Short-Term Health Insurance: Now Is a Great Time to Enroll

October 25, 2018

Times, they are a changin’.


Speaking of your healthcare options, that is.

As Marketplace Open Enrollment is in full swing (November 1, 2020, through December 15, 2020), it’s time to start reviewing your current plan and weighing your options.

You may want to think about short-term health insurance.

Some major changes in the way it works have made it a more attractive and doable option for many people than it was in the past.

Let’s have a look.

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What is short-term health insurance?

This type of coverage is typically used to bridge a gap between longer-term plans.

In the past, you could only have short-term health insurance for a duration of several months.

New rules have changed things.

Now you can have this coverage for 12 months with the option to renew for up to 36 months.

There are two important limitations you need to be aware of.

  • A short-term plan won’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Though, as of January 2019, there won’t be a penalty for not having coverage any longer.
  • Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered. The general rule is that if you were diagnosed or treated for something within the last five years, it won’t be covered by your short-term plan.

Advantages of short-term health insurance

Despite the limitations, there are a lot of benefits to taking advantage of a short-term health insurance plan.

  • The process is quick and pain-free. In many cases, you won’t need a medical exam and you can be approved and have your coverage start as soon as the next day.
  • You can cancel at any time without a penalty. If your circumstances change and you no longer need your short-term policy, you can drop it without being charged a fee.
  • There are deductibles to meet a wide range of needs. You won’t have any trouble finding a deductible that fits into your budget.
  • You can sign up at any time. It doesn’t have to be during a special enrollment period.
  • You can stick with your favorite providers. You can enjoy the peace of mind of keeping your trusted physician.

Who needs short-term coverage?

There are certain life circumstances that make you a good candidate for a short-term health insurance policy.

  • You’ve had a birthday and now you’re too old to still be on your parents’ insurance policy.
  • You’re in-between jobs.
  • You missed Marketplace Open Enrollment. (While the OEP is a great time to review your options and choose a short-term plan, you can get coverage at any time.)
  • You’re a college student or you just finished school.
  • You have a new job and your benefits haven’t started yet.
  • You need a gap-filler before you can enroll in Medicare.
  • You can’t afford COBRA.
  • You’ve lost coverage after a divorce.

Marketplace Open Enrollment and Short-term insurance

You don’t have to sign up for short-term health insurance during the Marketplace Open Enrollment period.

But the OEP is a good time to re-evaluate your needs.

Talking with an insurance expert is always a good idea. A professional will be able to look at your unique situation and guide you to the plan that best suits your needs and your budget.

Navigating the insurance world can be confusing, but you don’t have to go it alone.

In what ways can you see short-term health insurance as a solution for you?