What Happens if My Short-Term Health Insurance Ends While I’m Hospitalized?

Last updated August 4th, 2020

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Your temporary (or “short-term”) health insurance coverage might continue if you’re hospitalized when your plan expires. To find out if it applies to your plan, you’ll want to look for the “continuation of coverage” or “extension of benefits” provision in your plan’s policy.

Finding Your Policy: To find out if your short-term plan allows you to stay covered if you’re in the hospital when it expires, look at your insurance contract (this contract is also known as your plan’s certificate of insurance).

You will receive the contract each time you sign up for or renew your coverage. Search the contract for “total disability”, “continuation of coverage” or “extension of benefits”.

Total Disability: You can’t be expected to perform work while you’re in the hospital. This means that you are considered “totally disabled” for insurance purposes at the time.

What the Provision Means: Since you’re totally disabled in the hospital, benefits that would have otherwise been paid by your short-term insurance plan might still be covered while you’re in the hospital. Coverage typically stops after you leave the hospital, or once a set period of time ends (whichever is sooner).

You will likely still lose coverage once you’re discharged from the hospital. However, a continuation of coverage clause might stop the plan from ending during the middle of your stay.

How to Get Coverage Once Your Short-Term Plan Expires: Your temporary health insurance won’t be renewed if you’re hospitalized when it expires. Even so, there may still be easy coverage available to you. In some states, total disability can qualify you for Medicaid. Qualified patients can apply for and enroll in Medicaid at any time, including from the hospital.

Additionally, if you are rejected from Medicaid, then you may be able to enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan. Normally these plans are only available during certain times of the year.

What Is Short-Term Health Insurance? Temporary health insurance plans have many differences from Obamacare and most other health insurance. You can join a temporary plan at any time. Plans last for a maximum of 90 days (but many insurance carriers allow you to re-apply every 90 days, depending on state regulations). These plans have low monthly costs, and in some cases, high deductibles. You will have to pay a tax penalty if you rely on them for health insurance for more than 90 days, as they don’t guarantee coverage for all of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits. If you’re not familiar with short-term health insurance, learn more to see if this limited plan type is right for you.

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