February 12, 2013
Life has a cruel and somewhat ironic way of waiting until we are at our most vulnerable point before unleashing its most devastating events. This is especially true in the case of those who undergo catastrophic, unexpected health issues while riding out a gap in their health insurance coverage.
An all too common example of this is the recently-hired employee who must wait 30, 60, 90, and in some cases, a full 365 days before their employer-provided health insurance plan goes into effect. Anyone who has ever found themselves in this odd position knows how nerve-wracking it can be. On one hand, you want to live your life in the carefree manner you've become accustomed to. On the other hand, you know that if something goes horribly wrong it has the potential to ruin you financially. At the end of the day most people simply end up taking their chances and accepting the coverage gap with a grain of salt.
This, as far too many people have found out, can be dangerous. Not only do you run the risk of losing everything in your savings account; you also put yourself in a very compromising position from a longevity perspective. Let's not kid ourselves, folks. Hospitals can, and will, turn people away without the proper healthcare coverage. Going without health insurance in this day and age is akin to walking across an eight lane highway blindfolded at 4:00 am on a Tuesday. Technically there's a chance you might make it; but if you do get hit, it's definitely not going to be pretty.
In all fairness, it's not right to blame Joe or Jane employee for this. Because the simple fact is that most people don't know (and why would they) that short term coverage exists, let along that it's an affordable option. At our Chicago health insurance office, short term health insurance is something that we go out of our way to explain to members who sign up for a new company-provided group plans. Everyone has the right to know that playing it safe while remaining uninsured until their coverage takes effect is not the only option. Short term health insurance is an affordable and smart way to stay protected while waiting for a more permanent policy to kick in.
What Exactly is Short Term Health Coverage?
So, what is short term health insurance? In the simplest of terms it is a policy which provides temporary protection for a designated period of time. Let's say that you recently changed jobs, or you're a student entering the workforce for the first time. It is not uncommon for an employer to require that you work for the company for a short duration before offering health benefits. In most cases this grace period is typically 30 days, though some employers do not make healthcare benefits available for several months. Anyone familiar with Murphy's law will agree that the worst thing a person can do is attempt to "play it safe" during the uninsured window. Bad things rarely happen at convenient times, and health is certainly no exception.
Short Term Health Coverage is Affordable!
Another thing that most people don't realize is that short-term health insurance in Illinois is more affordable than you might assume. Compared to the cost of having to pay for an entire hospital bill or emergency room visit in full, there is really no good reason not to have it. Short term health insurance is a small price to pay for having the peace of mind in knowing that you'll be protected until your full-time coverage kicks in.
If you're in the Chicago area and would like to know more about the benefits of short term health insurance, there is plenty of information available in the health library section of our site.