Life is getting more and more unpredictable in today’s world. No matter how healthy you are, no matter how good at your job you are, and no matter how well you take care of your family, unexpected events can quickly rob you of your peace of mind.
The thought of such a scenario occurring can be especially frightening if you don’t have health coverage. Fortunately, there are short term health plans that are designed for those who may find themselves in a coverage gap.
It’s the basics of these types of plans that we are going to be considering here.
What Exactly are Short Term Health Plans?
As their name suggests, these types of plans cover an individual and their health-related interests for a set period of time, known as a term. This term often runs between 30 days and 3 months, but with some plans, it can be up to 12 months.
This is why you’ll hear short term health plans go by other names, such as “temporary health insurance” and “term health insurance”.
What is a Coverage Gap?
A coverage gap is a period of time in which one finds him or herself without medical coverage. Someone can fall into this gap for a variety of reasons–some expected, some unexpected.
For some, it could be that they’ve left employment through a company that provided them with insurance to look for work with a new company. For the time until they get that new position, they’ll be without medical coverage.
For others, they may work seasonally and be covered only during the time they’re actively working. This means there could be one or more seasons where they are in need of temporary health coverage.
Another set of circumstances could be that one is a student or recent graduate who no longer qualifies to be covered under their parents’ medical coverage.
It could be that you are currently covered, but that insurance plan is coming to an end and you’ll soon be without coverage.
Perhaps you’ve applied for a longer-term health plan. Yet, it will take some time before your application gets processed because of the complexity of your medical history and financial situation.
If your circumstances fall into any of these scenarios, you’ll want to protect yourself and your assets during these transitional periods. You can do this by looking into the option for a short term insurance plan that would fit you best.
If you have a family or a small business, you’ll want to make sure they’re protected also. Is that an option?
Can You Get Your Family Covered Too?
Simply put, yes. One’s spouse and their dependents can also be covered under the terms of a short term health plan.
However, each family member will get evaluated according to their specific medical histories. This is to make sure that every member of the family as an individual meets the given plan’s medical requirements.
Small Business Coverage
As a small business, getting the right coverage for an affordable price can be a complex undertaking.
Perhaps you’ve had insurance coverage for you and your employees through your business. Yet now rising costs and lessening quality are causing you to shop around for another group insurance provider.
Getting short term coverage for your business allows you a safety net as you look into the best group insurance options for your organization.
Defined Contribution Plans
Another popular short term health plan alternative for your small business while it shops for a longer-term option is a defined contribution plan.
This type of plan is not a health insurance plan. It is, however, a financial benefit given by a company to an employee to help them cover their health insurance needs.
The way it works is that a company gives each employee a fixed amount of money (or a “defined contribution”). From there, the employee would then take this money and shop for their own insurance. This defined contribution acts to care for or offset the cost of health coverage for an employee as an individual.
The benefits of this type of plan are that it protects your company from liability while allowing employees to get the coverage that best suits them.
What is Not Covered?
These plans are designed to cover an individual, their family, or their business in the event that new medical issues arise during your short term health plan’s coverage period.
This means that pre-existing conditions–an injury, illness, or other health condition–that you, your family, or your employees have had previous to the start of your medical coverage plan likely won’t be covered.
Such pre-existing conditions often include:
- Severe obesity
- Pending surgeries
- Mental disorders
- A recent cancer diagnosis
Of course, there are many other issues that may disqualify you from getting covered for a specific event. Also, there are different legal regulations that may affect what does and does not fall under the definition of a “pre-existing condition”, often varying from state to state.
If you are unsure about something that you think might prevent you from getting a certain coverage, it’s best to ask about it before applying. This would put you in the best position to know exactly what type of short term coverage you need and keep you from paying for coverage that doesn’t apply to you.
Take Control of What You Can in an Unpredictable World
Each individual, family, and business’ circumstances and needs are going to be different. However, what they all do share is that, in the words of the ancient Biblical character King Solomon, “time and chance happeneth to them all”.
Don’t leave you and your family’s health up to chance and risk having an unexpected medical expense take hold of your life. Give yourself peace of mind by making sure of what you can control. You can do this by getting more information about what short term health plans fit your circumstances best.