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 How Long Can I Be Covered by Short Term Health Insurance?

January 1, 2010

In most cases there is no limit to the total length of time you can be covered by short term health insurance as long as you meet the usual eligibility requirements on the date of application.  See the article "Eligibility for Short Term Health Insurance" for the list of eligibility requirements.

Policies are generally issued with maximum lengths of 6 months, 12 months or 36 months.  You may generally reapply for consecutive policies to extend this period of coverage without limitation for as long as you wish, but there are a few exceptions to this rule:

California residents may have up to 185 consecutive days of coverage with one insurance company and then must have a break of 62 days without coverage or with a different insurance company before being eligible for coverage with the same insurance company.  The total period of coverage with one insurance company is 370 days.

Colorado residents may be covered by no more than 2 of the same short term medical policies within a 12 month period.

Idaho residents can re-apply for the same insurance only after a 63 day break in coverage without any insurance or with insurance from a different insurance company.

Maryland residents can be covered by short term medical insurance for a maximum of 12 consecutive months.  Then a break in coverage either without any insurance or with insurance from a different insurance company is required before re-applying with the same insurance company.

Michigan residents can be covered for 185 out of the last 365 days.  If covered for 181 consecutive days, a break in coverage of 181 days without any insurance or with a insurance from different insurance company is required before being eligible for coverage under the same insurance company.

Minnesota residents cannot apply to the same insurance company after they have been covered for a total of 185 days. 

New Hampshire residents cannot reapply for short term medical insurance if they have been covered by three or more short term medical insurance policies within the past twelve months.

North Dakota residents can re-apply with the same company only after there has been a 30 day break in coverage either without any insurance or with coverage from a different insurance company.

All States: The brand of insurance called "American Health Shield" and some short term medical policies issued by Blue Shield limit eligibility to a maximum of 12 consecutive months regardless of state of residence.

* If you face one of these limitations, the answer is simply to switch the type of insurance or the insurance company. Alternates are listed on a state-by-state basis at MedSave.com. There are usually several types of low cost health insurance available in each state, so simply change policies to comply with the eligibility requirements.

Note that each consecutive policy has its own deductible and all short term health insurance policies exclude coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.  In other words, short term health insurance is a great deal for covering problems that might happen in the future, but not useful for paying for medical care for problems that already happened in the past.

 


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