If you’re considering a short-term health plan, you’ll want to know what qualifying information and criteria insurance companies look at before they enroll you.
Short-term health insurance is a convenient health insurance option, offered by private insurance companies, that keeps you from being uninsured for a temporary, specific period of time. This could be a good coverage option if you:
- Missed the Obamacare open enrollment period
- Are waiting until your coverage from a new employer begins
- Need quick proof of insurance (to engage in a special activity or trip)
- Are waiting until you can enroll in Medicare
Before you decide whether short-term coverage is the best choice for you, you might want to know what is required to qualify for this type of insurance. If you are within the yearly open enrollment period or may have experienced a major life event that could make you eligible for a special enrollment period, you can shop for an ACA-compliant plan on eHealth.
Providing your health information
To qualify for short-term insurance, you usually have to answer a health questionnaire from the insurance company. For example, you’ll have to disclose whether you have been diagnosed or treated for illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, or emphysema. The insurance company will also ask whether you have shown any signs of these diseases within the past five years.
Some insurance companies will automatically disqualify you for short-term insurance if you:
- Are pregnant
- Are a man who weighs more than 300 pounds or a woman who weighs more than 250 pounds
- Have been diagnosed with, or treated for, HIV or AIDS
- Are currently insured under another policy
- Qualify for Medicaid
- Aren’t a citizen or legal resident of the United States
Short-term insurance limitations
Because short-term insurance policies don’t offer the minimum essential benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, these policies are not guaranteed-issue. This means you can be denied coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. In addition, because these plans don’t meet the ACA requirements, you’ll be subject to the ACA tax penalty even if you have short-term insurance. And, do be aware that there are no government low-income subsidy programs to help pay for your short-term health insurance, as there are for ACA-compliant major medical plans.
If you don’t qualify for short-term insurance
If you don’t qualify for short-term insurance, you have some other options. You can either wait for the next Obamacare open enrollment period or check now to see if you qualify for a special enrollment period. In these cases, you will be able to purchase an ACA-compliant plan. Another good alternative is to see if you can purchase other types of catastrophic insurance policies, such:
- Accident insurance, which can help pay your medical expenses if you are injured in an accident
- Critical-illness insurance, which pays you cash if you are diagnosed with specific medical conditions, such as cancer, stroke, or a heart attack
- Fixed-benefit indemnity medical insurance, which gives you a cash payout for covered conditions, which you can use to pay for office visits, hospitalizations, and surgery
Our short-term insurance page contains more information and can help you find and enroll in a short-term health policy.