Short-term health insurance, sometimes called short-term medical or temporary health insurance, can be an affordable solution when you need temporary coverage. It’s often easy to enroll in a short-term plan, and you can apply at any time during the year. Shorter plans may last for as little as three or six months, while longer plans can last up to 364 days.1 These plans can be ideal if you’re in between jobs, can’t afford traditional health insurance premiums, or missed the open-enrollment period.
Recent legislative changes have increased the duration and renewal options for short-term plans in Arizona. In 2019, the state passed the Arizona Senate Bill 1109. That bill changed the maximum length of short-term plans from a maximum of 185 days to a maximum of 364 days. It also extended plan renewal periods from 180 days up to a maximum of 36 months.2 Thanks to this legislation, you can enjoy the benefits of a short-term plan in Arizona for an extended period, and you may have the option of renewing the policy for up to three years.
How Much do Short-Term Plans Typically Cost in Arizona?
Short-term health plans can cost less than many traditional health insurance plans. In 2017, temporary health insurance plan premiums for 30-year-olds averaged just $79, a significant savings over traditional premiums. The average deductible for temporary insurance in 2017 was only $3,434. Bronze plan deductibles averaged $6,092, meaning that a short-term plan’s deductible cost approximately $2,658 less than a traditional bronze plan.3
Keep in mind that premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and maximum out-of-pocket payments will vary from plan to plan. For example, Pivot Health offers 79 short-term plans for a 33-year-old female living in Peoria, Arizona.4
One economy plan features:
- $74.20 per month premium
- $10,000 deductible
- 30% coinsurance
- $10,000 maximum out-of-pocket
- $100,000 total policy coverage
One deluxe plan features:
- $172.30 per month premium
- $5,000 deductible
- 20% coinsurance
- $3,000 maximum out-of-pocket
- $500,000 total policy coverage
If you choose a plan with a higher premium, you may pay more upfront, but you’ll have better coverage. With a lower deductible, you’ll be responsible for a smaller contribution before the insurance provider starts to contribute to your expenses. These higher-premium plans usually have lower coinsurance rates, meaning you’ll pay a lower percentage of your bills once you’ve met your deductible. You may also have a lower maximum out-of-pocket responsibility.
Buying a higher premium plan has its advantages, but it’s important to consider which plan is truly best for you. If you don’t anticipate having high medical bills, then choosing a lower-premium plan with higher deductibles, coinsurance, and maximum out-of-pocket figures could help you save money.
How to Buy Short-Term Insurance Plans
If you’re ready to start shopping for short-term insurance, you won’t find these policies on the Arizona marketplace or on HealthCare.gov.5 Instead, you’ll need to shop with insurance providers who offer plans within your state. To identify your best options, request a quote from multiple insurance companies.
The following companies offer short-term health insurance in Arizona:
- Companion Life
- Everest Reinsurance Company
- Freedom Life Insurance Company of America
- Golden Rule Insurance Company
- Independence American Insurance Company
- LifeShield National Insurance Company
- Madison National Life Insurance Company
- National Health Insurance Company
- Standard Security Life Insurance of New York
HealthCareInsider.com can also make it easy to view a variety of plans all in one place. There are plenty of temporary health insurance plans available so that you’ll be able to choose the policy that’s right for your budget and your needs.
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for Me?
Short-term health insurance offers many benefits, but it’s not right for everyone. You’ll need to consider how all of the following factors will apply to your situation:
Short-term plans are usually highly affordable, especially when compared with traditional insurance premiums. That lower cost comes with limited coverage, though. Short-term plans are similar to major medical coverage but may have limits on doctor visits, prescriptions, and more. Some policies even have a limit on the maximum coverage that they offer per day.6 Make sure that the plan you’re considering covers the expenses that you may need.
One significant benefit of temporary health insurance is that you can enroll in a plan at any time during the year. This is ideal if you need to sign up outside of the Open Enrollment Period. With a healthcare marketplace like HealthCare.com, you can sign up online in just minutes. Your coverage can start as soon as the next day if you’re approved and your payment is accepted.
Your Overall Health
Your overall health also plays an important role in deciding whether short-term insurance is right for you. If you’re in good health and only go to the doctor once or twice a year, short-term coverage could work well.
Most temporary health insurance plans have a long list of exclusions, though, so consider your medical care needs carefully. These plans take care of your short-term needs and many limit or exclude:
- Acne or mole treatment
- Cataract surgery
- Chronic fatigue and pain treatment
- Joint replacement surgery
- Maternity care
- Mental health care
- Substance abuse treatment7
If you sustain a catastrophic injury, your bills could exceed your plan’s total policy coverage. You would be responsible for the remaining medical bills, but your insurance would have covered some costs and helped to minimize your remaining expenses.8
Situations Where Short-Term Health Insurance May Make Sense
Short-term health insurance may be ideal in some situations. If you’re in between jobs, a short-term plan can provide coverage until you’ve found a new job. Temporary plans are ideal if you’ve just started a new job and aren’t yet eligible to enroll in your employer’s insurance options.
Why Short-Term Health Insurance May Not Be Right for Me
While short-term plans have many benefits, they’re not right for everyone. These plans don’t meet Affordable Care Act standards, so they offer fewer protections than Obamacare plans. Short-term plans don’t cover preexisting conditions, and you may be declined.
Coverage can vary significantly from plan to plan. Most plans have limited prescription coverage, and repeated trips to the doctor or specialist visits may not be covered.9 Consider what your medical needs may be when deciding if a temporary plan is the right option.
Short-term health insurance could be the solution if you’re looking for an affordable policy to fill a gap in your coverage. When shopping for short-term plans, and when shopping for traditional health insurance, make sure to thoroughly read and understand each policy. With these plans’ lower costs, investing in a short-term plan that’s right for your needs could be money well spent.