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Short Term Medical Insurance For Special Situations

TA | January 1, 2010

Short term medical insurance is available to most people in the United States, but there are some important exceptions and limitations. In those cases it helps to focus on one specific type or brand of health insurance plan in order to assure eligibility.

Significant Medical History - Short term medical insurance is not appropriate if you have a recent history of serious illness, insulin-dependent diabetes, cancer, HIV or are pregnant. None of these insurance policies cover the cost of treating pre-existing medical conditions.

For medical conditions that are not likely to require immediate treatment, short term medical insurance may help "pave the way" toward eligibility of other individual and group insurance. All short term medical insurance plans provide a "Certificate of Continued Coverage" that provides protection under the federal law known as HIPAA.

If you need insurance to cover pre-existing medical conditions, contact your state's assigned risk plan mandated by HIPAA law and usually available through the Blue Cross / Blue Shield Association or your state's insurance department. Blue Cross issues both short term and permanent coverage; the HIPAA plans are all permanent type coverage. Links to all are available on each state page at MedSave.com, but OnlineAdviser does not support these enrollments. Blue Cross enrollments are supported by the member service personnel at each of these independent companies. Enrollment support is provided by telephone and mail; Internet-based pricing and enrollment is not available for HIPAA plans.

Individuals with significant medical history may also want to consider Basic Health Insurance plan insured by Markel Insurance that accepts all applicants under age 70 regardless of medical history. This insurance is designed as a supplemental coverage that helps pay the co-pays and deductibles left by primary health insurance. This is a month-to-month insurance that can be used for either a short term or long term basis. (There is no need to cancel this insurance when replacing other insurance since benefits are paid in addition to other coverage).

State of Residence - Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont residents can not buy short-term medical insurance in their home state. Since there is no requirement that the policy be issued to the primary residence, it is possible to use a temporary residential address. For example, students commonly use a school address or vacation residence as the address of record for this policy. Regardless of the state of issue, this health insurance is equally valid in all 50 states.

Non-US citizens - Long term visitors, students and workers on a H-1 visa should avoid the American Health Shield policy that is only available to US citizens. Any other short term medical insurance will be issued to non-citizen U.S. residents.

Previously declined for coverage - Applicants who have previously been declined for other health insurance are subsequently not eligible for most individual health insurance plans. The exception is Celtic Insurance plan that does not ask about previous declines so this is the obvious choice in this situation. The Secure STM only restricts applicants who have been declined in the past 12 months. Also consider the Basic Health Insurance supplemental insurance plan that accepts all applicants under age 70 (see the note above).

Diabetic - Most plans exclude all applicants with a previous diabetes diagnosis regardless of current treatment. The Secure STM plan will accept diabetics who are not insulin dependent. Also consider the Basic Health Insurance supplemental insurance plan that accepts all applicants under age 70 (see the note above) and Value Health that allows insulin controlled diabetics.

High blood pressure or cholesterol - the Secure STM plan does not ask about high blood pressure or lab tests. Those taking medications to control high blood pressure or cholesterol should consider adding a prescription drug discount card to their short term health insurance policy. (See the note below).

Overweight - avoid the insurance plans that ask about weight like Assurant Health (marketed under State Farm, USAA, Time Insurance or John Alden Insurance) and Secure STM if you are a male over 300 pounds or a female over 250 pounds, but none of the other short term medical insurance plans listed at MedSave.com ask about your height or weight on the application form. Use American Health Shield, Simple STM or Celtic Insurance.

Already Taking Prescription Drugs - Remember that all short term medical insurance excludes pre-existing prescriptions under the base policy. Some policies include a discount drug card that can be used with pre-existing medical conditions or current prescriptions. These cards do not cover the whole bill but typically save 20% to 25% of the cash price. If you are taking an expensive prescription now, consider adding the best available discount drug card available as an option on the Secure STM policy.

Need immediate ID card- Simple STM and Secure STM plans offer the ability to print an ID card and a copy of the actual issued policy immediately after an online enrollment.

Coverage in another Country - Most short-term medical insurance plans provide coverage only in North America. The International Medical Group or SRI international plans provide coverage overseas and handle any required foreign language transcription requirements and foreign currency transactions. See the International Health Insurance page for more information.


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