If you are uninsured and live in Florida, short-term health insurance is among your coverage options. Short-term plans offer a quick way to buy medical insurance year-round. However, these plans are not subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so they differ in terms of what benefits they offer and who qualifies. But in certain situations, short-term health insurance can be a good choice.
What You Need to Know
- In Florida, short-term health insurance policies last from 30 to 364 days, with renewals available up to 36 months.
- Short-term plans can be an economical coverage option, with benefits that help with unexpected medical expenses.
- You can buy short-term health insurance anytime and start coverage the day after you apply, if you qualify.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health insurance, which is formally known as short-term, limited-duration insurance, provides temporary coverage for as few as 30 days and up to one year. Plans include benefits that help protect your finances from unexpected medical bills – coverage for physician visits, urgent care visits, in-hospital care and more. Many short-term health plans have no network restrictions, which means you can choose your doctor or hospital.
If you need coverage for longer than one month, Florida law permits short-term health insurance policies to last up to 364 days.1 You can also renew coverage in Florida for up to 36 months.2 Florida’s policy and renewal limits match those set by the federal government.3
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for Me?
Depending on your financial situation, health history and coverage needs, a short-term plan may be right for you. Consider the following:
Affordability – If you do not qualify for ACA subsidies (e.g., premium tax credits, cost-sharing subsidies) and find it difficult to otherwise afford major medical insurance, short-term health insurance may provide a solution within your budget.
Enrollment – There is no open enrollment period for short-term health insurance. You can apply online whenever you need coverage. The entire process takes only a few minutes, from application to approval. If your application is accepted, you can begin coverage as soon as the next day.
Health – If you are relatively healthy and tend to see the doctor only for injuries and sudden illnesses, then a short-term plan may work well for you. While some short-term policies cover a few common preventive services, most don’t. Benefits are typically limited to healthcare you don’t see coming, which is what helps keep short-term plan premiums economical.
Circumstances – Many life situations can leave you uninsured, and short-term plans provide quick coverage. They can be especially useful when you are:
- Between jobs with benefits.
- Waiting for new coverage to begin.
- Retired and waiting for Medicare benefits to start.
- Moving to a new state.
- Turning 26 and transitioning off a parent’s health insurance.
Why Wouldn’t a Short-Term Health Plan Be Right for Me?
You may find short-term health insurance doesn’t meet your needs. While the market offers many different short-term plans, this coverage isn’t right for everyone for reasons that include:
Cost – ACA subsidies don’t apply to short-term plans. If you are eligible for a premium tax credit, you should consider buying an individual major medical plan from your state’s health insurance exchange.
Benefits – You should look into an individual major medical plan if you need coverage that includes all of the ACA-mandated essential health benefits (e.g., pregnancy, preventive care) because short-term plans do not.
Eligibility – You can be denied short-term coverage based on your health history. If you do not qualify for a short-term plan, remember that ACA plans are guaranteed issue.
Preexisting conditions – If your application is approved, your policy may still exclude care related to preexisting health conditions such as diabetes. That means you will pay 100% out of pocket for related healthcare. ACA plans must cover preexisting conditions.
How Much Do Short-Term Plans Typically Cost in Florida?
What you pay for short-term health insurance in Florida will vary. Your age, where you live, whether or not you use tobacco, and what plan you choose will all factor into your premium rate – the amount you pay for coverage.
As you compare plans, also look at deductible, coinsurance and copayment amounts – what you will pay for healthcare if you use your coverage. Also pay attention to the maximum out-of-pocket and total policy coverage limit. These are the caps on what you will pay for covered expenses and what your policy will pay for covered expenses, respectively.
The sample rates provided below are for a hypothetical 28-year-old woman who lives in Miami-Dade County (33139). She doesn’t use tobacco and has no dependents.
|$30 | $60**
|$30 | $60**
* Cost subject to deductible and coinsurance.
** Office visit to primary care doctor | urgent care center visit
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator
You will need to gather quotes to learn what plans are available to you and how much they cost.
How to Buy Short-Term Health Insurance
You can buy short-term plans online through a private marketplace such as Pivot Health, through a licensed health insurance agent, or directly from an insurance company.
Short-term health insurance is not available through the federal Health Insurance Exchange, where Florida residents can buy ACA plans.
What if I Need Extra Coverage?
Once you choose a short-term plan within your budget, you may want to consider adding supplemental health insurance. Supplemental plans provide additional coverage that helps with out-of-pocket expenses like your medical insurance deductible.
If you have an accident that results in covered medical expenses or are diagnosed with a critical illness, your supplemental policy pays lump-sum benefits. These benefits may be paid at a specific duration (e.g. per visit, per day, per week) depending on the benefit.
You can use supplemental benefits to pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as:
- Your short-term or major medical plan’s deductible and coinsurance.
- Medical bills not covered by your medical insurance.
- Daily living expenses, including rent or mortgage, childcare or car payments.
Supplemental plans often include extra non-insurance benefits such as telemedicine consultations, prescription drug discounts and vision care discounts.
What you pay for supplemental insurance depends on the plan you buy and the level of benefits you select. Below are sample quotes from Pivot Health; they are based on the earlier example of a 28-year-old woman living in Miami-Dade County (33139).
|Critical Illness Benefit
|Accident Medical Expense Benefit
|Accidental Death & Dismemberment Benefit
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator
You can buy supplemental plans the same way you can buy short-term plans – through a private marketplace website, a licensed health insurance agent or an insurance company.
Insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all purchase. Your situation determines the best coverage for you, which is why you should spend time getting quotes and comparing plan details. If you have questions about short-term or supplemental plans you’re considering, contact customer service for those insurers.