Finding the best short-term health insurance company to meet your needs can be challenging. When it comes to your health, you want a policy you can depend on and one that is worth the money. By checking out short-term health insurance companies, you can determine which ones have a solid reputation and you have a better chance of ending up with a product that will meet your needs.
What You Need to Know
Once you have some insight into the background of the short-term health insurance companies, you want to take a look at the policy offerings to see which one is the best for you.
Note the monthly premium price. One of the most important factors is the affordability of the product. Make sure you can handle the monthly cost and you are comfortable with what you are getting for your money.
See how robust the benefits are. Compare short-term health insurance policies from multiple companies so you can get an idea of what is standard coverage and what is not. Make sure the company you go with offers a policy that is either comparable or more full-featured than the others.
Calculate total out-of-pocket expenses. Your monthly premium is likely not the only cost you’ll be faced with. You may also have to pay expenses such as a deductible or a co-payment each time you visit a doctor.3 Before deciding on which company you’re going to go with, make sure your total out-of-pocket costs are reasonable and affordable.
When assessing health insurance companies, there are a number of factors you want to consider.
An insurance policy is only good if the insurance company has the money to pay out on a policy if needed. To gauge the financial strength of an insurance company, you don’t want to take their word for it. Instead, check the financial rating of the insurance company by an independent agency that rates them such as the A.M. Best Company or Fitch Ratings.1 A.M. Best rates insurance companies on a scale from A+ to D, with A+ indicating the company has a “superior ability” to meet ongoing insurance obligations.2
Another factor to consider is the age of the company. If an insurance company has been in business for a relatively long period of time, they have a history behind them that a newer insurance company simply does not have. While it’s true that a company can fail at any time, an older company likely has a stronger foundation.
When assessing short-term health insurance companies, you may also want to look at if they sell other types of policies such as individual health insurance policies and limited benefit plans. The more full-featured their policy offerings, the more robust the short-term health insurance company is likely to be.
Who Are the Established Top Short-Term Health Insurance Carriers?
If you’re looking for a short-term health insurance policy, these carriers should be on your list to consider:
- Companion Life
- Everest Reinsurance Company
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National Health Insurance Company (National General)
- UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)
Companion Life Insurance Company (Pivot Health)
Founded in 1971,4 Companion Life Insurance Company underwrites short-term policies for Pivot Health5 and enjoys an A+ rating from A.M. Best.6 Pivot Health is a division of HealthCare, Inc. With Pivot Health short-term health insurance plans, you can see any doctor without being confined to a network, as well as enjoy benefits such as telehealth or video consultations with doctors7 — all for typically half of what you would pay for an individual health insurance plan, Pivot Health estimates.8 The most basic plan for a 35-year old woman with no children who lives in Dallas costs $90.35 per month.9 In addition to short-term health insurance policies, Pivot Health offers solutions to other healthcare needs such as dental and vision plans.10
Everest Reinsurance Company
Everest prides itself in having been in business for more than 40 years,11 and has an A+ rating from A.M. Best to show for it.12 Their short-term health insurance plans can tide you over if you’re in a pinch with co-pay options of $30, $40 or $50 and deductible options that range from $1,000 to $10,000.13 For a 35-year-old woman living in Dallas who has no children and does not smoke, the most basic plan comes with a $102.38 premium per month.14
However, prescriptions aren’t covered unless they are prescribed during a covered hospitalization, and you’ll need to get dental and eye care taken care of elsewhere.15 In addition to short-term policies, Everest offers accident coverage, as well as disability income protection for professional sports teams.16
Independence American Insurance Company
The Independence American Insurance Company has been in the insurance business for more than 30 years17, and holds an A- rating by A.M. Best.18 Their short-term medical plans cover such health needs as laboratory tests, emergency room visits and hospital room and board though they do not cover sport-related injuries or pre-existing conditions.19
When it comes to cost, the Independence American Insurance Company points to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ estimate that short-term plans will save you 31.5%, on average, of what you would pay for a traditional policy.20 For a 35-year-old childless woman in Dallas who does not use tobacco, plans start at $138.27 per month.21 In addition to short-term plans, the Independence American Insurance Company offers Hospital and Surgical Indemnity plans, and Dental and Vision plans.22
National Health Insurance Company (National General)
National Health Insurance Company was incorporated in 1965 and is one of four companies that underwrite health insurance products for National General Accident & Health.23 The other companies are Integon National Insurance Company, Integon Indemnity Corporation and Time Insurance Company, and the four of them have scored an A- (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best.24
National General’s short-term health insurance policies are either through the Aetna network or Cigna’s PPO network, depending upon which state you live in.25 With monthly premiums starting at $122.84 for a 35-year-old woman living in Dallas with no children and no smoking history,26 you can choose coverage terms as short as 30 days or as long as three years.27 While you can expect out-of-pocket costs such as $50 per doctor visit and a $10 copay for generic prescription drugs28 National General also offers Supplemental Coverage plans that would limit the amount you would have to pay if those costs started to add up.29
UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule Insurance Company)
In 2003, UnitedHealthcare acquired Golden Rule Insurance Company, and thanks to that acquisition, the joint company has 75 years of experience selling insurance.30 In 2019, UnitedHealthcare added HealthMarkets Insurance Agency and Chesapeake Life Insurance Company to its portfolio.31
With an A, or “Excellent” rating from A.M. Best,32 UnitedHealthcare offers a range of short-term plans, as well as TriTerm medical insurance for those who want short-term coverage for up to three years.33 UnitedHealthcare also bundles certain insurance offerings together such as their Accident and Dental Insurance Bundle for unexpected medical expenses and preventive dental work.34 For a 35-year-old woman in Dallas who does not smoke and has no children, plans start at $89.40.35
Who Are Additional Carriers Who Offer Short-Term Health Insurance Plans?
If you can’t find what you are looking for, these carriers also provide short-term offerings:
The North River Insurance Company
Like Companion Life Insurance Company, the North River Insurance Company underwrites policies for Pivot Health, a division of HealthCare Inc. North River Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Crum & Forster36, an insurance provider that has been around since 1822.37
LifeShield National Insurance Company
United States Fire Insurance Company
What is Short-Term Health Insurance
Sometimes a traditional health insurance policy is not in your best interest. Maybe you’re temporarily between jobs and don’t want to pay a lot of money for COBRA. Perhaps you missed the open enrollment period and you have to wait until the next one. A short-term health insurance policy can tide you over so you have a limited amount of medical coverage if you need it.
How Does Short-Term Health Insurance Work?
You determine how long you want the coverage for, such as if you want the policy for 30 days or as long as 364 days. While a single plan can not top 364 days, it can be renewed up to three times, giving you approximately three years of coverage.40
Short-term health insurance policies typically cover doctor visits and emergency care. However, it’s just as important to know what they don’t cover. Short-term health insurance policies do not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so you won’t have coverage for preexisting conditions.41 You also might not have prescription drug coverage unless you’re prescribed medication for a condition diagnosed under the plan. Also, preventive care may or may not be covered.42
Who Should Consider Short-Term Health Insurance?
A person between jobs, a college student who’s about to graduate and get health insurance through his or her first job, or a person who missed their company’s open enrollment season might want to consider short-term health insurance. Anyone who’s relatively healthy and needs a policy to tide them over until they can get a more full-featured plan might find a short-term plan to be helpful.
Who Should Not Consider Short-Term Health Insurance?
If you have preexisting conditions or you need a long-term option for health care, you should skip the short-term health insurance options and look for a plan that can give you more protection, whether it is through your employer or through the Health Insurance Exchange.
Choosing the right health insurance plan is always a serious matter. If you’re biding time and need limited coverage temporarily, look for a short-term health insurance plan that gives you the most coverage for your money. However, have a strategy in mind to find a more full-featured plan to cover your health insurance needs for the long-term.