The next open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans doesn’t begin until November 15th. If you are without health insurance coverage now, there is a solution to get you covered as early as tomorrow. Instead of risking your health and finances by going without coverage until the next open enrollment period begins on November 15th, you can get solid, affordable short-term medical insurance right now.
Enrolling in a short-term health plan also buys you additional time to research ACA-approved health plans while securing the medical coverage that you need now.
What is a Short-Term Health Plan?
A short-term health plan offers almost identical coverage to traditional health plans, but only lasts for a set period of time. Plans are available in a variety of lengths, but in general run from one month to up to one year. The maximum length for these plans vary by state, so refer to state-specific guidelines for coverage periods in your state.
One main difference between short-term and ACA plans is that short-term plans don’t always cover pre-existing medical conditions. In addition, not all plans cover the “10 Essential Benefits” mandated for all ACA-qualified plans.
The good news is that once your short-term plan ends, you won’t be denied coverage for any pre-existing health condition when transitioning to an ACA-approved plan.
Who Needs a Short-Term Plan?
Anyone without health insurance coverage who wants medical coverage prior to the next open enrollment can reap the benefits of a short-term plan. If you are presently without coverage and are not eligible for a special enrollment period for an ACA plan, a short-term plan offers virtually immediate coverage. You can choose the length of your plan — from one to eleven months (varying by state).
Short-Term Plan Benefits
Short-term plans are virtually immediate and flexible. Choosing a short-term plan can allow you to:
- sign up any time of the year
- choose a variety of deductibles to fit any budget
- sign up the same day with coverage beginning as soon as the following day.
- choose flexible payment options including a single up-front payment or low monthly installments
- get peace of mind with solid health coverage outside of open enrollment periods
What Happens When You No Longer Need Coverage?
The best thing about purchasing a short-term health plan is that once you obtain permanent health care coverage, you can simply let the short-term plan expire. There are no other obligations or long-term commitments.
Things to Remember about Short-term Coverage
Purchasing a short-term health plan does not exempt you from having to pay tax penalties for not having ACA-qualified health insurance, but it does protect you from the high cost of out-of-pocket medical bills in the meantime.
Some health insurance carriers treat the expiration of a short-term plan as a special enrollment period to allow you to enroll in an ACA-qualified plan before the November 15th period.
Check with an HSA for America Personal Advisor at 866-749-2039 for all the details about short-term medical plans to get covered by tomorrow. Ask about other alternative health insurance plans as well!
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.