Is Short term Health Insurance Right for You?

Individual and Family

Is Short term Health Insurance Right for You?

Published on May 17, 2018

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Are you in need of immediate health insurance, or unexpected medical coverage for a short period of time? Or are you simply looking for a health insurance plan that is more affordable than what you’re seeing on the market? For anyone looking for affordability, temporary coverage, or immediate coverage, short term health insurance might be the type of health insurance you’re looking for.

How to know if short term health insurance is best for you and your family

A recent eHealth analysis found that young adults favored short term insurance the most. Relatively affordable monthly premiums for short term health insurance plans averaged about $109 for an individual policy and $264 for families. In addition, consumers don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment and can get immediate health coverage whenever they need it. Typically, consumers can apply, get accepted, and print and view policy documents online.
Some good times to consider short term health insurance could include:

  • Missing the current year’s Open Enrollment and not qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period
  • Suffering from a financial hardship that makes Marketplace insurance unaffordable
  • Waiting for job-related group medical insurance, the start date for Obamacare policies to become active, or even the Medicare Initial Election Period
  • Planning a temporary stay in the United States between foreign travel

What to know about short term health insurance


Consumers should understand some important facts about this type of coverage before deciding if it is the right individual health insurance solution for you:

  • Because of the Affordable Care Act, people can only purchase short term insurance for a maximum of three months at a time. The government has discussed extending this to longer terms. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the current proposal is for the short term health insurance limit to go back to being anything less than 12 months.
  • These Obama health insurance alternatives also won’t satisfy the ACA mandate, so people without an exemption may still get assessed a tax penalty. Some examples of Obamacare exemptions include having a gap in coverage of no longer than two months during the year or suffering from certain financial hardships. Keep in mind that the individual mandate penalty will no longer be a threat in tax season of 2019 due to the tax bill passed in 2017.
  • Typically, short term health insurance policies only cover unexpected medical expenses. They usually will not cover pre-existing conditions, maternity, wellness care, or some other mandated benefits found in qualified ACA plans.

Who should consider buying short term health insurance?

As noted above, younger and healthier people may favor these temporary individual health insurance policies more than older folks because they are mostly intended to cover unexpected illnesses for a short time. If a covered person does need extended care during the term of their temporary coverage, they won’t have a guarantee that they can renew the policy.
Consider these benefits of temporary health insurance plans:

  • Temporary health plans can provide immediate coverage that will help pay doctors, hospitals, emergency rooms, and pharmacists in the case of serious injury or illness.
  • Enrollment process for short term insurance is simple, and coverage can even start within just a few days in some cases.
  • People who need immediate coverage to prove they have insurance to participate in activities or attend school may also decide to buy these health insurance alternatives.

Where to find immediate, affordable health insurance

eHealth has resources and tools for our customers to find plans of all types in their area, including short term health insurance. All you need to do is provide some simple information about yourself on eHealth, and you will get free quotes for plans offered in your area.

We’ll let you know when we publish anything new.