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Short Term Health Plans

Short term health insurance is usually sought by people when they are between permanent insurance plans, for example, between jobs, or when they are laid off, or while waiting to have a group policy. Short term health insurance plans may not be a lasting solution to one’s health care needs, but they can ensure continuity of coverage. Such short term plans usually cover an insurer for a short period, normally from one to six months, although a few insurers can agree to extend their coverage up to 12 months. Although you can renew your plan, short-term health plan usually cannot continue for more than 365 total days. Naturally, these plans are suitable for those who end up "between" insurance plans. For example, a short term health plan will come in extremely handy for a recent college graduate who may no longer be covered by his/her parents' policy and may not have a job offering benefits yet. Living without coverage can mean delaying necessary treatments or incurring expensive medical bills; so a short term health insurance plan would provide coverage till he/she can obtain long-term coverage through an employer or a private plan.

If you plan to qualify for short term health plans, most insurers will require you to be in fairly good health and under 65 years of age. Some plans, however, can extend coverage to dependents under the age of 19, or under 25 for dependents who are full-time students.
Short term health plans usually do not cover pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are different in different states, but most describe it as any illness or health problem that you have been diagnosed with during the last three to five years. Short term health plans generally include: your choice of doctors and hospitals, charges for inpatient and outpatient services by medical pros, hospital room and board charges, intensive care unit charges, ambulance services, diagnostic lab exams and x-rays and prescription drugs. In general, short term plans do not include: pre-existing conditions, routine medical tests, dental care, pregnancy and childbirth expenses, intentionally self-inflicted injury, expenses not medically necessary and medical expenses outside the United States.

You are likely to incur some medical costs if you become injured or chronically ill while covered by short term health plan. The costs will depend on your deductible amount. Your insurer will not begin to pay you any of the costs until after the first deductible amount in expenses. So it is better to opt for a low deductible even though it means higher premium. Some plans may not cover all of your medical expenses either. You may be expected to pay 20% while the insurance covers the other 80%, for instance. Before you select a plan, you must know how much of your expenses will be covered. Other costs, such as prescriptions, are typically not covered by your policy either.

Apart from insurance companies, some professional organizations and associations offer short term health plans as well. Such a coverage can often be implemented immediately, on many occasions the same day that one’s application is received. Many insurance companies may also offer you a choice between a single payment or a monthly premium, as well as a choice of plan deductible limits. They may also offer you free look period (usually the first 10 days after you receive the policy) to decide whether you would like to keep or cancel your policy for a full refund.



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