Do you need health insurance now? If you’re uninsured in Michigan, short-term medical insurance is one of your coverage options. It can be a quick, economical solution until you enroll in another major medical plan.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health insurance is temporary coverage that lasts as few as 30 days. It helps with unforeseen medical costs, and plan benefits typically include doctor office visits, urgent care, emergency services, hospitalization and surgery.
The state of Michigan allows short-term policies as long as 185 days out of any 365-day period with the same insurer.1 You cannot renew or extend your policy beyond 185 days. This differs from federal limits, which cap short-term policies at 364 days and renewals at 36 months.2
Short-term health insurance is not subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As such, short-term plans differ from ACA plans in some important ways. Knowing these differences can help you decide which coverage makes sense for you.
What You Need to Know
Short-term health insurance benefits help pay for healthcare related to injuries and unexpected illnesses.
You can buy a short-term plan whenever you need one, year-round.
Michigan law allows short-term policies with a single insurer to last up to 185 days in a 365-day period. Policies cannot be renewed or extended beyond 185 days.
Is a Short-Term Health Plan Right for Me?
Temporary health insurance coverage may be a good fit for you based on the following:
Short-term plans typically cost less than unsubsidized ACA plans. They can be a budget-friendly coverage option if you don’t qualify for subsidies and can’t otherwise afford individual major medical insurance.
Short-term health insurance is always available — there are no open or special enrollment periods. If you’re eligible, coverage begins as soon as the next day.
This coverage works best if you rely on insurance for unforeseen medical care. Due to their temporary nature, short-term plans don’t include all of the ACA’s essential health benefits (e.g., preventive care, maternity).
Short-term health insurance is designed for transitional periods such as:
- Being in between job-based health insurance plans.
- Starting a new job with a waiting period before workplace benefits begin.
- Turning 26 and aging off a parent’s health plan.
- Moving to a new ZIP code.
- Losing coverage due to divorce.
Ready to learn more? Explore your plan options.
A Great Option
Short-term health insurance can be a great option if you’re generally in good health and need insurance for those “just in case” situations like accidents.
Why Wouldn’t Short-Term Health Insurance Be Right for Me?
An ACA plan might better meets your needs due to factors such as:
If you qualify for income-based premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions, then an ACA plan will provide you with the broadest benefits at the lowest cost. You can enroll through Michigan’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
Only ACA plans include all of the essential health benefits. A short-term plan won’t provide enough coverage if you have ongoing health concerns or want access to benefits across the healthcare spectrum.
Unlike ACA plans, short-term policies are not guaranteed issue. That means you can be denied temporary coverage based on your health history.
You may not qualify for short-term health insurance if you have a preexisting condition such as diabetes. Michigan Insurance Code does not allow short-term policies sold in the state to cover preexisting conditions.3
How Much Do Short-Term Plans Typically Cost in Michigan?
Short-term health insurance premiums vary based on the plan you select as well your age, sex, ZIP code and tobacco use.
While you may be tempted to choose whatever plan has the lowest rate, also consider plan details and 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.
The example below shows rates and cost-sharing for a single, 28-year-old woman living in Grand Rapids (49503). She doesn’t use tobacco, has no dependents, and needs coverage for 6 months (180 days). All plans listed below have a $100,000 policy coverage maximum.
|Plan B||$52.39||$5,000||$30 | $60**||30%|
|Plan C||$70.23||$2,000||$30 | $60**||30%|
** Office visit to primary care doctor | urgent care center visit.
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator
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How to Buy Short-Term Health Insurance
You can buy short-term plans on a private marketplace such as Pivot Health, through a licensed health insurance agent, or directly from an insurer. Short-term health insurance isn’t available through Michigan’s Marketplace.
Some insurers that sell short-term health insurance in Michigan include the following:
- Association of United Internet Consultants (United States Fire Insurance Company)
- Companion Life provided by Pivot Health
- Golden Rule Insurance Company (UnitedHealthcare)
- Independence American Insurance Company
- National Health Insurance Company
- Priority Health Insurance Company
Where to Get It?
You won’t find short-term health insurance through the ACA Marketplace where you buy traditional insurance. Instead, check out a private marketplace.
What if You Need Extra Coverage?
Once you find health insurance you can afford, out-of-pocket costs may still be a concern. Supplemental health insurance can help.
If you have a covered accident or critical illness, your supplemental policy pays lump-sum benefits directly to you. You can these benefits 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.
Supplemental plans are available from private marketplaces, licensed health insurance agents, and insurance companies.
Get a quick overview of how supplemental health insurance works.
What’s the Best Health Insurance?
There’s no one coverage option that’s best for everyone. Which health insurance plan is right for you depends on your current situation. Before you buy, consider your needs, gather a few quotes, and look at plan specifics. Contact insurers with questions along the way.