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Short-Term Health Insurance in Iowa

HealthCare Writer

Updated on February 24th, 2022

At, we want to make health insurance easy to understand so you can make better decisions. This post may have links to lead generation forms or direct you to our trusted insurance brokers, which is how we make money. However, this will not influence our writing.

Are you uninsured in Iowa? If so, consider purchasing short-term health insurance. It’s an economical option that helps with unexpected healthcare costs until you secure long-term coverage. You can buy short-term plans year-round and enroll for a month or more.

Start by Adding Your ZIP Code

Availability of plans and policy duration vary by state

What is Short-Term Health Insurance? 

Short-term medical insurance is temporary health insurance designed for coverage gaps. Plan benefits typically include doctor office visits, urgent care, emergency services, hospitalization and surgery, among others. 

There is a lot of flexibility on how long you can keep using short-term medical insurance. Iowa allows coverage to last 30 to 364 days, with renewals up to 36 months.1 These limits match federal guidelines.2

Short-term medical insurance is not subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which means it differs from individual major medical insurance in some important ways. Those differences mean short-term plans work well for some people and ACA plans work better for others.

What You Need to Know

Short-term health insurance provides temporary benefits to help protect your finances from unforeseen medical bills.

Iowa short-term plans last 30 to 364 days, with renewals possible for up to 36 months.

Temporary coverage is always available — there are no open or special enrollment periods.

Here are some factors that may help you decide if short-term coverage is a good fit: 


Short-term plans tend to cost less than unsubsidized ACA plans. They tend to be an affordable solution if you don’t qualify for premium tax credits and can’t otherwise afford an ACA plan.


You can buy short-term health insurance any time. The application process takes only a few minutes and includes a brief health questionnaire to determine your eligibility. You can choose to begin coverage as soon as the next day.


Because they don’t include all of the ACA essential health benefits (e.g., preventive care, maternity), short-term plans tend to work best for people without ongoing health concerns.

Life circumstances

Short-term plans tend to work well for transitional periods such as when you are: 

  • In between job-based health insurance plans.
  • Start a new job with a waiting period before benefits begin. 
  • Turn 26 and age off a parent’s health plan.
  • Move to a new ZIP code and lose coverage. 
  • Lose coverage due to divorce.

Does temporary coverage sound right for you? Start shopping. 

A Word of Advice

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 Would a Short-Term Plan Not Be Right for Me? 

Short-term health insurance isn’t right for everyone. You may decide to enroll in an ACA plan instead based on the following: 

ACA subsidies

If you’re eligible for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, then an ACA plan will provide you with the broadest benefits at the lowest cost. Visit Iowa’s Health Insurance Marketplace to see if you qualify. 


Short-term plans don’t include all of the essential health benefits. If you want access to all of these features, have ongoing health concerns, or plan to become pregnant, then you’ll want to enroll in an ACA plan.


Unlike ACA plans, short-term plans are not guaranteed issue and you can be denied coverage based on your health history.

Preexisting conditions

While ACA plans must cover preexisting conditions such as diabetes, short-term plans do not. If your application for short-term health insurance is approved, your preexisting condition may be excluded from coverage.

How Much Do Short-Term Plans Typically Cost in Iowa? 

A number of factors determine short-term health insurance premiums. What you pay for coverage will depend on your age, sex, ZIP code, and tobacco use.  

Cost-sharing is also important to consider — you want to choose a plan you can afford to buy and to use. Be sure to look at the following details as you compare:

  • 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.

You can expect plans with a lower monthly premium to have higher cost-sharing and vice versa. Also consider things like policy and out-of-pocket maximums — the cap on what your policy pays and what you pay for covered healthcare, respectively.

The sample rates shown below are for a 28-year-old female who lives in Des Moines (50309). She is single, has no dependents, doesn’t use tobacco, and needs coverage for 364 days. 

Plan A$81.50$10,000N/A*30%
Plan B$112.16$5,000$30 | $60**20%
Plan C$134.92$3,000N/A*20%
* Cost subject to deductible and coinsurance. 
** Office visit to primary care doctor | urgent care center visit. Coinsurance applies. Additional tests or other services subject to deductible and coinsurance.
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator

What will you pay? Get an instant quote.

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 Can I Buy Iowa Short-Term Health Insurance? 

You can buy Iowa short-term plans from private marketplaces such as Pivot Health, licensed health insurance agents, and health insurance companies. 

What if I Need Extra Coverage? 

Once you find coverage within your budget, you may be concerned about meeting your deductible. Supplemental health insurance can help. 

Supplemental policies pay lump-sum benefits when you have an accident or are diagnosed with a covered critical illness. You can choose to use these benefits for costs such as: 

  • 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.

The sample rates shown below are for a 28-year-old female who lives in Des Moines (50309). 

PremiumCritical Illness BenefitAccident Medical Expense BenefitAccidental Death & Dismemberment BenefitHospital Benefit (Per day up to 10 days)
Plan A$29.95$2,500$2,500$5,000$250
Plan B$49.95$5,000$5,000$5,000$500
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator

You can buy supplemental coverage from private online marketplaces, licensed agents, and insurance companies.

Start here! Find supplemental coverage.

Which Health Insurance Should I Choose?

Short-term health insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all coverage. You’ll want to gather a few quotes and compare plans to determine which is right for you. If you have questions as you shop, be sure to ask them. 

There are dozens of Iowa plans available. Explore your options now.

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  1. Iowa Insurance Division, “More Short-Term Limited-Duration Plans Available for Iowans in 2020,” news release, Jan. 6, 2020. (accessed Oct. 2020)

  2. Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance, 83 FR 38212 (Aug. 3, 2018). (accessed Oct. 2020)