Should I get short-term health insurance?
Thinking about getting short-term health insurance? There are some things you should know first.
What do short-term health insurance plans cover?
Insurance companies only sell their short-term plans outside of the Marketplace. They may look like an attractive option at first glance, but they come at a practical cost. These plans premiums are lower and you can apply at any time of year. However, they do not have to include the consumer protections laid out by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and do not qualify as minimum essential coverage, meaning they don’t cover certain essential health benefits.
For example, they may not cover many things that are covered by ACA plans. Usually not covered by these plans? Pre-existing conditions, preventive care, emergency services, mental health care, prescription drugs, and maternity care.
Cost-benefit analysis of Marketplace plans
Experts do not advise using short-term health insurance plans to replace regular health insurance. This is because short-term policies are not ACA-compliant plans and therefore do not protect you against high medical costs.
Marketplace or “Obamacare” health plans can be quite affordable, and can be even cheaper than short-term insurance plans if you qualify for subsidies. Most consumers who use HealthSherpa pay $35/month or less for ACA health coverage. Learn more by grabbing our free step-by-step guide to enrolling in Marketplace health insurance here.
If you’re interested in enrolling in a comprehensive health insurance plan from the Marketplace that includes all of the consumer protections and essential services laid out in the Affordable Care Act, then you can shop for plans here, call a Consumer Advocate at (872) 228-2549, or enter your zip code below to see available plans in your area.
Other affordable options: Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare
Some people may qualify for other coverage options as well. If you are low income, consider applying for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). You can apply for Medicaid or CHIP at any time, even outside of Open Enrollment, and if you qualify you can enroll and have your health coverage start almost immediately. For Medicare, those who are eligible can apply when they turn 65.