Short Term Health Insurance: Is It Right For You?
Short Term health insurance, sometimes called Term health insurance or Temporary health insurance, is designed to bridge gaps in your health care coverage during times of transition. Coverage can become effective as early as the next day, be purchased for any number of days up to 90 days, can be paid for in a single payment or in monthly installments. Short Term Plans can be renewed every 90 days. Some Insurance carriers allow auto renewal every 90 days for up to one year. Changes in government regulation may allow customers to acquire a short term style plan for up to one year. Some of these changes are expected to take place by early 2018. A short term type plan may be an alternative to a qualified ACA plan. Short term health insurance protection can behave as an affordable safety net when attempting to cover a specific time-frame or gap in your usual coverage. Benefits can range as high as 2 million dollars per benefit period for each individual.
Who Should Consider Florida Short Term Insurance Plans?
Short Term health insurance plans can make sense for people who are:
- Rolling off their parent’s insurance
- In-between jobs or waiting for benefits to begin at your new job
- Without health insurance, have missed Open Enrollment and do not have a qualifying event for Special Enrollment
- Waiting for your Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage to begin
- A college student or just out of school
- Waiting for benefits to begin at a new job
- Waiting for Medicare
- Needing a temporary alternative to COBRA insurance
- Losing coverage following a divorce
- Under 65 and in good health
- Employed part-time
- Temporarily without health insurance for most any reason.
The Benefits of Florida Short-Term Health Insurance
Short Term health insurance offers you flexible, fast coverage that you need for those dynamic times of change in your life. With Florida Short Term Medical plans you can:
- Get covered fast, as soon as the day after application
- Pick your deductible amount from several options between $1000 - $10,000
- Drop coverage with no penalty and receive a refund on unused premium if a more permanent health insurance option comes along
- Access an extensive network of health care professionals, with 1 million physicians and other health care professionals and approximately 6,000 hospitals and other facilities nationwide
- Get generally lower premiums than with ACA health insurance plans
With Short Term health insurance you are not buying an ACA health plan. That means you need to keep a few things in mind as you plan your coverage needs:
- ACA health plans are guaranteed issue, meaning you cannot be denied coverage based on preexisting conditions. Short Term Plans do not meet minimum essential coverage requirements, meaning signing up for this coverage may result in a tax penalty. (see comments below on changes in the tax penalty and mandate).
- Short Term insurance plans are not guaranteed issue, do not cover preexisting conditions, and you must answer a series of medical questions when you apply for coverage
- ACA health plans are required to cover 10 essential health benefits, including maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse disorder services
- Short Term insurance plans do not have coverage requirements, so plans vary in what they cover. Check your plan details carefully.
So, it’s true that you may save money by choosing Short Term health insurance. Just be sure you know what you are buying, and that it’s a good choice for you. For the right situation, Short Term insurance plans can definitely provide fast, flexible, temporary health insurance coverage that fits your needs.
How Do Florida Short Term Health Insurance Plans Work?
Surgery, hospital care, emergency services, diagnostic tests, prescription drugs, follow-up office visits and even limited mental health care could be included under a short-term health policy. Keep in mind that if you file a claim under your short-term policy your insurer will likely not renew the policy again. They might offer you another policy, but they will treat any injuries or illnesses that occurred during your previous short-term policy as a pre-existing condition. Short-term health insurance plans do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. In general, short-term health insurance policies exclude coverage for conditions that have been diagnosed or treated within the previous 5 years.
Coverage from an “A” Rated (Excellent) Company
Golden Rule is one example of a well-established Insurance carrier which underwrites Short Term Medical insurance products and is rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best - a mark of financial strength and stability.2
2 Ratings as of 6/30/2016. This worldwide, independent organization reviews insurance companies and other businesses and publishes opinions about them. This rating is an indication of financial strength and stability.
The UnitedHealthcare commitment to the Short Term health insurance option hasn’t just come about with recent shifts in the health insurance market. Golden Rule Insurance Company, which became a part of UnitedHealthcare in 2003, still underwrites Short Term Medical insurance products today. Golden Rule Insurance Company has been in the personal insurance business more than 70 years and has offered a Short Term insurance product for over 30 years. Golden Rule is not capitalizing on a new market or exploiting a trend. They’re just continuing their commitment to offer Short Term products, backed by a large provider network, that serve a necessary purpose for customers who are between longer term health care coverage solutions.
Florida Short Term Insurance Plans and the ACA Federal Tax Penalty
Short Term health insurance plans do not meet the minimum essential coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and may result in a tax penalty. They are designed solely to provide temporary health care insurance during unexpected coverage gaps. To avoid the risk of penalty, you may consider applying for an ACA health insurance plan as soon as you qualify.
The Difference between Short Term Insurance vs ACA Insurance
Do Florida Short Term Insurance Plans Meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) Requirements?
No. Short Term plans are not ACA, or Obamacare, health plans. While both ACA and Short Term health insurance plans are considered major medical, or comprehensive health plans and cover major health events in your life, there are important differences.
ACA health plans are guaranteed issue, meaning you cannot be denied coverage based on preexisting conditions. Also, ACA health plans are required to cover 10 essential health benefits including:
- Doctor visits for illness and injury and other outpatient care (ambulatory services)
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Prescription drug coverage
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (relearning to walk after a stroke and improving ability to speak without an impediment)
- Laboratory tests and services
- Preventive and wellness care
- Pediatric services (including both oral care and vision care)
In contrast, Short Term health insurance is not required to cover all these benefits, so plans can vary in what they cover. Also, Short Term insurance plans typically do not cover preexisting medical conditions. You must apply and answer a series of medical questions to determine your eligibility for these plans. In general, Short Term health insurance plans exclude coverage for conditions that have been diagnosed or treated within the previous 5 years. If you have an existing medical condition, you may want to find out whether you can extend your current insurance. Employer-sponsored insurance may be extended under COBRA (or a similar state program).
ACA Tax Penalty
In 2017, the ACA tax penalty is 2.5% of your yearly household income or $695 per person, $347.50 per child under 18, for not having insurance. You pay whichever is greater, and pay 1/12 of the total fee for each full month a family member has no coverage. The total tax penalty a family can pay for in 2017 is $2,085 or the total annual premium for the national average price of a Marketplace Bronze plan, again, whichever is greater. For tax year 2018, the penalty amounts have not been announced and it’s been a hotly debated issue whether the IRS will enforce these tax penalties at all.
Possible exemptions to the ACA tax penalty include:
- You went without ACA health care coverage for less than three months during the year.
- You don’t file taxes because your income is below the tax filing threshold.
- Coverage would cost you more than 8% of household income.
- You applied for but were denied Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage.
Consult your tax advisor for more information.
Are There Ways I Can Lower My Costs for Florida Short Term Health Insurance?
Yes. Your premium is the amount you pay for health insurance coverage for a specific period of time, usually paid monthly. If premium cost is one of your main concerns, you can make some choices that can help you find the best Florida Short Term health insurance rates for your situation:
- Choose a higher deductible. The deductible is what you have to pay of the expenses covered by your insurance plan before the insurance will pay anything. If you choose a higher deductible, meaning you pay more before the insurance starts paying, you can reduce your premium.
- Choose a plan with fewer benefits. Not all Short Term health insurance plans are the same. Just as with Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance, you will find different levels of coverage available with different benefits and different prices. For example, you can control if your plan includes copays, a fixed dollar amount you pay, for a doctor’s office visit or if you want to include a variation of prescription drug coverage.
- Pay your total premium up front. If you can pay the total premium for the amount of time you want to be covered up front, you can save up to 24% when you pay in that one lump sum versus paying monthly.
- Choose a Per-Cause Deductible option. With some Short Term Medical plans underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company, you can take more responsibility by paying a separate deductible for each illness or injury, as opposed to one deductible for your whole term. By doing so, you can reduce your premium by about 10%.
Florida Short Term Health Insurance FAQs
Can I Get Federal Tax Subsidies to Help Pay for Short Term Insurance?
No. Because Short Term insurance plans are not minimum essential coverage as defined by the ACA, you are not eligible for tax subsidies to help pay for them. However, generally, Short Term health insurance plans cost less than ACA health plans.
What If I Don’t Need Coverage For As Long As I Thought?
No problem. You can drop your coverage at any time without penalty and receive back premium paid after termination date.
Can I Keep My Doctor?
Yes. UnitedHealthcare offers one of the largest networks in the U.S. With access to nearly 1,000,000 physicians and other health care professionals, and approximately 6,000 hospitals and other medical facilities, chances are your current doctor is already a part of our nationwide network. Health care professionals in our network agree to provide you quality care at lower fees.
Are Prescriptions Covered?
Sometimes. Prescription coverage is available with some plans. Check specific plans for details.
Is Preventive Care Covered?
Sometimes. Preventive care coverage, if included, is limited. Check specific plans for details.
Do I Have to Choose a Specific Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
No. Some health plans make you select a primary care provider or primary care physician (PCP) to be the main health care professional who takes care of you. With Short Term Medical plans, you can go to any qualified health care provider you choose at any time.
Do I Need a Referral to See a Specialist?
No. A referral is a type of pre-approval some health plans require where your primary care provider (PCP) must refer you to another doctor or for a specific service for that visit or service to be covered by the plan. With Short Term Medical plans, you can go directly to any specialist of your choice without needing a referral.
Do Florida Short Term Health Insurance Plans Have High Deductibles?
Not necessarily. Your deductible is what you have to pay of the expenses covered by your insurance plan before the insurance will pay anything. Short Term Medical plans underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company allow you to choose your deductible level from options starting at $1,000.
If I Apply for a Plan, Am I Obligated to Buy
No. After submitting your application, you may cancel it at any time during the underwriting process. We do charge a $20 non-refundable application fee for our Short Term health insurance plans in most states.
If I’m looking for the best Florida Short Term health insurance price, do I have options to help me reduce my premium payments?
Yes. Choosing a plan with fewer benefits, or a higher deductible, or a single up-front payment option are all effective ways to potentially reduce your premiums.
Can I pair other plans with a Temporary health insurance plan?
Yes. Short Term is often combined with other supplemental health insurance plans to help round out coverage. Dental, Vision, Accident and Critical Illness plans are commonly paired with Short Term medical insurance plans.