30 Fast Facts About Short Term Health Insurance

January 1, 2010

MedSave.com is pleased to be a national leader in short term health insurance and part of the solution to our national health care dilemma. These are some of the details that make short term health insurance a valuable tool for so many people both here in the U.S. and while travelling internationally.

  1. Each of us, on average, will have seven breaks in our health insurance over a lifetime. Short term health insurance is primarily used to fill those gaps without loss of "takeover benefits" under the next plan.
  2. 16.5% of Americans under age 65 are uninsured.  Most of them are eligible for short term health insurance.
  3. 70% of Americans are covered by private health insurance and they change that insurance coverage, on average, more than seven times before age 65.  Short term medical insurance is primarily used to cover the gaps in coverage created during these periods of change.
  4. 71% of people shopping for health insurance online are currently insured and looking for better or lower priced coverage.  Short term health insurance, when selected by this group, is considered as a better alternative to COBRA coverage and other available options.
  5. 80% of short term health insurance applications are submitted online at sites like MedSave.com.
  6. This coverage is valid with any doctor or hospital; there is no required provider network.
  7. Claims may be submitted by either the medical provider (usually electronically) or the policyholder.
  8. Policies cover "ordinary and necessary medical expenses" with comparatively few internal limits, exclusions or procedural requirements (in contrast with HMOs and managed care health plans).
  9. Expenses for pre-existing medical conditions and maternity expenses are not covered.
  10. Each policy has a separate "per person" deductible so that cumulative charges below the deductible  represent the financial risk assumed by the applicant and not paid by the insurance.
  11. The price of short term health insurance is usually 40% to 60% of the price of otherwise comparable permanent coverage.  The average monthly premium of a policy issued at MedSave.com for single coverage is about $77.
  12. Most people pay month-to-month via credit card authorized online but other methods are acceptable, including electronic check, manual check or money order.
  13. Short term health insurance is exempt from many of the expensive mandated provisions of other health insurance to ensure simplicity and affordability.
  14. Typical policy lengths are 6 months, 12 months and 36 months.  In most cases consecutive policies are allowed for longer periods of coverage.
  15. Maximum policy limits are typical $1 million, although a range of $300,000 to $5 million is possible.
  16. A "Certificate of Creditable Coverage" is issued at termination of a short term health insurance policy; this is important to ensure immediate coverage of pre-existing medical conditions on the next (usually employer-provided) policy. Note that less expensive "supplemental" policies do not issue a Certificate of Creditable Coverage.
  17. Applications are usually taken online and coverage can start at midnight immediately after online enrollment.
  18. It takes about four minutes to price coverage and apply for a policy; the application includes about five screening questions about medical history.
  19. Temporary ID cards or other proof of application are sent immediately by e-mail; the policy and regular ID cards are usually mailed the next business day.
  20. Most polices provide proof of coverage by e-mail and some policies allow immediate printing of a policy and an ID card.
  21. Coverage under US short term insurance polices are distinct from the coverage provided under international policies and it is permissible (and recommended) to overlap these policies during short periods of international travel.
  22. Under US policies, coverage is valid everywhere in the United States; coverage is valid everywhere else in the world for international policies.
  23. A separate type of international short term medical policy is required outside the United states.
  24. Most people are eligible for short term health insurance but there are some exceptions. Details on eligibility requirements are included in the article titled "Eligibility for Short Term Health Insurance".
  25. Five states do not have short term medical insurance. These are Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Washington and Vermont. Residents of these states can only purchase coverage when they travel outside their home state. Once a policy is issued in any state the coverage is valid in all states, including the five states named here.
  26. The top five commercial insurance companies issue more than 95% of the total short term medical insurance; each is distinctly positioned to best serve different markets. For example, American Health Shield is most popular with students because of its simplicity and Secure STM is the choice of affluent applicants who want the absolute best coverage. Celtic and Simple STM are often chosen for their price competitiveness.
  27. Maximum length of coverage varies from six months to an unlimited term. Details are posted in the article titled "How Long Can I Be Covered By Short Term Health Insurance?".
  28. Coverage terminates at age 65 for U.S. policies; international policies may be issued at higher ages.
  29. Applicants for short term health insurance evenly span all age groups.
  30. Questions about all aspects of short term health insurance are addressed without charge by e-mail by benefits experts at OnlineAdviser service. Other information and resources can be found on the Site Map at MedSave.com.

These are general provisions - make sure to read the specific details of your policy for any possible variance from these general terms.

Other articles about short term health insurance:

Health Insurance Options for Graduating Students

Accident insurance for summer camp

American Health Shield Adds New Low Cost Deductible Options

New Lower Cost Short Term Health Insurance

What a Personnel Manager Should Know About Short Term Medical Insurance

Short Term Medical Insurance for Special Situations

Short term medical insurance online fulfillment

Six Ways to Get More From Short Term Medical Insurance

STM pricing

Surviving a Layoff

Ten Tips for Replacing Health Insurance Coverage

Understanding a Certificate of Creditable Coverage

What employee benefit managers should know about short term health insurance

What financial advisers should know about short term health insurance

Which Short Term Medical Insurance Is Best For Me?


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