How Immediate Is Short Term Health Insurance?

Individual and Family

How Immediate Is Short Term Health Insurance?

Updated on December 07, 2019


Do you need short term coverage immediately, in order to provide proof of insurance for special activities (not for federal tax purposes), or simply to have access to health care services? You may be surprised how soon short term health insurance can begin covering you once you’ve applied and qualified for a plan—keep reading to find out more about short term plans, and understand how immediate short term health insurance could help you when you’re facing a period without coverage.

Immediate short term health insurance

Short term coverage is different from major medical health insurance plans in many ways, but one way is the flexibility of this type of coverage.

Short term health insurance plans are pretty easy to apply for on, and approval for your application can be made almost immediately. After that, your coverage generally begins within a matter of days.

Why would I need immediate short term health insurance?

Short term plans do not offer as much coverage as major medical (Obamacare) plans, but there are plenty of circumstances in which this quick and easy coverage may be your best bet.
You may have lost health insurance if you:

  • Got a divorce, and were on your spouse’s family plan
  • Turned 26 and aged out of your parent’s health insurance policy
  • Lost a job where group health insurance was offered
  • Failed to pay premiums, and lost individual health insurance coverage

In some of those instances, you may qualify for a special enrollment period due to a qualifying life event, which means you can shop for individual plans that are usually only sold during the annual Open Enrollment Period. However, if you are looking for an affordable option, or are planning to get more permanent coverage within a few months, it may help to get an immediate short term insurance plan.

Although immediate short term health insurance is not going to qualify as coverage that protects you from fines for being uninsured, this coverage can:

  • Provide you with financial help in the case of serious medical injury or illness
  • Allow you to get some form of health insurance coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period
  • Be used as proof of insurance for reasons other than the individual mandate fine

Affordable short term health insurance

As well as being a great solution if you need immediate coverage, short-term plans are usually affordable compared to coverage that is more comprehensive.

Visit eHealth to see what plans are like in your area, and you may be happy to see that affordable short term health insurance is within your grasp.

Keep in mind that while short term plans are conveniently quick to begin coverage, and affordable, they offer fewer benefits and are only available for short periods of time.

What you should know about short term coverage

In terms of coverage, these affordable, immediate short term plans are really only meant to cover the type of costs that come with unexpected and serious medical issues. So if you are hospitalized, or have an emergency room visit, this coverage may kick in, and help with costs once your deductible is met. If you want access to preventative care and affordable office visits, this may not be the right coverage for you. Coverage details may vary among plans.

As for length of coverage, the current cap on short term plans is three months. You are allowed to apply to renew your coverage, but there is no guarantee that the insurer will accept your application. This type of coverage was originally meant to be for gaps in coverage, but according to an eHealth study, some individuals have taken to using short term health insurance as their primary coverage in order to keep costs low.

Each short term health insurance plan has its own terms and limitations, so be sure to check the official plan documents to understand how that specific plan works.  This article is only for general education.

Visit eHealth to see how immediate short term health insurance can be.

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