Short-Term Health Insurance

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Short-Term Health Insurance

Post by peggy1258 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:21 am

Youíve just graduated from college or moved out on your own, and youíre no longer covered under your parentsí health insurance plan. Or perhaps youíve flown the coop on your cubicle job and youíre looking for the next big thing. Maybe youíve found a new job, but your new employerís group health insurance plan wonít kick in until youíve been with the company for three months. These are good reasons to look into short-term health insurance if itís available in your state.

Whatís in a nameÖ
As the name implies, short-term health insurance typically offers coverage for 30 to 180 days, although some plans will cover you initially for up to 12 months. If your short-term need runs longer than the coverage, you may be able to renew the plan, but donít count on anything beyond a year.

Most short-term plans will cover you in the event of an accident or a sudden illness. As you might expect with almost any health insurance plan, short-term plans may have benefit limits, and youíll be required to cover an initial deductible and to make co-payments. Youíll be allowed to pick your own doctors, hospitals, or other health-care providers. Youíll get coverage for inpatient and outpatient services, hospital room (including intensive care unit) and board charges, lab examinations, and X-rays. These plans rarely require a physical exam, and coverage often begins as soon as the insurer receives your application and first premium payment. Applications may be mailed in or submitted over the Internet, and payments may be made by check or credit card. Check with the provider for complete information on coverage and the application process.

ÖAnd whatís not
To keep the premiums down, short-term health insurance plans donít offer all of the benefits of permanent plans. Most wonít cover treatment of a pre-existing condition (i.e. an illness or injury that has produced signs or symptoms, or for which youíve received treatment, in the past five years). In addition, these plans donít cover routine medical exams, preventive care, dental or optical care, or pregnancy and childbirth expenses.

Short-term health insurance policies are exempt from the portability requirements in Title I of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Insurance carriers issuing these policies donít have to guarantee their renewability, and most donít. They also donít have to waive any pre-existing condition limitations for individuals otherwise eligible for those waivers.

But despite their limitations, short-term health insurance plans can help you fill the gaps in your health insurance coverage. And thatís just what the doctor ordered!
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