What is short term health insurance and is it something that can be beneficial to me in any way? I had certainly heard of short term health insurance, but didn’t know what it was exactly or how it would help anyone. It is actually sort of similar to life insurance policies since it is a health insurance policy that can be adopted for a specific amount of time. A short term health insurance policy generally covers only catastrophic health problems. It also will exclude childbirth and usually all pre-existing medical conditions. They are often very hard to qualify for and usually have very strict qualifying conditions attached to the, and require long and strict procedures in applying.
So who would or should consider short term health insurance. Obviously, with all of the restrictions, you need to be healthy. However, usually unemployed, part-time employed, students, those leaving home for the first time, or early retirees may consider it. The biggest advantage is that it is one of the lowest cost health insurance coverages available.
Basically, short term health insurance is for those in transition. Every year, about 16 million people in the United States purchase their own individual health insurance. Those people are generally looking for something they can get for a short period of time to cover them in case of catastrophe or emergency. Short term health insurance does just that and does so at a very low price. In fact, the competition among companies for the short term health insurance market has made most policies very inexpensive. You can have a good short term health insurance plan for less than most monthly car payments.
Keep in mind, though, that short term health insurance is just what the name implies. It is a temporary solution. Most of the time, a short term health insurance plan will last 12 months or less. There are some, though, that will go up to 36 months. Most of the plans are purchased monthly so that you can drop them at the end of any month when your situations changes to a more permanent one. Also keep in mind that there are many limitations and exclusions to these policies. Make sure you read those thoroughly before you purchase a short term health insurance policy. Also, make sure you ask lots of questions to make sure you are clear on what you are getting versus what you need.
Keep in mind if you are considering short term health insurance that they never cover any pre-existing conditions. This is one of the reasons that the monthly payments are so low for what you are getting. Remember that a pre-existing condition is usually defined as a condition or symptom you may have had during the 36 months (3 years!) prior to your coverage’s start. So, make sure you know what you are getting into and that you are completely honest on your application so that you do not end up with a bunch of denied claims.
If you are a part time or temporary employee, student, or early retiree, you may want to consider short term health insurance during your time of transition. It is one of the cheapest forms of insurance you can purchase and is a wonderful way to stop gap as you shop around and figure out a longer term solution. However, just make sure you are aware of the problems and the limitations of such a plan and that you plan your life accordingly. Keep in mind as well that short term health insurance is a temporary solution and that you will eventually have to get yourself a real insurance policy as a permanent solution.
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