July 29, 2014
We've heard from many individuals who, for any number of reasons, found themselves unable to purchase health insurance before open enrollment closed this past March. Ultimately this resulted in many people having to either pay cash for doctor and hospital visits, or simply take their chances in the hopes of not getting sick or injured.
With the month of July drawing to a close, this actually presents a unique opportunity for those looking to get covered during the final quarter of closed enrollment. Short-term health insurance policies typically run in the three-month increments, which would technically allow someone to be covered during the months of August, September and October of 2014, until they're able to purchase a plan in November.
How Does Short-Term Medical Insurance Work?
To best answer this question it helps to have an understanding of what short-term coverage has traditionally been used for. Most commonly, it served as a way for recently-hired employees to have some form of coverage during the grace period at their new job. Many companies do not offer medical coverage until a new hire has worked there a few months. Accordingly, temporary plans have been popular for those who were waiting for their company-provided plan to kick in or begin offering coverage.
For those who missed the 2014 cutoff, a short-term policy could potentially serve as a way to stay covered for the next three months while waiting for the next open enrollment period to begin in November. It might not prevent you from being fined for non-compliance, but it could make it financially easier in the event of an accident, illness, disease, etc.
What Does Temporary Health Insurance Cover?
Unlike traditional health insurance plans (used to cover things like hospital visits, emergency room expenses, physician office visits, prescriptions, etc.) short term health insurance is more of a way to protect yourself from being financially ruined in the event of a catastrophic health event. They carry higher deductibles and are intended for healthier individuals, as they do not cover preexisting conditions.
Again, it's important to remember that theses plans have been put in place to fill in coverage gaps. You won’t be able to walk into your doctor's office and pay a $10 copay, or get a discount on your medications; you will, however, have a solid form of financial protection in the event of a being diagnosed for the first time with a serious disease, or if you're involved in an accident that requires hospitalization.
An Alternative, Not a Loophole
Please keep in mind that we are not offering this information as a way of how to beat the system. It's simply an option available to those who are currently uninsured, awaiting the November open enrollment and not keen on the notion of being uninsured for the period leading up to it.
If you would like to know more about IL short-term health insurance plans, or have questions on premiums, coverage, durations or other topics, we invite you to call our Chicago area offices for more details. Our staff of licensed agents can be reached at 800-369-0287, or via e-mail through our website's secure contact page.