If you live in Tennessee and don’t have health insurance, you’re not alone. An estimated 6.9% of Tennessee residents don’t have health insurance.1 Of those, 81% say affordability is the main reason they don’t have a healthcare plan.2
Short-term medical insurance plans could help you get coverage now. Whether you’re between jobs or waiting for a new plan to start, short-term healthcare helps fill the gap in long-term coverage.
What Is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health plans are temporary insurance plans that help protect you from high-cost medical bills. A short-term plan serves to fill in gaps between other medical insurance plans.
For example, you start a new job. The health coverage from your new employer starts after three months. While you wait for coverage from your job, you could get a short-term plan to help protect you in case of an accident or serious illness.
However, a temporary insurance policy doesn’t have the same coverage as other types of health insurance. Most short-term plans are designed to cover catastrophic accidents or injuries. They’re not required to cover preexisting conditions or the essential benefits laid out in Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations.
Tennessee doesn’t add restrictions to temporary insurance plans. Instead, the state chooses to follow the basic federal regulations for short-term plans.3 This means Tennessee short-term plans must:
- Be less than 12 months initially
- Be renewable up to 36 months
- Contain a notice that clearly states the type of coverage you’re getting
How Much Do Short-Term Plans Cost in Tennessee?
Short-term plans tend to be less expensive than an ACA plan because they’re not required to cover as many medical conditions.
The cost of a short-term policy in Tennessee varies. Health insurance companies look at factors like your age, gender and where you live to determine how much your plan costs.
The costs you might see with your health insurance plan include:
- Premiums: This is the price you pay each month to be enrolled in your plan. For a 30-year-old female in Nashville, premium prices range from as little as $80/month to over $300/month.
- Deductibles: A deductible is an amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before your health insurance plan pays for expenses. The amount of your deductible depends on the plan you choose. You can save money on your deductible by choosing a more expensive plan. On the other hand, you can cut your monthly premium costs by going for a plan with a higher deductible. Most short-term insurance in Tennessee has a deductible of at least $1,000. Deductibles for some plans are over $10,000.
- Copayment: Copayments are fixed amounts you pay for specific services or procedures. For example, you might pay $25 each time you visit the doctor. Your copayment is set by a contract between your health insurance company and your doctor’s office. Copayments don’t usually count toward your deductible.
- Coinsurance: Coinsurance is the percent of a covered medical service you pay after meeting your deductible. Let’s say you’ve met your deductible and now need a covered procedure that costs $1,000. Your coinsurance is 30%, so you’ll pay 30% of the cost, or $300. Your insurance pays the remaining $700. Coinsurance for short-term plans in Tennessee typically ranges from 20%-30%.
How Do You Buy Short-Term Health Plans?
Once you decide to get short-term insurance, you need to know how to sign up.
The biggest struggle to buying short-term health insurance is knowing where to look. Not all health insurance providers offer short-term plans in Tennessee. You can start by searching for private insurance companies that provide a short-term option.
Tennessee Short-Term Health Insurance Providers
Start your search for short-term health plans by getting quotes from different insurance companies. Several companies provide short-term coverage in Tennessee, including:
- National General
- Companion Life
- Independence American Insurance Company
Your location might also play a role in which companies have short-term plans available for you. Different areas within Tennessee may have different plans or providers.
Need help finding the right short-term plan? Let us help you get a short-term insurance plan today.
Is Short-Term Medical Insurance Right for You?
Temporary insurance is a great way to bridge the gap between primary medical insurance plans. You might want to consider a short-term healthcare policy if you:
- Want lower costs on temporary coverage
- Need flexible enrollment periods
- Are relatively healthy and don’t have preexisting conditions
Situations where a short-term plan might be the best option include:
- Between Jobs: You’re getting ready to start a new job or are currently on the job hunt. You can use temporary medical insurance to help you cover medical bills if you have an accident before finding a job.
- Waiting for New Coverage: Short-term insurance can help you protect yourself from expensive medical costs while you wait for your new coverage to start. This might be waiting for coverage from a new job or starting Medicare after retirement.
What if Tennessee Short-Term Plans Aren’t Right for You?
Short-term health plans are less expensive than regular major medical plans, but the lower price comes from less coverage and benefits. Not everyone will benefit from short-term coverage.
You might want to skip temporary insurance and look for an ACA plan instead if you:
- Have Preexisting Conditions: Short-term plans don’t offer coverage of preexisting conditions. If you’re one of 32% of Tennessee residents with a preexisting condition, short-term insurance may not be the best option.4
- Need ACA Essential Health Benefits: Like preexisting conditions, temporary plans aren’t required to cover the 10 essential benefits. This includes services like prescription drugs, rehabilitative service and maternity care. If you need these services or expect to need them while your plan’s in place, you may want to consider an ACA plan instead.
Short-term health plans give you affordable access to temporary coverage, but they don’t cover as many procedures and services as other plan types. Carefully consider your health insurance options in Tennessee to help you decide if short-term insurance is right for you.
1. Luna, LeAnn and Emily Pratt. “The Impact of TennCare.” Haslam.utk.edu (accessed May 25, 2020).
2. “The Impact of TennCare.”
3. U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury; Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services. “Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance.” Federal Register 83, No. 150 (August 3, 2018): 38212 (accessed May 25, 2020).
4. Claxton, Gary, Cynthia Cox, Anthony Damico, Larry Levitt, and Karen Pollitz. “Pre-Existing Condition Prevalence for Individuals and Families.” kff.org, October 4, 2019 (accessed May 26, 2020).