Unless you prefer the affordable, preppy style of Gap clothing, the word “gap” usually has a negative connotation. The income inequality gap, a gap between your teeth, the gap in the sidewalk. One place you really don’t want to have a gap is in your health insurance coverage.

Sadly, life isn’t fair and things don’t always work out perfectly. It would be great if everyone had continuous health insurance coverage, but things happen. Life happens. You might lose your job and before you get a new job, you have a gap in your coverage. There is nothing wrong with this, it happens to everyone at some point. But what do you do if there were to happen?

If you know you have a small gap in between the end of your current health insurance coverage and when your new policy kicks in, you have options.

What is Short-Term Health Insurance?

Short-term health insurance is exactly what the name would suggest. It is temporary coverage that is meant to give people health insurance when someone is in between coverage. It’s not meant to offer comprehensive coverage, just catastrophic coverage until your new policy kicks in.

Your short-term health insurance coverage won’t offer preventative care. You won’t have access to services like immunizations, physicals, or dental and vision.

Exactly how “short” is short-term health insurance? It depends on how long you need coverage, but it typically spans anywhere from as little as 30 days all the way up to 12 months. However, because the coverage is temporary, it’s best used for the minimal amount of time you need it.

Drawbacks of Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance coverage isn’t perfect. In fact, there are a great deal of drawbacks that make it a less than optimal option. However, when used for the purpose as a stop-gap solution, they’re a great value.

Short-term health insurance does not count as minimal coverage according to the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, you’re still subject to fee for not having health insurance. If you were to lose your short-term coverage, you wouldn’t be eligible for special enrollment either.

In fact, short-term health insurance is similar to what health insurance was like before the Affordable Care Act. Plans are non-renewable, insurers don’t have to renew your plan. Nor do they have to cover pre-existing conditions. You can be denied coverage. If you don’t disclose your pre-existing condition, you can be denied payment or dropped. In fact, you can be denied short-term coverage for non-health reasons.

Despite all that, short-term health insurance is still a good option. If you’re in a situation like waiting for coverage to start, traveling outside of your network area, or transitioning out of your parent’s plan, short-term health insurance is a perfect solution.

Life is too unpredictable to go without health insurance. Bad things happen to good people and you might be left with a brief time without insurance. Don’t leave your health and financial future at risk. Get short-term health insurance and cover your bases. If you have questions about your short-term health insurance, contact a qualified health insurance agent and get all your questions answered.

Image Courtesy of Patrick Tomasso

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