Temporary health insurance or short term health insurance is designed for healthy individuals and families in transition. It provides a safety net and peace of mind for someone who is no longer covered by their main health insurance policy for whatever reason. There are numerous temporary policies to choose from and the benefits will vary depending on the individual coverage required. As the names implies, this is merely a short term stop-gap until you decide to apply for a full policy.
Some plans can provide coverage for just one day, although the majority of policies allocate health cover for a period on one to six months. Some companies will offer a plan that lasts up to 12 months. Once the plan has ended, it can be renewed for up to a maximum of a further 36 months. The application process is extremely simple in comparison to a full policy and you can expect to be covered by the following day.
The most important consideration for you before applying for a temporary plan is whether you have any pre-existing conditions, as these will not be covered by a short term policy. A pre-existing condition is typically defined as serious health condition that you have suffered from in the previous 3-5 years. This definition and time frame may vary from state to state, so it is advisable that you check whether your own individual circumstances are covered. It is of the utmost importance that you answer your health questionnaire as honestly as possible. If you choose not to, you may be denied treatment of a pre-existing medical condition should you fail to disclose this.
There are many people who may require temporary health insurance. The following is not an exhaustive list, but includes the main beneficiaries of this type of policy:
Recent College Graduates – Most students will usually be covered under their parent’s policy, an in-house college or university policy or their own student health insurance plan. However, once a student has graduated, there is often a gap until suitable employment is found and this could leave the individual without any form of health cover.
New Employees – You will often find that when you start a new job, there may be a qualifying period before you are covered under the companies’ Group Health Insurance scheme. Therefore a temporary form of cover is ideal. A short term policy will fill the gap and help you avoid a lapse in coverage.
No Longer Dependent – Should you no longer be enrolled as a full-time student and are not working, you may reach an age whereby your parent’s policy no longer provides health cover. A temporary policy can help you to stay insured while you seek suitable employment.
Those Waiting To Qualify For A Standard Policy – Should you be applying for a Standard Health Insurance Policy, you may find that the process can be fairly long and drawn out. Unfortunately this may leave you uninsured for a short period of time whilst you await approval. A temporary health insurance plan is perfect in these circumstances.
Employees On Strike, Early Retirees Or Discharged From Military Services – A temporary policy would cover an individual faced by any of these circumstances. If you are on strike, it is likely your company’s insurance may be temporarily discontinued. Your Military Health Insurance will no longer be applicable once discharged. For early retirees, you should have some form of cover in place until you qualify for Medicare.
A temporary health insurance policy allows you the freedom to choose any doctor or physician for treatment and you are not tied to a specific network of medical providers. Although you must ask your insurer for pre-certification prior to being hospitalized to ensure that your bills are reimbursed. Your policy will cover emergency services, hospital care, diagnostic tests and prescription drugs. It will also cover follow-up visits when required.
Unfortunately, this type of policy does not provide dental or visual coverage, although some insurers may be willing to include this for an additional premium. These plans do not cover pregnancy and childbirth either. As mentioned, Temporary Health Insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions and should you develop a serious medical condition once your coverage has started, this may affect you qualifying for a standard policy in the future.