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Insurance and Healthcare Consultant

Tammy Burns is an experienced health insurance advisor. She is ACA-certified for health insurance and other ancillary, life, and annuity product.

Short-Term-Health-Insurance-Badge

Short-term health insurance offers coverage for a short time, usually between one month and a year. Enrollment is open all year, allowing you to start a plan any time you may need to bridge a gap in your insurance coverage. Short-term insurance plans tend to offer a lower monthly premium but more limited coverage.

Compare the top five companies with short-term health insurance, their ratings, and the benefits and drawbacks associated with each.

What You Should Know About Short-Term Health Insurance Plans

  • Temporary coverage: Short-term medical insurance can cover a lapse in major health insurance coverage, such as when you’re between jobs, are waiting on the Open Enrollment Period, or are waiting for Medicare coverage to kick in. You don’t need a special enrollment period to sign up for short-term coverage. This type of insurance is not intended to have a long coverage period, and some states limit how long you can carry a short-term health insurance plan.
  • Limited coverage: Short-term health insurance is not comprehensive medical insurance. It typically excludes coverage for preexisting medical conditions, mental health care, pregnancy, and other conditions. Short-term plans may not cover preventive care or prescriptions and may have waiting periods for some benefits.
  • No ACA compliance: Short-term medical plans aren’t required to meet Affordable Care Act standards. That affects what your plan covers because it doesn’t have to offer minimum essential coverage. It also means short-term plans don’t count as qualifying prior coverage if you want to enroll in a long-term ACA plan.
  • Premiums are lower than long-term plans: Though short-term coverage is lower than a traditional health plan, monthly premiums are lower, too.
Health insurance company Financial strength rating Customer satisfaction rating Value rating Coverage rating Overall rating
Everest Re: Best for affordability 5 5 4 3 4.3
IHC Health Group: Best availability 4.3 3 4 4 3.8
National General: Best for covered benefits 5 5 4.5 4 4.6
Pivot Health: Best for coverage options 5 3 3.5 4 3.9
UnitedHealthcare: Best provider network 4.3 5 4.5 4 4.4

How We Rate Health Insurance Companies

Financial strength: The financial strength rating is based on the insurance company’s AM Best financial strength rating. AM Best is a credit rating agency specializing in the insurance industry, which rates an insurer’s ability to meet ongoing obligations.

Customer satisfaction: The customer satisfaction rating takes into account Kaiser Permanente’s Better Business Bureau, National Committee for Quality Assurance, and Consumer Affairs ratings. These ratings are calculated using customer complaints and satisfaction ratings.

Value: The value rating calculates an insurer’s overall value based on monthly premium, annual deductible, office visit cost, ER visit cost, and annual maximum out-of-pocket cost.

Coverage: The coverage rating considers the insurer’s availability of coverages, plan types, and network size.

What Is the Best Short-Term Health Insurance?

Short-term health insurance plans are designed to cover you for a limited period, usually from a month to a year. Short-term plans fill a gap in coverage from job loss, life changes, change of employment, a move, or any other event that causes you to lose your insurance temporarily.

Is short-term health insurance cheaper than other plans?

Short-term health insurance plans are cheaper than standard health insurance, but they do not offer the same benefits. Monthly premiums vary based on your age, location, insurer, and coverage needs.

How long can short-term health insurance plans last?

Short-term health insurance usually lasts anywhere from a month to a year. Still, some plans can last for up to three years with renewals depending on state regulations and your insurance company’s regulations.

What are the limitations of short-term health insurance?

Short-term health insurance does not have to cover essential health benefits. The ACA does not require short-term plans to cover essential health benefits such as maternity care, mental health care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and preexisting conditions. The plans may also limit the amount paid for certain services.

As the name implies, short-term health insurance lasts for a limited time. Depending on your insurance company and state laws, you may not have a lot of time before a short-term plan runs out.

Everest Re Short-Term Health Insurance: Best for affordability

Everest-Re-Short-Term-Health-Insurance

Everest Re Health Insurance Overview
Overall rating: 4.3
Company founded 1973
Coverage area Available in a limited number of states
A.M. Best rating A+
BBB rating A+
NCQA accreditation No
NCQA rating N/A
Preexisting condition coverage No
Discount program No
Prescription coverage No
Preventive coverage No
Provider network A large number of medical providers but no network requirement

Everest Re provides some of the lowest-cost programs in the short-term health insurance field with a wide range of deductibles. Its programs are only available in a limited number of states. Learn more about Everest Re short-term health insurance options.

Is Everest Re a Good Insurance Provider?

What we like about Everest Re short-term insurance plans: The drawbacks of Everest Re short-term insurance plans:
  • Low-cost short-term insurance plans
  • Wide range of deductible choices
  • No pre-existing condition coverage
  • No prescription drug coverage
  • Only available in a limited number of states

How is Everest Re Rated?

When you’re searching for the right short-term insurance plan to suit your situation, trusted ratings and reviews can help you make better, wiser choices. See how we rated Everest Re:

Financial strength rating: 5 Customer satisfaction rating: 5 Value rating: 4 Coverage rating: 3

IHC Health Group Short-Term Health Insurance: Best availability

IHC-Health-Group-Short-Term-Health-Insurance

IHC Health Group Health Insurance Overview
Overall rating: 3.8
Company founded 1975
Coverage area Operating in 35 states
A.M. Best rating A-
BBB rating F
NCQA accreditation No
NCQA rating N/A
Preexisting condition coverage No
Discount program No
Prescription coverage Yes
Preventive coverage Yes
Provider network A large number of medical providers with in-network and out-of-network options

Independence Holding Co. (IHC) Health Group offers insurance plans nationwide, but state laws dictate where short-term health insurance is available. Check with your state’s laws to see if IHC short-term insurance is an option for you. IHC offers benefits not available in other short-term insurance plans such as diagnostic tests and x-rays. Learn more about IHC to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Is IHC a Good Insurance Provider?

What we like about IHC short-term insurance plans: The drawbacks of IHC short-term insurance plans:
  • Widely available
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Telemedicine plan available
  • No pre-existing conditions coverage
  • Meager customer service rating

How is IHC Health Rated?

When you’re searching for the right short-term insurance plan to suit your situation, trusted ratings and reviews can help you make better, more intelligent choices. See how we rated IHC:

Financial strength rating: 4.3 Customer satisfaction rating: 3 Value rating: 4 Coverage rating: 4

National General Short-Term Health Insurance: Best for covered benefits

National-General-Short-Term-Health-Insurance

National General Health Insurance Overview
Overall rating: 4.6
Company founded 1920
Coverage area Available in 34 states and DC
A.M. Best rating A+
BBB rating A+
NCQA accreditation No
NCQA rating N/A
Preexisting condition coverage No
Discount program No
Prescription coverage Yes
Preventive coverage No
Provider network Large

National General offers short-term insurance plans that include ambulance coverage, urgent care, emergency room visits, and some preventive care. In business for over 100 years, the company is in a strong financial position with an excellent rating from A.M. Best and has a good customer service rating, earning an A+ with the BBB. National General’s network options provide broad coverage while traveling. Be sure to check all National General options carefully before making your decision.

Is National General a Good Insurance Provider?

What we like about National General short-term insurance plans: The drawbacks of National General short-term insurance plans:
  • Long-established company on solid financial footing
  • Some plans include telemedicine and discounts for gym memberships
  • The main plan does not cover some essential health conditions such as pregnancy and prescription drugs, but prescription drugs can be added through one of the supplemental plans

How is National General Health Rated?

When you’re searching for the right short-term insurance plan to suit your situation, trusted ratings and reviews can help you make better, smarter choices. See how we rated National General:

Financial strength rating: 5 Customer satisfaction rating: 5 Value rating: 4 Coverage rating: 4

Pivot Health Short-Term Health Insurance: Best for low-cost deductible

Pivot-Health-Short-Term-Health-Insurance

Pivot Health-Health Insurance Overview
Overall rating: 3.9
Company founded 2015
Coverage area Available in 26 states and Washington, DC
A.M. Best rating A+
BBB rating C
NCQA accreditation No
NCQA rating N/A
Preexisting condition coverage No
Discount program No
Prescription coverage Yes
Preventive coverage Yes
Provider network Large, but some plans have options for using any doctor you want

Pivot Health has various short-term health plans, including plans that allow you to choose any medical provider that accepts your plan. In addition to prescription coverage, Pivot Health’s short-term insurance plans offer a telemedicine plan, which is unique among its competitors. The telemedicine plan allows you to speak to a medical professional whenever you need to. Learn more about Pivot Health short-term health insurance.

Is Pivot Health a Good Insurance Provider?

What we like about Pivot Health short-term insurance plans: The drawbacks of Pivot Health short-term insurance plans:
  • Low-cost or no deductible on some plans
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Telemedicine plan available
  • No pre-existing condition coverage
  • A large number of complaints against the company

How is Pivot Health Rated?

When you’re searching for the right short-term insurance plan to suit your situation, trusted ratings and reviews can help you make more informed choices. See how we rated Pivot Health:

Financial strength rating: 5 Customer satisfaction rating: 3 Value rating: 3.5 Coverage rating: 4

UnitedHealthcare Short-Term Health Insurance: Best overall short-term insurance

UnitedHealthcare-Short-Term-Health-Insurance

UnitedHealthcare Health Insurance Overview
Overall rating: 4.4
Company founded 1977
Coverage area Short-term insurance plans are available in 19 states
A.M. Best rating A-
BBB rating A+
NCQA accreditation Yes
NCQA rating 4.5 to 2.5
Preexisting condition coverage No
Discount program Yes
Prescription coverage Yes
Preventive coverage Yes
Provider network
  • 1.3 million physicians and care professionals
  • 6,500 hospitals and care facilities nationwide

UnitedHealthcare offers short-term health insurance plans with a range of benefits such as dental coverage and prescription drug coverage. Short-term plans are available in 19 states with broad access to UnitedHealthcare’s large provider network. Learn more about UnitedHealthcare’s short-term insurance to see if it’s right for you.

Is UnitedHealthcare a Good Insurance Provider?

What we like about UnitedHealthcare short-term insurance plans: The drawbacks of UnitedHealthcare short-term insurance plans:
  • Dental coverage, including cosmetic dentistry such as teeth whitening
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Can get coverage for 12 months+
  • Limited pre-existing conditions coverage
  • Only available in 19 states

How is UnitedHealthcare Rated?

When you’re searching for the right short-term insurance plan to suit your situation, trusted ratings and reviews help you make better, smarter choices. See how we rated UnitedHealthcare:

Financial strength rating: 4.3 Customer satisfaction rating: 5 Value rating: 4.5 Coverage rating: 4

How to Compare Short-Term Health Insurance Companies

It’s always worth it to compare your options for short-term health insurance. Coverage choices vary, and the plan you choose matters, even if it’s just for a short time. Take these steps to determine which short-term health insurance plan is the best for you:

  • Find plans available in your area: Not every short-term health plan is available nationwide. Check with each insurer for availability where you live.
  • Research the network: Some short-term health insurance plans offer you the choice of using only in-network providers, plans that include out-of-network providers and plans that have no network requirements at all. Find network options that suit both your financial situation and your health.
  • Research prescription drug coverage: Many short-term health insurance plans provide prescription drug coverage, but not all do. When looking into a short-term health insurance plan, ask about its prescription drug policy, whether it is provided in the coverage or if you must buy a supplemental plan.
  • Compare deductibles: Your health situation will dictate the kind of deductible you should choose. If you don’t plan on major health expenses during your short-term plan coverage period, a high-deductible plan may be appropriate. But if you expect you’ll need significant coverage, a lower-deductible plan could help you save, even if the premium is higher.
  • Compare copays: What’s true for deductibles is also true for copays. If you plan to see a doctor and get care, it may be worth paying more for a plan that can offer low copays.
  • Research dental coverage: Dental is an added benefit that you may or may not need. Find out if the plans you’re considering have this benefit.
  • Check insurer ratings: You want to work with an insurance company in a strong financial position that’s highly rated by consumers. Ratings can give you the confidence of knowing that the health care coverage you’ve purchased will be reliable.

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