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"Basic medical coverage issued immediately for periods as short as one month or as long as a year"

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Temporary short term health insurance

Short term medical insurance covers period of 1 to 12 months at a lower cost than regular health plans

Temporary health insurance, also called short term major medical insurance is useful while between jobs, after a recent graduation, when starting a business or while waiting for Medicare or group insurance coverage. The primary advantage of this type of health insurance is that it preserves the protections of continuous coverage made available under HIPAA law.

Many young adults use this type of coverage because it is inexpensive and because they have no pre-existing medical conditions that might require a different type of plan. Only one in five uninsured young adults regained coverage under a patent's health plan since 2010, about 5/6 young adults remain uninsured.

Short term medical insurance policies allow treatment with any doctor or hospital; networks may be available but are not required. Coverage is not available for pre-existing medical conditions.

Length of Coverage - Coverage can be issued for a period as short as one month or as long as 12 months. If this type of coverage is needed after the 12 months it is necessary to choose a different insurance company since insurers are limited to offering 12 consecutive months of coverage.

Brands - Leading brand names of short term major medical insurance are:

health insurance right nowSpecial policies - There is one short term mini-med short term medical insurance plan called Secure Lite. This is one of the least expensive types of health insurance but with the potential of leaving a gap in catastrophic coverage. Child only coverage is available through "Secure STM".

Consumer complaints - There are comparatively fewer consumer problems with this type of coverage, probably due to its simple design and clearly marked exclusions.

Price - The price is significantly lower than comparable renewable long term policies. It is possible to save additional premium amount by paying for multiple months at once. For example, the average premium per person was $68 in 2011. A single premium payment for up to six months of coverage is priced at 15% or more discount over month-to-month rates; the premium can be charged to a credit card and paid off over the six months at a net savings. A new report confirms that short term health insurance rates are actually falling since passage of federal health insurance reform law.

Not in all states - Short term medical insurance is available in every state except Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. Short term medical insurance policies issues in other states provide valid coverage nationwide, including within the borders of these five states.

Portability of coverage - The popularity of short term health insurance coverage among the mobile sub-group of residents in these five states has triggered the development of the medical insurance tourism trend where individuals purchase insurance while travelling and residing outside of their permanent home state. Since this insurance is designed to be portable, treatment anywhere in the U.S. is covered. Medical eligibility is based on a few questions on the application; applicants must be able to answer "no" to all of the questions. Policies are issued immediately online and temporary ID cards can be printed immediately.

Comparison of short term medical insurance to regular major medical insurance - A separate article is available that explains the differences between short term health insurance and regular major medical insurance.


10/9/2013 Reuters Business and Financial News recommends that individuals waiting for coverage though the federal or state health insurance systems may wish to consider short term medical insurance to cover the gap. While this coverage has gaps and limitations, it provides basic broad coverage at an affordable price and, for some people, preserves the rights under the law known as COBRA to switch group health plans without penalty for a gap in coverage. For that reason, short term medical insurance is commonly used to as a more affordable alternative to COBRA. Reuters reports that the average single person buying short term medical insurance pays about $70 per month for a plan that charges a $50 co-pay for a visit to the doctor. By contrast, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the average COBRA payment is roughly $490 per month. HCC Short Term Medical Insurance is specifically mentioned in the article, one of the top short term medical insurance plans endorsed by and available online through Freedom Benefits.

Tony Novak, authorAbout the author - This Web page and related content is written and periodically updated by consumer finance writer Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT who is also a life and health insurance agent in all 50 states and DC. Comments, questions, feedback and updates are welcome to help keep content relevant and up-to-date. Contact the author directly by e-mail, on Twitter or through the contact information included on his Web site. Article reprint rights as well as specifically customized content may be available on request. Some content may be offered for reprint without charge; other content will be offered for a fee that exceeds the minimum amount regulated by international Web copyright laws. Reprint is not permitted without written license.   email Tony Novak  Follow Tony Novak on Twitter
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This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.