If you need health insurance now in Alabama, you might consider a short-term medical plan. Short-term plans provide coverage for as little as one month and up to one year. They’re available year-round and can be an economical option while you’re between major medical plans.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term medical insurance is temporary health insurance. It is designed to help cover unexpected medical bills, and benefits typically include doctor office visits, urgent care, emergency services, hospitalization and surgery.
Unlike individual major medical insurance, short-term medical insurance is not subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a result, short-term plans and ACA plans meet different needs.
What You Need to Know
Short-term health insurance benefits cover healthcare costs related to injury and unforeseen illness.
You can buy short-term when you need it, any time of year.
Alabama short-term policies last 30 to 364 days, with the ability to renew or extend coverage up to 36 months.
Is a Short-Term Plan Right for Me?
Your health, financial situation, and long-term coverage needs will determine whether or not short-term coverage makes sense. Factors to consider include:
This coverage may be an economical solution if you don’t qualify for a premium tax credit and can’t otherwise afford individual major medical insurance.
You can buy short-term health insurance any time. If your application is approved, you can choose to begin coverage as soon as the next day.
Because short-term benefits are more limited, this coverage works best for those who rely on health insurance for unexpected medical care, as opposed to those with ongoing health issues.
Short-term plans offer a quick coverage solution during transitional periods such as when you:
- Are between job-based health insurance plans.
- Are in a waiting period before workplace benefits begin.
- Turn 26 and lose coverage through a parent’s plan.
- Move to a new ZIP code and lose coverage as a result.
- Lose coverage due to divorce.
Learn why temporary health insurance can help unemployed and furloughed workers.
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Something to Consider
If you need health insurance right away and are generally healthy, a short-term health insurance plan may be an affordable option for you.
Why Wouldn’t Short-Term Health Insurance Make Sense for Me?
Short-term coverage isn’t right for everyone. You may decide to enroll instead in an ACA plan for reasons related to:
If you qualify for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, an ACA plan will provide you with the broadest benefits at the lowest cost.
Only ACA plans include all of the essential health benefits (e.g., pregnancy, preventive services). If you want access to all of these benefits or having ongoing healthcare concerns, a short-term plan won’t meet your needs.
Not everyone qualifies for a short-term policy. They are not guaranteed issue, which means you can be denied coverage based on your health history.
Unlike ACA plans, short-term plans are not required to cover preexisting health conditions such as diabetes.
If you need an ACA plan, you can apply for subsidies and enroll through Alabama’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
How Much Do Short-Term Plans Typically Cost in Alabama?
Your short-term health insurance premium will depend on factors such as the plan you select along with your age, sex, ZIP code and tobacco use.
When comparing coverage, you should also consider out-of-pocket costs such as:
- Plan deductible — What you pay out of pocket before your benefits take effect.
- Copayment — A fixed amount you pay for covered services, often at the point of service (e.g., doctor’s office, urgent care).
- Coinsurance — The percentage you pay for covered medical expenses once you meet your deductible.
The example below shows rates and cost-sharing for a 28-year-old female who lives in Birmingham (35203). She is single, has no dependents, doesn’t use tobacco, and needs a 364-day policy.
|Plan C||$133.57||$2,000||$30 | $60**||20%|
** Office visit to primary care doctor | urgent care center visit. Coinsurance applies. Additional test or other services subject to deductible and coinsurance.
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator
Alabama offers dozens of short-term health insurance plan options! Check rates now.
A Word of Advice
When deciding on a plan, think not only about the monthly premium for a plan, but what it will cost when you have to use health services.
How to Buy Short-Term Health Insurance in Alabama
Three places to buy short-term coverage are private exchanges such as Pivot Health, licensed health insurance agents, and insurance companies.
You cannot buy short-term health insurance from Alabama’s Health Insurance Marketplace. That only covers ACA plans.
Find out more about Alabama health insurance plans and resources.
What If I Need Extra Coverage?
Once you find health insurance you can afford, your deductible and other out-of-pocket costs may still be of concern. Supplemental health insurance can help.
If you experience a covered accident or critical illness, your supplemental policy pays lump-sum benefits that you can use for:
- Your health insurance deductible and coinsurance.
- Medical bills not covered by your primary health insurance.
- Living expenses such as rent or mortgage, childcare and transportation.
You can buy supplemental plans from private exchanges, licensed agents, and insurance companies. Premiums vary based on coverage, but they typically average out to a dollar or two per day.
Get more tips on how to live with high-deductible health insurance.
The example below shows supplemental plan rates for a 28-year-old female who lives in Birmingham (35203).
|Premium||Critical Illness Benefit||Accident Medical Expense Benefit||Accidental Death & Dismemberment Benefit||Hospital Benefit (Per day up to 10 days)|
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator
Need to supplement your short-term plan? Find extra coverage in Alabama.
What’s the Best Short-Term Health Insurance?
Your current situation will determine which health insurance is best for you. For example, if you’re temporarily unemployed, your needs will be different than if you are employed but don’t have group health coverage. Gather a few quotes, then compare plan details. In addition to cost, look at benefits and exclusions, network restrictions (if any), and non-insurance benefits such as telemedicine or vision discounts. And, of course, be sure to ask questions along the way.
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