• Short Term Health Insurance Blog

  • Friday, November 24, 2017

When you’re looking for short term health insurance, the plan you choose may not feature the deductibles you desire. Sometimes, a plan might have a zero deductible and a $1,000 deductible, but nothing in between. You might be looking for a $200 or a $500 deductible, and the plan that advertises those deductibles may not feature the benefits you want.

In such cases, do not lose hope. It is often the case that short term health insurance plans are able to customize the plan according to your needs. Find out whether the plan can offer you the rates and deductibles you want.

There are two ways to do this. Oftentimes, calling the insurance company (or the agent if you purchased insurance that way) will work. Companies are simply unable to publish all their deductible information, and can help you out.

The other way you can do this is by calling the customer service department of the website that you want to purchase the insurance from. This might be a good idea too, especially since the customer service agents of the website are well acquainted with different plans from different companies, and help you out with advice, keeping in mind plans other than the one you had in mind. Your own personalized short term plan could be just a phone call away.

Most health insurance plans, including short term health insurance plans, require you to pre-certify your condition prior to hospitalization. This is simply for the insurance company to determine that the hospitalization was, in fact, medically necessary and to approve the hospitalization.

For instance, let’s say you were found to have a fracture and the doctor prescribes a minor surgical procedure followed by hospitalization. If the date of hospitalization is known, you must inform the insurance company of the impending hospitalization a week to 10 days before the hospitalization. This period depends on the plan requirements.

If you are in an emergency situation, you usually have some time before you must notify the insurance company. Depending on the plan, you must let the insurance company know about emergency hospitalizations 24 to 48 hours within the time of the admission.

If you do not pre-certify your hospitalization you stand to lose anywhere from 25% to 50% of eligible benefits. Remember, however, that pre-certification does not mean that your claim will be settled, nor is it guarantee of coverage. While hospital staff usually check whether you have pre-certified the hospitalization prior to admission, it is best to let the nearest relative/friend know about the pre-certification procedure, so that they can either remind you or let the insurance company know in case of an emergency.

Short term health insurance is sometimes considered a misnomer, simply because it can be purchased for up to three years in most cases. COBRA insurance, on the other hand, is valid for 18 months, and is considered long-term coverage.

The term is used not just because of the term of coverage. It also factors in the type of coverage that is offered by the plan. Short term coverage typically excludes pre-existing conditions and offers limited benefits for regular scheduled medical care. It is primarily meant as a stop-gap arrangement, and hence, the name.

The temporary nature of the coverage is also seen in other areas such as underwriting requirements, which are typically less cumbersome. Temporary insurance can be purchased and paid for online. A simple medical questionnaire and application form are usually all that are required. In some cases, a medical evaluation may be required.

Short term coverage also costs substantially less than long term health coverage, and is a preferred alternative to COBRA insurance when one is left without a subsidized form of insurance. However, remember that short term coverage can never substitute long-term insurance in, well, the long-term.

Short term health insurance is a great alternative to COBRA insurance, when you’re looking to substitute long-term coverage that you had through your employer. Remember that short term insurance is less expensive than COBRA coverage, and can be purchased quite easily.

When signing up for COBRA insurance, you need to undergo lengthy underwriting procedures. However, purchasing short term health insurance is a simple process that requires the filling out of a simple questionnaire and application form.

Remember that short term health insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. If treatment for a pre-existing condition will prove expensive, you might be better off with COBRA insurance. Also, you want to ensure that the short term health insurance plan you select counts toward creditable coverage.

Also, neither short term health insurance nor COBRA insurance can be a permanent health insurance solution. Many short term plans can be purchased for three years, but it is best to consider some sort of long term insurance if the period of insurance is to exceed a year. When looking for a job, it might be best to move to a month-to-month payment plan for your short term insurance needs.

One of the most important things to consider when getting off the employer’s health insurance plan (by choice or otherwise) and opting for short term health insurance is creditable coverage. What this means is that when you are eligible for long term health insurance, the underwriting process will check whether you have been continuously covered during the period you did not have long term health insurance.

Your premium and pre-existing conditions coverage will depend on whether or not you have had creditable coverage in the intervening period. COBRA insurance counts toward creditable coverage—that is, if you’ve had COBRA in the intervening period, it does not show as a break in coverage.

It is a myth that short term health insurance does not count toward creditable coverage: Most new short term health insurance plans count toward creditable coverage. It is best to check with your insurance provider whether the temporary insurance plan you have chosen will count toward creditable coverage when you get back on a long term insurance plan.

Creditable coverage is also defined by the number of days of break—currently, it is 63 days. This means that you cannot afford to wait too long before signing up for a plan, whichever plan you choose.

In this post on the differences between short term health insurance and COBRA insurance, we will look at one factor that COBRA insurance supporters usually emphasize: COBRA covers pre-existing conditions while short term health insurance does not.

Yes, it is a fact that short term health insurance, one of the best COBRA insurance alternatives out there, usually does not cover pre-existing conditions. That is the reason for the low cost of short term health insurance when compared to COBRA. The two plans, while often pitted against each other, have different goals: COBRA insurance is meant to continue the level of coverage that you had when you were employed, and short term health insurance is meant to ensure that you are not adversely affected by any sudden medical problems.

If you or your dependants have a pre-existing medical condition that requires constant care, then the clause that includes coverage for pre-existing conditions becomes important. If not (as is mostly the case), the insurance is only meant to tide over the temporary period until you purchase long term insurance. In this case, short term medical insurance may be a better bet, especially keeping in mind the cost factor.

Remember too, that pre-existing conditions are defined by the look-back period, and if a health problem has not recurred in the past 3 years (or 5 years, as the plan may specify) you will still be covered for it.

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