Individual and Family

Buying Cheap Short Term Health Insurance

Updated on December 07, 2019


You may know all about the benefits of short-term health insurance—affordability, quick approval and coverage, and flexibility outside of open enrollment. If you’ve decided that buying a short-term health insurance plan is the right option for you, keep reading to learn more about what this type of coverage has to offer, and how to save money by purchasing cheap short-term health insurance.

Buying cheap short term health insurance plans

At eHealth’s online short term health insurance marketplace, consumers can compare hundreds of temporary plans from dozens of quality carriers. Typically, these insurers can offer instant approvals and rapid policy activation. This affordable short-term coverage may last from 30 days to three months.

Because insurers only have to guarantee short-term coverage and don’t have to offer all of the mandated benefits of Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, many people find these policies affordable. A temporary medical plan might provide the perfect solution for people who need a way to protect themselves and demonstrate they have insurance for a few weeks or months.

What to know about cheap short term health insurance

Consider these important facts about short term medical insurance:

  • Short term coverage will not satisfy Obamacare requirements for medical coverage. Qualifying plans that can help people avoid the ACA individual mandate penalty* include permanent major medical insurance purchased from the Marketplace; qualified, permanent plans from outside the Marketplace; Medicare; and group medical plans from employers.
  • People who have coverage gaps of two months or less or who qualify for other ACA exemptions may not have to pay the tax penalty for lacking qualified coverage anyway. Qualifications for these exemptions include specific life events or financial hardships. These situations may also make temporary policies a prudent choice to help with any medical bills that arise.
  • Short term plans can help pay medical bills and ensure access to plan doctors. In some cases, it might also serve as proof of coverage for school enrollments, work activities, and events. Individuals and families may benefit by having a way to quickly buy short term coverage when they have a gap in qualified medical insurance.

Who buys cheap short term health insurance?

To help people decide if this type of insurance will provide them with the coverage that they need, it might help to look at some reasons that people buy temporary plans. An eHealth report on the increasing demand for cheap short term health insurance uncovered some interesting trends:

  • Applications for short term coverage accounted for 57 percent of the total for all health insurance taken by eHealth in 2017.
  • The 2017 figures showed an increase in the number of applications for short-term coverage by almost 10 percent over 2016.
  • Just over one quarter of consumers who purchased short term coverage said they had missed Open Enrollment for the federal Marketplace.
  • Other reasons for purchasing this type of coverage included having short-term coverage gaps and not qualifying for Obamacare subsidies.
  • Just about thirty percent of people who purchased temporary medical plans reported using their coverage, most commonly for a doctor’s visit because of an illness.

How to compare medical plans

Visit eHealth to compare a variety of health plans that top insurers offer. The online health insurance quote system makes it fast and simple to compare Marketplace plans, short-term plans, group health benefits, and many other options. People who need permanent insurance or to fill in a short gap can find the best product for themselves, their families, or even their small businesses.

* This article is for general information and may not be updated after publication. Consult your own tax, accounting, or legal advisor instead of relying on this article as tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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