Temporary health insurance, also known as short-term health, benefits people who have a gap in their health insurance coverage for whatever reason. This may occur when a student graduates from college and is no longer eligible to remain on his or her parents’ health plan. People also frequently experience brief gaps in coverage when they change jobs or when they are between jobs. Finally, someone who retires at the age of 64 may benefit from short-term medical coverage while waiting to become eligible for Medicare at the age of 65.
Whatever your reason for needing short-term health insurance, there are a few factors to consider when selecting an insurance company.
Length of Policy
A short-term policy lasts anywhere from one month to six months. In most cases it is not renewable after the benefit period has ended, however, some companies, like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois allow an individual to apply for another benefit period. You’ll get the best price if you choose the shortest term possible. For instance, if you have a new job and know you can be insured by your new employer in thirty days, it makes since to purchase a one-month policy instead of a six-month policy.
On the other hand, don’t gamble with your healthcare coverage. If you have no idea how long it will take you to find a job, go ahead and purchase the full six months.
The deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket before the insurance plan takes effect. The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be. Before you automatically choose the highest deductible (usually around $5000), take a moment to look at your finances. Could you really afford to pay $5000 if you were injured or ill? If that would break you financially, opt for the lower deductible and higher premium.
Once your deductible has been met and your short-term insurance policy becomes effective, you will still be expected to make a co-payment on most of the services you receive. Typically, the insurance plan covers 80 percent of the cost of care, leaving you responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
Many temporary plans are PPOs, meaning they have a list of preferred providers. If you stay within their network, the benefits are excellent, but straying outside of the network, except in the case of a medical emergency, can double your deductible and reduce your benefit to 50 percent of the cost of care rather than 80 percent.
Prescription Drug Formulary
Each temporary health plan has a list of medications it will and will not cover. Sometimes the list is divided into tiers. The first tier usually consists of generic drugs and has the lowest copay. The second and third tiers consist of expensive generic and brand name medicines. Your copay for these medications may be higher.
These are all areas to consider when choosing your temporary health insurance plan. It’s a good idea to do some online research and then contact one of the licensed insurance specialists at Senior Services of Illinois, Inc, (SSI), an independent, authorized senior general agent for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. SSI has been providing health care insurance solutions for over 15 years and its insurance specialists are knowledgeable and trained in all aspects of health insurance, which makes them a valuable resource in guiding individuals towards a plan that suits their needs.