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What is short-term health insurance?

Many people who are between jobs for a period of 1-6 months or who have just graduated from college may not need to look any further than our short-term coverage options. On the other hand, if you are not planning to participate in health insurance coverage through an employer, the reliability and more extensive benefits offered through an individual and family health insurance plan might be a valuable investment for you. Short-term health insurance plans are intended to protect you for a period of time that is usually less than one year, and may be the best choice for people waiting for other health insurance to start. If you will need coverage for longer than a year, a standard, longer-term health insurance option like our individual and family health insurance plans might be a more viable option for you because of the higher levels of protection.

Since the very nature of a short-term health insurance plan is based around immediate need, the application process is generally much less complicated than that of longer-term health insurance. At the same time, short-term health insurance focuses mainly on catastrophic events and as a result, features such as preventive care, physicals, and immunizations are not included.

A very important consideration when purchasing a short-term health insurance plan is the fact that by doing so, you automatically become ineligible for any guaranteed issue individual health plans commonly referred to as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Plans. Although HIPAA plans are usually very expensive, they make it possible for people with pre-existing medical conditions to obtain health insurance. If you wish to maintain your eligibility for HIPAA plans, you should not purchase a short-term plan. Please consult your benefits advisor to discuss the legal implications of HIPAA in your particular circumstances.

Additionally, pre-existing medical conditions are not covered by short-term health insurance plans. Although the definition of a pre-existing condition varies by state, the general definition is a condition or illness that has been diagnosed or treated within the past 3 to 5 years. If this applies to you, you may want to research whether you can extend your employer-sponsored insurance under a government-regulated option commonly referred to as the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, which is almost always the best option for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

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