If you’re uninsured in Kentucky, your coverage options include short-term medical insurance. This temporary health insurance can be quickly obtained any time and works well for brief coverage gaps.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health insurance is health coverage that you purchase for a limited period of time. It is designed to help protect your finances from unexpected medical bills — the kind that result from injury or unforeseen illness — until you secure long-term coverage. Plan benefits typically include doctor office visits, urgent care, emergency services, hospitalization, and surgery.
Each state can set its own limits for short-term policies and renewals.1 Kentucky has adopted federal guidelines, which cap policies at 364 days and allow renewals up to 36 months.2 So you can opt for coverage anywhere from one month to three years, depending on how long you need it.
Short-term health insurance is not subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which means it differs from individual major medical insurance (i.e., ACA plans) 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 coverage when you’re between individual major medical or job-based health insurance plans.
Kentucky allows short-term policies to last up to 364 days, with renewals up to 36 months.
You can apply for short-term insurance year-round and begin coverage as soon as the next day.
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for Me?
To decide if a short-term health plan makes sense for you, consider the following:
Short-term health insurance typically costs less than unsubsidized ACA coverage. It may be an economical solution if you don’t qualify for an ACA subsidy and can’t otherwise afford an ACA plan.
You can buy short-term health insurance at any point in time. It is available if you need coverage outside of ACA open enrollment and don’t qualify for a special enrollment period.
Short-term plans work best if you don’t have ongoing medical concerns. Coverage doesn’t include all of the essential health benefits and is centered on meeting unforeseen healthcare needs.
This coverage is designed for transitional periods such as when you:
- Are between job-based health insurance plans.
- Start a new job with a benefits waiting period.
- Turn 26 and age off your parent’s health plan.
- Move to a new ZIP code and lose coverage.
- Lose coverage due to divorce.
Is short-term health insurance right for you? Start shopping.
Something to Consider
If you’re generally in good health and don’t need to visit a doctor regularly, short-term health insurance can be a smart way to stay covered for brief periods.
Why Wouldn’t Short-Term Health Insurance Be Right for Me?
Short-term plans don’t make sense for everyone. Reasons you may decide to enroll in an ACA plan instead include:
If you qualify for the income-based premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, then ACA coverage will provide the broadest benefits at the lowest cost. Visit Kentucky’s Health Insurance Marketplace to check your subsidy eligibility.
Short-term plans are not required to include all of the essential health benefits. You’ll want to enroll in an ACA plan if you need all of these benefits, including preventive care and pregnancy.
Unlike ACA plans, short-term plans are not guaranteed issue regardless of age and health status. That means your application can be denied based on your health history.
If you have a preexisting condition such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease you may not qualify for a short-term plan or your policy may exclude healthcare related to your condition.
Still not sure short-term insurance is right for you? Get answers to frequently asked questions.
How Much Do Short-Term Plans Typically Cost In Kentucky?
Short-term health insurance premiums vary based on the plan you select as well as your age, sex, ZIP code, and tobacco use.
In addition to what you pay for coverage each month, consider what you’ll pay if you need healthcare. As you compare plans, be sure to look at cost-sharing requirements 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.
See the example below for a sense of what short-term health insurance premiums and cost-sharing can run in Kentucky. These rates are for a 35-year-old female living in Louisville (40204). She is single, has no dependents, doesn’t use tobacco, and needs coverage for 364 days.
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator
How much will you pay? Get an instant quote.
How Can I Buy Short-Term Health Insurance?
You can buy short-term plans online and through licensed health insurance agents or brokers. Some companies that offer temporary coverage in Kentucky include:
- Companion Life provided by Pivot Health
- Golden Rule Insurance Company (UnitedHealthcare)
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National General Accident & Health
Short-term health insurance isn’t sold on Kentucky’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
Ready to shop? Find a plan with Pivot Health.
What If I Need Extra Coverage?
Once you find health insurance with an affordable premium, you may still 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.
Below, you will find sample rates for a 35-year-old female living in Louisville (40204).
|Premium||Critical Illness Benefit||Accident Medical Expense Benefit||Accidental Death & Dismemberment Benefit||Hospital Benefit (Per day up to 10 days)|
Is a supplemental health plan right for you? Here are three ways to know.
A Word of Advice
If you find the right short-term plan for your needs but still need a cushion in case of major expenses, supplemental health insurance may bring you peace of mind.
What’s the Best Health Insurance for Me?
Short-term health plans aren’t one size fits all, so you’ll want to gather a few personalized quotes and compare plans. Premium and cost-sharing amounts may help narrow your options. Then, look at benefits and exclusions, network requirements (if any), and non-insurance benefits such as vision discounts or telemedicine services, as well as any limitations and exclusions. Contact the insurer if you have questions or need additional information that will help you decide.
You can choose from dozens of Kentucky short-term plans. Find yours!