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Short Term Health Plans

A lot has changed recently when it comes to short term health plans.  Because of recent health insurance legislation changes, short term health insurance plans are becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional health insurance.  2020 has been a year in which a lot of U.S. families are discovering that traditional health plans are simply not an option.  Why?  For most, the reason is affordability.  A short term plan can often meet a family's health care coverage needs and be reasonably priced.  In addition, short term health insurance policies are not so "short" anymore.  In some states, you can purchase a short term health insurance policy, and keep it for as long as three years.  Use the link above to run an instant quote to see rates and term lengths for where you live.

Just What Is A Short Term Health Plan Exactly?
What exactly is a short term health plan? And what does the term "short" signify?  There are two parts to this: What a short term health plan was, and what a short term health plan is today.

Initially, a short term health insurance plan was designed just for short term situations.  As the name implies, it was a health insurance coverage with a short term duration, which ranged from a month to never longer than a year.  It was mainly purchased by individuals who needed temporary medical insurance or could not afford traditional health insurance.  It was used by employees who frequently changed jobs, employees waiting for their group health insurance plan to kick in, students going out of state to college, or young adults searching for their own insurance because they were no longer covered under their parent's plan.
The insurance coverage was strictly for hospitalization.  Doctor visit benefits, preventative services, or prescription drug benefits, were practically unheard of.

Fast forward to today.  A great deal has changed.  Many short term health insurance plans now offer doctor visit copay benefits, preventative services, prescription drug benefits, and more.  There are now short term health plans that can be held for up to three years before a new application is needed.  The benefit structure is starting to look a lot like traditional health insurance plans.

The country has noticed.  Short-term health insurance is becoming an ideal health insurance solution for a growing number of American families.

Even with all of the progress, a short term health plan is not a good fit for every circumstance.  Short term health insurance coverage lacks several significant guaranteed benefits that are part of the Affordable Care Act portfolio of plans.  However, there are several notable advantages.

Good to know:  When selecting a health plan for you or your family, don't just choose the one with the lowest monthly premium or the one you had before.  Plan benefits can change from year to year - in some cases, significantly.  Your individual or family needs can also change.  For example, the addition of a new prescription drug utilized by a family member, can significantly alter the cost / benefit ratio of any health insurance, or healthcare sharing plan.  Jot down your family's average number of doctor visits per year, routine prescriptions, dental cleanings, and other services.  Compare what you'd pay over an entire year for these items on each plan option that is available to you.  And don't forget to factor in monthly premiums and deductibles.

  • Far Cheaper for Healthier Individuals

Compared with standard ACA plans, which can run even healthy individuals around $500-plus dollars every month, short-term health insurance plans average less than $150 a month, with some options being as low as $90-$100.
Of course, the amount of coverage offered depends on the price of the plan.  You obviously will not get the same amount of coverage with even the more-expensive short term health plans as you would with an ACA health plan option.  This is why short-term health insurance plans are being increasingly sought by healthier individuals who don't require all the coverage mandated by the ACA.

  • Sustainable For Longer Periods Than Before

Individuals seeking an alternative to high ACA premiums can purchase a short term health plan and keep it for as long as three years in some states, without having to purchase a new policy.  Though this ultimately may not satisfy long-term demand, it provides a medium-range option that may prove more viable than traditional ACA plans for individuals or families who don't qualify for government subsidies.
Most companies will allow individuals to renew existing plans without changes.  This means customers can enjoy up to three years of medical insurance with the plans they choose.

  • No Open Enrollment

Unlike traditional insurance plans, short-term insurance plans require no open enrollment.  Those seeking these plans simply need to sign up and be approved to gain nearly instant access to medical coverage.  Typically, short-term insurance plans begin coverage within one to fourteen days of being approved, whereas ACA plans can take between two and six weeks to go into effect.
Despite there being no set window period for enrollment, many short-term insurance companies opt to take part in open enrollment periods, if only to create awareness for their plans.  If you plan on participating in this year’s open enrollment, pay attention for these companies and see if their alternative plans are right for you. If you don’t wish to wait, however, keep in mind that short-term insurance is offered year long, so you never have to worry about missing an open enrollment period.

Good to know:  Looking for healthcare related savings?  Join the Farm Bureau.  Believe it or not, you don't need to be a farmer to join your state's farm bureau.  By paying an annual membership fee you become eligible for all sorts of benefits - including discounted group health insurance in some states.  If you or your spouse are self-employed, this may work for you.  For more information, Google "farm bureau" and your state's name.
How to know if a short term health plan is the right solution for your needs?
Figuring out if short-term health insurance is right for you, depends on what key insurance plan factors are important to you.  Below are a few reasons why more Americans are choosing short term insurance options for their health care coverage needs:

  • Affordability.  Traditional Health insurance options can be very costly for the kind of coverage a family may need.  A short term health insurance plan might be a more affordable solution.
  • Employment Gap.  If you receive health insurance through your employer and are between plans or jobs, short-term health insurance can help cover you and your family.
  • Network.  Short-term insurance may help expand your options, if you live in an area with few healthcare providers.
  • Near immediate coverage.  In most cases, you can qualify and be covered by a short term health insurance plan within 24 hours.

Speaking with a true health insurance specialist will be the best way to sum up all the information you acquired and turn it into a smart health plan choice.  When it comes to choosing the right health care plan, knowledge and expertise are the most important factors.

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