Life sometimes throws unexpected challenges at you, and health insurance can protect you from any unforeseen expenses. There are several different plans to explore in terms of health insurance, and choosing the most suitable plan can benefit you. Short-term health insurance can be a valuable lifeline when you want to have an economical, limited-period health policy.

Read on to learn about short-term health insurance, as we explore its coverage, costs, pros, and cons.

Understanding Short-Term Health Insurance

If you want to have medical policy coverage for a specific duration or are short on finances to avail of full medical insurance, short-term health insurance can help you. These short-term plans are designed to fill temporary gaps in your coverage, which can occur for various reasons.

What You Should Know about Short-Term Health Insurance

The coverage options of short-term insurance plans will vary according to state regulations and service providers, whereas full health insurance will cover almost all medical expenses. Fewer regulatory conditions are available for short-term plans, and this lack of regulatory oversight can lead to significant differences in plan coverage. However, these plans typically cover preventive care, doctor visits, and emergency care. They may also provide prescription coverage and cost savings for in-network providers.

Is Short-Term Health Insurance a Good Idea?

Whether short-term health insurance is a good fit depends on your circumstances. Consider short-term coverage when:

  • You missed open enrollment for a traditional health plan.

  • You left or lost your job, leaving you temporarily uninsured.

  • You turned 26 and transitioned off your parents’ insurance plan.

To make an informed decision, assess your upcoming health needs and compare costs between short-term and other insurance options.

Wooden blocks spell out health insurance on a calendar with a couple of pills on top.

Buying a Short-Term Health Insurance Plan

You can buy short-term health insurance plans from private insurance providers, but remember that the policy will have some coverage limitations. When selecting a plan, consider the duration, perks, and pricing, as they vary significantly among providers. Due to state rules, the plan may alter based on where you live.

Weighing Your Options

When considering short-term health insurance, weighing the pros and cons against your unique needs is crucial. While these plans offer temporary coverage, they come with limitations. Traditional health plans, whether through your employer or individual insurance companies, remain the gold standard for comprehensive and long-term coverage.

Costs Associated with Short-Term Health Insurance

Understanding the costs of a short-term health insurance plan is critical before selecting one. These may include:


The coverage, deductibles, coinsurance, and treatments included in the plan will determine the monthly premiums for short-term insurance policies.


You may have to face significant deductibles when choosing short-term insurance plans. This requirement may incur out-of-pocket payments.


You may have to pay the proportion of the cost covered by your insurance after reaching your deductible.


A copay is a fixed amount for a covered healthcare service, such as a doctor’s visit or a prescription drug. Copays are typically paid at the time you receive the service. Copayments will be essential when choosing short-term insurance for certain doctor visits.

Other Out-of-Pocket Costs

Short-term insurance policies may not cover labor and delivery, psychological wellness, eyesight, or dental treatment, resulting in additional costs.

Pros of Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance offers several advantages, including:

Fill Short-Term Gaps: Provides coverage when transitioning between plans or facing temporary coverage gaps.

Flexibility: You can cancel coverage without penalties, making it suitable for short-term needs.

Duration Options: Plans are available for up to a year, offering flexibility in coverage duration.

Variety of Plan Designs: Different insurance carriers offer various plans to suit individual needs.

Cons of Short-Term Health Insurance

Now that we’ve gone through the benefits of short-term insurance plans, let’s take a look at potential downsides.

Limited Coverage: Short-term policies will not provide coverage for all medical expenses and do not cover pre-existing conditions.

Medical Questionnaire: Approval for coverage may require a medical questionnaire.

Lack of Standardization: The insurance plan and coverage may vary according to the government’s regulatory requirements.

Short-Term Health Plans vs. Traditional Health Plans

Duration of Coverage

Short-term health plans will provide temporary coverage for a limited period, typically up to 12 months. It offers the possibility of renewal for up to 36 months in some states.

Comprehensive plans will offer year-round coverage with open and special enrollment periods triggered by certain life events.

Coverage Standards

Short-term plans will have more limited coverage and may not cover certain essential health benefits offered by complete health insurance.

Traditional plans need to meet specified regulatory guidelines. The policy should cover essential medical services, such as preventive care, maternity care, mental health treatment, and prescription drugs. Traditional health plans should not exclude coverage based on pre-existing conditions.


Short-term health insurance is available at lower premiums than traditional health insurance because it has fewer benefits. However, short-term plans typically have higher deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, so you must pay more out of pocket for covered services.

On the other hand, traditional health insurance plans typically have lower out-of-pocket costs for covered services but higher premiums. Additionally, some people may qualify for premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions to help lower the cost of traditional health insurance.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Short-term plans can deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions. These plans exclude pre-existing conditions or impose waiting periods before coverage takes effect.

Comprehensive health insurance policies must offer coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions at the same premium rates as those who are healthy, without any waiting periods.

Provider Networks

Short-term plans may have limited provider networks, which could restrict access to certain doctors and hospitals.

Complete health plans typically have more extensive provider networks and offer more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers.

Seeking Expert Guidance

A qualified insurance agent or broker can help you understand your insurance options and choose the best plan. They can also help you with the application process and answer any questions. When interviewing an agent or broker, ask about their fees, experience, and insurance market knowledge. You should also feel comfortable with the agent or broker and confident that they can help you find the right insurance plan.

Short-term health insurance can be a valuable safety net during transitional periods or unexpected coverage gaps. If you need temporary coverage, carefully compare your options and consult insurance experts to choose the best plan. HealthMarket Insurance by Eric Zawicki has years of experience to help you choose health insurance that is right for you. Contact us now.

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