Short-term health insurance is a type of program that can provide you with temporary coverage when you are between insurance plans, outside of enrollment windows, and need some coverage in an emergency situation. However, to get the maximum advantage of short-term health insurance, you need to know how it works, how much it costs, and what it covers first.

What does a short-term health plan cover?

The cost of short-term health insurance varies greatly depending on the plan and the insurance company from which you purchase it. These programs are not required to follow the guidelines established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA plans must provide a certain level of services, known as “minimum essential coverage.” Furthermore, short-term health policies are not needed to satisfy those guidelines.

Short-term health insurance typically offers some amount of coverage for preventive care, doctor visits, and a medical emergency. They might also provide coverage for prescription medications. Furthermore, some plans also offer discounts for visiting in-network suppliers. It is recommended to carefully read the “exclusions and limitations” section before purchasing any health plan. This will show you what is covered and what is not by a particular program. 

How much does short-term health insurance cost?

If you’re thinking about getting temporary health insurance, you should be aware of the following costs:

i) Premium

It is the monthly fee you need to pay for having health insurance coverage. The cost will vary based on the level of coverage you select, including coinsurance and deductible, as well as the services covered. 

ii) Deductible

The deductibles on short-term health plans can be significantly higher than deductibles on other types of health plans. Until your deductible is met, you pay for insurance services out of pocket. After then, your program will begin to share costs.

iii) Coinsurance

It is the percentage of costs that you share with your plan after you have met your deductible. It’s often represented in the form of percentages. The majority of short-term health insurance includes a deductible and coinsurance. 

iv) Copay

This is a fee you might need to pay when you visit a physician, usually payable at the time of the visit. Certain doctor visits may require you to pay a copay under some short-term plans. 

v) Other out-of-pocket expenses

If your short-term health plan does not cover certain healthcare services, you are responsible for paying the entire cost. 

For Example: 

Some short-term plans may not cover or limit your coverage for medical care, mental health, substance abuse services, dental care, or vision care. So, if you obtain these services, you must pay these charges out of pocket.

Other charges may apply depending on the type of coverage you purchase. Before making a decision, carefully read all the information so you know how much your plan will cost you.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of short-term health insurance?

If you think that a short-term health insurance plan is right for you, consider the following benefits and drawbacks before purchasing a health plan.


  • They are designed to fill short-term coverage gaps if needed.
  • You can cancel your coverage plan at any time without paying penalties.
  • You can typically choose a program that covers you for up to a year (if necessary).
  • There are numerous plan designs available in the Marketplace, depending on the insurance carrier.


  • It has considerably higher premiums than traditional health insurance with other potential unexpected costs
  • There is no coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, and most services are only covered to a limited extent.
  • To become eligible for short-term coverage, you might be required to complete a medical questionnaire.
  • As coverage is not mandated or standard, plans differ significantly in covered services and costs, with little government oversight.

Short-term health plans are not suitable for everyone. If you want comprehensive coverage and services, make sure to enroll in a traditional health plan. This is either a plan provided by your employer or one you purchased on your own through a private insurance company or the Marketplace agency. 

Is short-term health insurance renewable?

Once your short-term health insurance period expires, you would not be eligible for renewal. Nevertheless, you might be able to join a new short-term health insurance policy. In most cases, you can sign up for up to two insurance plans per year.

Short-term health insurance vs. ACA health insurance

Short-term plans were designed to help fill the transitory gap in coverage that may occur in certain situations. Typically, these plans are not good substitutes for conventional health insurance and don’t adhere to the ACA guidelines. Furthermore, they provide limited benefits at significantly higher costs. 

On the other hand, ACA health plans must provide specific types of coverage as mandated by the federal government. They must offer complete protection for essential health benefits such as preventive care, maternity care, mental health, and drug abuse services. Before buying a short-term insurance policy, ensure you know what sorts of coverage and services are and are not covered. Read the limitations and exclusion information carefully. 

Do short-term health insurance policies cover pre-existing conditions?

Short-term health insurance is not part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so they don’t need to adhere to these standards. This means that a temporary or short-term health plan does not include pre-existing conditions. Also, you can deny coverage for a medical condition for which you have previously received treatment. 

Is it a good idea to get short-term health coverage?

The short-term health insurance plan may not be the best option for long-term benefits. However, there are some circumstances in which you might need temporary coverage provided by a short-term health plan. 

  • You missed the open enrollment deadline for traditional health insurance.
  • You lost or quit your job.
  • You’ve reached the age of 25 and your parents’ health plan would no longer cover you.

Is short-term health insurance right for you? At first, try to anticipate your future healthcare needs. Would the cost of treatment be lower with a temporary health care plan than without one? Search the programs that are available to you. The duration, types of services, and even the premiums of these programs can vary significantly between the insurance companies that provide them. Plans may also differ depending on the region you live in due to union or state regulations.

How do you get a short-term health insurance policy?

These short-term health insurance plans are accessible through private insurance agencies. Remember that not all companies provide this type of coverage. These plans are not available in the health insurance market and do not comply with the ACA (Affordable Care Act) guidelines. You can purchase a short-term health plan through Insurance Shopping. Make sure you read all the details before buying or signing up. These health plans may vary widely in terms of cost and coverage.