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One Source Benefits, a reliable partner in your quest for health coverage, can assist you in obtaining affordable, short-term health insurance.
A short-term health insurance plan is a temporary alternative to traditional individual medical insurance coverage and can help tide over special circumstances. They are formulated to help people who have temporary health insurances needs. The coverage period can range from one month to as long as eleven months.
Short-term plans are ideal if you are:
- Between jobs
- Waiting for employer coverage
- Recently graduated from school
- Recently removed from parent’s plan
- A foreigner living temporarily in the United States (with a U.S. address)
Why Are Short-Term Insurance Plans Right For You?
One of the unique features of short term insurance is that a policy can have an effective date of coverage as early as the day it is postmarked or electronically submitted through an agent. This means coverage begins almost immediately.
A few of the many ways short-term plans are different from traditional individual health insurance policies are:
- Limited Underwriting: short term plans have only a few underwriting questions, such as, whether you have had or have certain conditions like a heart condition, diabetes, acquired immune disease, or currently pregnant.
- Coverage Limits: the expenses for either treatment or cost of medication for pre-existing conditions will most likely not be covered. Under the new law, these plans will not include any preventative benefits such as a physical or immunization. Doctor’s office visits, hospital charges, and emergency care are usually covered. Prescription drugs are covered for an accident or illness that occurs during the plan period.
- Non-renewable: short-term medical insurance cannot be renewed. You would need to re-apply when your plan expires.
FAQ’s on Short Term Health Insurance
Q. When my Short Term health insurance plan ends, how do I purchase new coverage?
A. Because Short Term policies cannot be automatically renewed, you will need to reapply for a new plan.
When looking to purchase a new plan, you have several options:
· You can reapply for a new Short Term policy: If you are able to meet the requirements, most companies allow you to reapply at least once for a new plan. It is important to note that these plans do NOT meet the minimum essential benefits under Obamacare and so enrollees may be subject to tax penalties.
· Enroll in Obamacare due to a Qualifying event: If you experience a qualifying event, you are eligible to purchase a major medical plan under Obamacare outside of the normal enrollment period. Your short term policy expiring is not considered a qualifying event.
· Wait until open enrollment begins: You can always choose to wait until the open enrollment period opens once again for Obamacare enrollment. Enrollment for 2015 begins November 15, 2014 and goes through January 15,2015.
Q. What if I am concerned that I am not eligible to purchase a Short Term plan or am worried about having a gap in my coverage?
A. You have several options.
· You can discuss your eligibility and application with one of our experienced agents who can help you choose the option that is best for you.
· If you are concerned about a gap in coverage, you can adjust your effective date so that you have coverage until an Obamacare plan goes into effect on January 1, 2015. Be sure to enroll in a new plan once open enrollment begins November 15th.
Q. When my Short Term plan ends, can I renew it?
A. No, Short Term plans are not renewable. If you would like to have the same plan you can re-apply but will need to go through the underwriting process again. Your options once your plan ends can vary depending on your health status:
If you have not developed any health conditions that would make you ineligible for this coverage: then you can purchase a new Short Term health plan.
If you have a condition that disqualifies you: then you will not be able to purchase a new Short Term health plan, as they do not cover pre-existing conditions.
· Example 1. Broken leg. If you broke your leg while enrolled in your first Short Term plan, you will be eligible to purchase a new Short Term plan. However any medical expenses related to your injury will not be covered by the new plan.
· Example 2. Cancer. If you develop any form of cancer while enrolled in your first Short Term plan you will not be eligible to purchase a new plan once your enrollment period ends.
While you would not be eligible for a Short Term policy, you can purchase a major medical plan once open enrollment begins or during the special enrollment period if you experience a qualifying event.
Q. What time period can I purchase a Short Term plan for?
A. Short Term Medical plans can be purchased from 1-11 months or the exact number of days in which you need coverage. Length of coverage can vary by state.
Q. When will my coverage begin?
A. Coverage for Short Term plans can begin the very next day after online application or the day after your application is post marked if submitted via mail.
Q. Are there any age limitations for those who want to purchase Short Term?
A. Individuals applying for coverage can range from 30 days to 64 years and 11 months. This varies by state.
Q. What are pre-existing conditions?
A. A pre-existing condition is a medical condition due to either injury or sickness for which you received advice or medical treatment within the 5-year period preceding your application for Short Term health insurance. Any treatment for pre-existing conditions will not be covered under your Short Term policy.
Q. Will I be able to change my deductible once my policy has been issued?
A. No. In order to change your deductible a new policy must be purchased.
Q. Once my policy is issued will I be able to remove or add family member?
A. No. A new policy must be purchased to remove or add family member.
Q. What is a lifetime maximum?
A. Your lifetime maximum is the maximum amount your policy will pay towards your medical bills.
Q. Can I choose my own hospitals and doctors?
A. Yes. Short Term plans do not have preferred networks so you can go wherever you choose for medical care.
Q. Do Short Term plans cover prescription drugs?
A. Prescription drugs are covered if prescribed for an illness or injury that occurred while your policy was in effect.
Q. Do Short Term policies cover dental and vision expenses?
A. No. These plans are not designed to cover dental and vision care that is not related to an injury. Short Term plans are built to protect you in the case of an accident or illness.
Q. Will routine check ups and exams be covered?
A. No. Short Term plans do not cover any medical expense that is not related to an accident or illness that occurs during the period when the plan is in force.
Q. Once my Short Term coverage ends, can I purchase a plan that meets the minimum essential coverage under Obamacare?
A. It varies per your situation
· Yes, if you wish to purchase an Obamacare plan with subsidy eligibility, you can purchase a new plan at any time as long as you meet the requirements for a qualifying event. These events include but are not limited to birth or adoption of a child, change in subsidy eligibility and marriage. However if you are purchasing a plan OFF EXCHANGE, a major medical plan can be purchased at any time.
· Not until open enrollment periods. Unless you meet the requirements listed above, you cannot purchase an Obamacare plan at any time. What this means is that you choose not to purchase a new Short Term plan or are unable to and you do not have coverage until January 1, 2015 then you may experience a gap in your coverage.
Q. What is the Minimum Essential Coverage under Obamacare?
A. This coverage contains the minimum that all plans must offer to individuals in order to meet the Affordable Care Act mandate.
Q. How are Short Term plans affected by Obamacare?
A. These health plans do not meet the Minimum Essential Benefits required by Obamacare, therefore enrollees may be subject to tax penalties.