of temporary situations. However, short-term plans aren’t designed to compete with major medical health insurance (popularly known as Obamacare) when it comes to taking care of your ongoing medical issues.

For instance, short-term plans will almost certainly cover hospitalization bills, yet almost certainly exclude maternity coverage. Most short term plans will offer you at least one doctor’s checkup at a low cost over the course of your plan, but they won’t cover treatment for management of a pre-existing condition.

Ongoing Health Problems Are Not Covered: Since short-term health policies are designed to take care of immediate health needs, they are unsuitable for long-term maintenance of health issues. Short-term plans rarely cover medical devices, dental care, or vision care. Prescription costs are typically the planholder’s responsibility outside of a hospital setting as well.

You Will Get Emergency Care: Peace of mind from unexpected medical costs is a major benefit of short-term coverage. If you’re seriously ill or injured, short-term health insurance will cover the costs of your hospital visit. Short-term policies also cover follow-up care for acute medical issues until your coverage ends.

You Can See a Primary Care Doctor: Nearly all doctors accept short-term insurance. You will receive a welcome letter, insurance card, and other familiar benefits when you enroll. Although you have to pay for care on your own before hitting your deductible, the costs for a visit once you do reach your deductible are generally low. Some plans also include a checkup, free of charge.

You Can See a Specialist: Specialized doctors (such as a dermatologist, orthopedist, or neurologist) are frequently covered by short-term plans. Medical imaging (like x-rays) and mental health care are also common short-term benefits.  Short-term plans often bundle in additional benefits such as life insurance or prescription drug discounts.

If you’re considering a short-term health insurance plan, you probably understand that your coverage will be limited compared to what you’d get with a major medical plan. Different short-term plans will cover Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits in different, limited ways. Don’t expect your coverage to take care of your long-term needs.

If you compare plans before you buy, you’ll have a better idea of what’s covered. Short-term plans may look similar to other forms of health insurance, but they won’t operate in the same way when it comes time to pay. Since these plans don’t give you comprehensive health coverage, you’ll still pay a fee at tax time.

There are many unique situations where buying a short-term health plan makes sense. If you’re not able to buy a traditional plan until open enrollment, short-term insurance is a great option. Students, travelers, and new employees waiting for their coverage to begin have traditionally been safeguarded by short term health insurance as well.

Taking the Next Steps

It’s time to browse our collection of temporary health insurance plans. You can compare plans and enroll in your favorite one today. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive plan covering the ACA essential health benefits, we can help you find a major health insurance policy.

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  • Get an instant quote for health insurance plans
  • Compare prices from over 300 carriers
  • Find a plan that fits your budget
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Q: What Happens if My Short-Term Health Insurance Ends While I’m Hospitalized?

Your temporary (or “short-term”) health insurance coverage might continue if you’re hospitalized when your plan expires. To find out if it applies to your plan, you’ll want to look for the “continuation of coverage” or “extension of benefits” provision in your plan’s policy.

Finding Your Policy: To find out if your short-term plan allows you to stay covered if you’re in the hospital when it expires, look at your insurance contract (this contract is also known as your plan’s certificate of insurance).

You will receive the contract each time you sign up for or renew your coverage. Search the contract for “total disability”, “continuation of coverage” or “extension of benefits”.

Total Disability: You can’t be expected to perform work while you’re in the hospital. This means that you are considered “totally disabled” for insurance purposes at the time.

What the Provision Means: Since you’re totally disabled in the hospital, benefits that would have otherwise been paid by your short-term insurance plan might still be covered while you’re in the hospital. Coverage typically stops after you leave the hospital, or once a set period of time ends (whichever is sooner).

You will likely still lose coverage once you’re discharged from the hospital. However, a continuation of coverage clause might stop the plan from ending during the middle of your stay.

How to Get Coverage Once Your Short-Term Plan Expires: Your temporary health insurance won’t be renewed if you’re hospitalized when it expires. Even so, there may still be easy coverage available to you. In some states, total disability can qualify you for Medicaid. Qualified patients can apply for and enroll in Medicaid at any time, including from the hospital.

Additionally, if you are rejected from Medicaid, then you may be able to enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan. Normally these plans are only available during certain times of the year.

What Is Short-Term Health Insurance? Temporary health insurance plans have many differences from Obamacare and most other health insurance. You can join a temporary plan at any time. Plans last for a maximum of 90 days (but many insurance carriers allow you to re-apply every 90 days, depending on state regulations). These plans have low monthly costs, and in some cases, high deductibles. You will have to pay a tax penalty if you rely on them for health insurance for more than 90 days, as they don’t guarantee coverage for all of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits. If you’re not familiar with short-term health insurance, learn more to see if this limited plan type is right for you.

Get a Free Health Insurance Quote

  • Get an instant quote for health insurance plans
  • Compare prices from over 300 carriers
  • Find a plan that fits your budget
Please enter a valid US Zip Code

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