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Short-Term Medical Insurance

A short-term health insurance plan is coverage that lasts as few as 30 days or as many as 364 days, depending on personal needs and state laws. It is designed to be a temporary solution and is not intended as long-term medical health insurance coverage.

These short-term plans can be a good solution for someone who is between jobs, waiting for a new plan to start, or in-between open enrollment periods.

Here are five important things to know about short-term health insurance.

  • Short-term health insurance is not considered minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). So, even if you enroll in and maintain short-term coverage, you may still be subject to the Individual Shared Responsibility tax penalty.
  • Insurance companies are allowed to deny short-term coverage to people who are sick or have pre-existing conditions.
  • The maximum duration for most short-term health plans is 6 or 12 months, but most health insurance companies will allow you re-apply for another short term plan.
  • Short-term plans are designed to only protect against large unforeseen expenses and typically do not cover preventive care such as physicals, immunizations, and dental or vision care.
  • Most short term plans have a minimum coverage period of one month, so even if you only need the plan for a couple of weeks you’ll need to purchase a full month.

Special Enrollment Periods

Think you may need short-term medical insurance? Double check that you don't qualify for any of the "Qualifying Life Events" which allow an individual to purchase an individual health insurance policy outside of open enrollment. Qualifying Life Events can include the following circumstances for an individual: 

  • Making a permanent move to another state
  • Changing in family size, including:
    • Marriage
    • Divorce
    • Birth/adoption of a child
  • Gaining citizenship
  • Returning from active military duty
  • Being released from incarceration
  • Changing dependent status after turning 26
  • Losing employer-sponsored insurance
  • Being determined newly eligible or ineligible for advance premium tax credits, regardless whether the individual is already enrolled in a qualified health plan