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What is short-term medical insurance?

Short-term medical insurance -- also known as STM, short-term health insurance, or temporary insurance -- is a health insurance plan that you can purchase for as little as 30 days or up to 364 days (depending on your state) to fill gaps in insurance coverage.

These plans use the same insurance terms you may already be familiar with: deductible, coinsurance, and copay. But short-term health insurance plans do not cover all of the same benefits that an Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) plan would, like pre-existing conditions or maternity care. That’s why short-term insurance premiums tend to be lower in cost.

Who is short-term medical insurance good for?

Short-term medical insurance is a temporary solution that makes sense during many life scenarios including:

  • Losing a job
  • Second, short term health insurance plans can be obtained any time of year and are not limited to the Open Enrollment Period. You can apply anytime you want!
  • Facing a waiting period with a new employer
  • Aging off of parents’ health insurance plan at 26 years old
  • Early retirees who don’t yet qualify for Medicare
  • College students who need coverage during the school year, or don’t yet have a job
  • People who don’t qualify for an ACA Special Enrollment period

What are the advantages of short-term medical plans?

  • There's no enrollment period. You can enroll at any time, and coverage can begin as soon as the next day.
  • They have a flexible length of coverage. Your coverage period can range from one month to 364 days, with policy renewal of up to three years, depending on your state’s rules.
  • They’re affordable. Low-cost health insurance plans can keep you on track with your budget. And our plans start at less than $99 a month.
  • They're a security blanket. Short-term plans will cover you in the event of an accident or illness, so you aren't faced with paying large medical bills out of pocket.
  • There’s little to no waiting period. There's almost no waiting period for coverage to start like there is with some long-term insurance plans. And you can get coverage as soon as the day after you apply in many instances.
  • They offer choice. You can typically select providers and physician services you already know and trust with no restrictions, depending on plan options. Some states even offer short-term health insurance for up to three years, so you may be able to lock in guaranteed renewability if the insurance company offers it.
  • They're widely accepted among doctors. You should be able to find health professionals who accept short-term insurance plans. Some insurance carriers have a preferred network with special negotiated pricing and an extensive network of physicians.

Is short-term health insurance right for you?

The right coverage for you will depend on your individual situation. It depends on your health, needs and budget. But it’s important to ask yourself things like:

Eligibility — Do I qualify for short-term health insurance coverage? Am I in good health with no pre-existing conditions such as diabetes?

Cost — What monthly premium cost and out-of-pocket expenses can I afford? Do I qualify for ACA subsidies? Do I qualify for Medicaid in my state? If not, what short-term health plans meet my budget?

Coverage length — Will I need health insurance for one month, one year, or somewhere in between?

Benefits — Am I looking for the full range of benefits that a permanent health insurance plan must include or am I comfortable with the accident and illness coverage short-term health plans address?

Availability — How quickly do I need health insurance? Am I locked out of the enrollment period and special exceptions of Obamacare?

* Get quotes from one of our selected partners. Partner inventory and product availability may vary.