A Guide to the different Types of Short Term Health Insurance Plans

Becoming seriously ill or being involved in an accident is something that can happen to anyone and an already stressful time can be made worse by the financial burden put on those it affects. For this reason health insurance is something that everyone should consider having. While it is additional money that requires to be found each month to pay the premiums, this is a lot easier than having to find the money to deal with large medical bills should an emergency happen. Many people access health insurance through their employment and it is also possible to purchase a personal insurance plan.

Having permanent insurance in place can give a little peace of mind, although there are times when this may lapse. This can occur in situations such as when people change jobs, become unemployed or leave college to start working and in these cases there are short term health insurance plans that can be used to cover any gaps and provide a little time to consider options. Some of the types of short term health insurance plans availble include the following.

COBRA Continuation Health Coverage

Becoming unemployed can be a stressful time and this can be exacerbated by the loss of health insurance benefits for those that were insured through an employer. When there is a gap between ending or losing a job and starting a new one, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a short term measure to consider for health insurance. This is a federal program which came into law in the 1980’s and provides a former employee with temporary continuation of employer health insurance for a period of up to 18 months. It covers those that voluntarily or involuntarily have employment terminated for any reason other than gross misconduct. This enables an existing health insurance plan to be continued and means that trying to find alternative insurance straight away is not required. However it will typically be more expensive, as the employer is not required to pay any of the cost and the person using COBRA to extend an existing plan will need to pay the entire monthly premium themselves. Nevertheless, it can be a short term solution that can be used to provide a little leeway until a more permanent solution is found.

Temporary Health Insurance Policy

Many insurance companies offer temporary personal health insurance policies which can typically cover a period of 1 to 6 months, although in some cases they can be extended for a further period of time when required. These are commonly used as a means of filling a gap in permanent health care and are typically used by those moving from one life event to another. They usually feature lower premiums but there are a few things to note about them. Typically they do not cover pre-existing health conditions and this generally includes an ailment or conditions sufferer in the 36 months prior to applications. In many cases they may require prior approval before treatment, except in the case of an emergency. They may also act like a major medical plan which does not cover routine medical bills but does cover for catastrophic events. There are various plans available and the best way to find a suitable temporary health insurance plan in terms of cost and coverage is to shop around a few insurers.

For those that need to fill a short term gap there are a number of insurance companies that offer temporary health insurance with some of these including Assurant Health, CIGNA and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Coverage can usually be approved quickly and in many cases can start the day after application.

Short Term Travel Health Insurance

For those that travel a lot, especially to overseas destinations, short term travel health insurance is an option to consider. This type of policy is typically aimed at those that go on short trips abroad and need to be covered in case of a medical emergency while traveling. They can typically be purchased for as little as 5 days or up to 12 months. This means it is possible to purchase insurance for a single trip, or for those that more regularly travel abroad insurance can be purchased for a longer period. Some of the companies that provide this type of short term health insurance include eGlobal Health Insurers and Travelers Med, to name a couple.

There are a few situations where short term health insurance can be a useful product to purchase. Whether in the midst of a life changing transition which results in permanent health insurance ceasing or traveling overseas for business or pleasure, short term health insurance can provide some peace of mind that the cost of medical expenses will not add to the problems should a serious accident or illness occur.

Resources – US Department of Labor, Insurance.com