Transitions are a fact of life. Maybe you’re switching jobs, preparing to enter a graduate program, or getting off your parents’ health insurance. If you’re dealing with this kind of change, you might need short-term insurance coverage to help you through the transition.
What Is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Running from a few months to a year in length, short-term health insurance coverage is a temporary option meant to bridge the gap between the expiration of your previous benefits and the start of new medical insurance. You may be eligible if you are:
- Unemployed, but expecting a new job with benefits to begin soon.
- Waiting for Medicare eligibility to kick in.
- Getting off your parents’ health insurance and searching for your own coverage.
- Starting graduate school.
- Outside of the Open Enrollment Period for Affordable Care Act coverage.
In North Dakota, short-term medical insurance coverage is designed as a supplement to regular, long-term coverage, not a replacement for it. Short-term policies don’t address certain medical issues or cover preexisting conditions.
What You Need to Know
North Dakota residents can buy short-term plans for up to 185 days. Policies can be renewed once.
Short-term health plans can bridge coverage gaps and keep you covered between jobs or before you reach Medicare eligibility.
They may not be ideal for anyone who has major medical issues.
State-Specific Laws and Regulations
In North Dakota, short-term health insurance plans offer coverage for up to 185 days, and insurers can only renew plans once. With this renewal, 12 months is the maximum length of a short-term insurance plan in North Dakota.
How Can You Buy a Short-Term Insurance Plan in North Dakota?
Reach out to insurers who offer short-term plans in North Dakota. The following companies have filed to offer this coverage:
- Bankers Fidelity Life Insurance Company
- Continental Life Insurance Company of Brentwood, Tennessee
- Equitable Life and Casualty Insurance Company
- Medico Insurance Company
- Reserve National Insurance Company
- Standard Life and Accident Insurance Company
- The Order of United Commercial Travelers of America
- United HealthCare Insurance Company
- World Corp Insurance Company
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for You?
Before choosing temporary health insurance, make sure it’s right for your personal needs. When you’re deciding whether to commit to a policy, consider the following:
- Your budget. Short-term health insurance policies are generally more affordable than longer-term options. But this affordability can come at a cost. Short-term policies are focused on basic or emergency health needs, not ongoing, potentially pricey conditions like diabetes or cancer. If you have chronic or serious health issues, you may end up paying a lot more out-of-pocket.
- Your health. Short-term health insurance in North Dakota will best suit you if you’re in good health, and all you’re looking for is temporary coverage for doctor visits, emergency and urgent care, and preventive care and prescriptions.
- Your enrollment timeline. Since short-term insurance isn’t considered minimum essential coverage, it won’t qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period for an Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) policy when it expires. If you want to enroll in an ACA policy after your short-term health plan ends, you’ll need to wait until the standard enrollment period of November 1 to December 15.
- Your personal situation. If you’re just getting off your parents’ health insurance or awaiting new benefits down the road, you may find short-term health insurance a helpful option. But that won’t be the case with every situation. For instance, if you’re pregnant, a short-term plan won’t cover maternity care. Make sure that the limitations of short-term coverage can work for you while you figure out your next move.
Word of Advice
If you’re in good health and you need a temporary solution for your healthcare, a short-term health insurance policy can be the right answer.
When Might Short-Term Health Insurance Not be the Right Choice for You?
Keep in mind that short-term healthcare coverage was never designed to cater to all medical needs. If you think that you may be facing extensive medical issues down the road, plan to get pregnant, or have a preexisting condition such as kidney disease, this relatively low level of insurance will not be your best choice. Think about whether you’ll need the essential health benefits mandated by the ACA — which are not required for short-term coverage — before choosing a plan. These benefits include:
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Prescription drugs
- Ambulatory services
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Laboratory work
- Pediatric services
- Chronic disease management
- Rehabilitative services
If you need any of these benefits, a short-term health insurance policy isn’t going to provide enough coverage for you and you should look elsewhere.
If you’re in good health and you need a temporary solution for your healthcare, a short-term health insurance policy can be the right answer. Call the companies that offer short-term plans or check their websites to get more details and to sign up.