Last Updated on 13 February 2020

Temporary Medical Insurance – A Brief Guide

Temporary medical insurance can be a decent solution, but is surely something that’s only meant to be used in a transition-like stage.  If you’re looking for a short-term medical insurance solution, perhaps you can get temporary medical insurance before things settle down a bit – leading to a permanent plan.

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Why Temporary Medical Insurance?

Temporary medical insurance (or short-term medical insurance) is found in a number of typical situations.  Imagine your son or daughter finishes off his or her residency for school in an area that is not covered.  It it’ll only be for a few months, temporary medical  insurance might be right.  Here are some common situations:

  • School: as in the previous example, insurance may run out in school, and a solution is needed until a full-time job is secured
  • Laid off and/or between employers: perhaps the most common situation, when your employer will not cover you
  • Prior to a position: maybe you had it figured out, but your job’s insurance plan won’t kick into gear early enough

Complications with employers and scenarios that take you out of your coverage zone for a while are common.  Temporary health insurance can make for a quick solution.

The Good and the Bad

Temporary medical insurance is quite easy to obtain.  You may need a medical certificate confirming that you are in good health, but you can often be confirmed for coverage overnight.

Also, temporary medical insurance is less expensive than your typical permanent one (based on the pure cost of the plan).  Of course, you might be able to guess why this is so.

The coverage that it provides isn’t that great.  It certainly covers many medical services: outpatient surgeries, prescriptions, x-ray and lab services, in-patient hospital services, and more.  You will also be able to select from plans that fit your needs.

Typically, however, there are a number of items that are typically not found on temporary health policies.  The following represent some that you can expect to be missing, at least without an extra charge:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Routine office visits and/or preventative care
  • Maternity coverage

Temporary insurance is for illness or accident only, and can cause complications when some of these scenarios arise.  Pre-existing conditions are notorious on this list; if you have one, you might want to look for policies that offer some coverage, and expressly find out how such a claim would work.

Alternatives and Shopping for Temporary Health Insurance

Make no mistake, temporary health insurance is not comprehensive.  And while it may be less expensive than typical plans, the overall cost is certainly more.

If your situation is one that involves no specific time line, you should strongly consider an individual plan or some other alternative.  Some people will renew or find another temporary plan when it ends; this cycle is not good if you want to be covered adequately.

For some, temporary health insurance is a great solution in between plans.  If you are in this group, you should obtain some quotes and compare coverage.  Some plans could provide coverage for areas that you need, such as in areas that are not usually found with temporary policies.

As you might expect, you should compare premiums and other information alongside of the actual coverage of the plan.  Look around to get a feel for your price range, along with what companies have to offer.  With a little time spent on research, you’ll find a plan that suits your needs and your budget.


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