If you’re uninsured in Missouri, short-term health insurance is an option available to you right now. Whether you’re between jobs or missed individual open enrollment, short-term plans provide quick coverage year-round. You can enroll for as little as a month and choose from a variety of plans that accommodate your budget.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance
Short-term health insurance is temporary health insurance designed for coverage gaps. It provides benefits to help pay for unexpected medical care. These benefits typically include doctor office visits, urgent care, emergency services, and hospitalization and surgery, among others.
Federal regulations allow short-term policies to last up to 364 days, with renewals up to 36 months.1 But some states, including Missouri, modify these limits. Missouri allows short-term health policies up to six months and does not specify a limit on renewals.2 As such, renewals default to the federal limit of 36 months.3 All Missouri medical insurance policies exceeding six months must comply with all state health insurance mandates.4
Short-term health insurance is not subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which means it differs from individual major medical insurance in some important ways. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with short-term plans to help you decide which health insurance to buy.
What You Need to Know
Short-term health insurance provides a range of benefits to help with unexpected medical bills during coverage gaps.
Missouri allows short-term policies up to six months, with renewals up to 36 months.
You can buy a short-term plan anytime of year and begin coverage as soon as the day after you apply.
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for Me?
Some factors that may help you determine if short-term health insurance is a good fit include:
Short-term premiums tend to cost less than unsubsidized ACA premiums. If you’re not eligible for a subsidy and can’t otherwise afford full coverage, a short-term plan could make sense.
You can apply for a short-term policy any time of year. If your application is approved, you can begin coverage as soon as the next day.
Because short-term plans don’t include all of the ACA essential health benefits, they tend to work best if you don’t have ongoing healthcare needs like a chronic condition.
Temporary health insurance is designed for transitional periods such as when you:
- Lose job-based coverage.
- Start a waiting period for workplace benefits.
- Turn 26 and lose coverage you had through a parent.
- Move to a new ZIP code and lose coverage as a result.
- Lose coverage due to a divorce.
If any of these situations apply to you, you may want to explore temporary plans.
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 Wouldn’t a Short-Term Health Plan Be Right for Me?
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, then an ACA plan will provide you with the broadest coverage at the lowest cost.
Only ACA plans include all of the essential health benefits. If you need or want access to the widest range of covered services, then you should enroll in an ACA plan.
Not everyone qualifies for short-term health insurance. Short-term plans are not guaranteed issue, which means you can be denied coverage based on your health history. ACA plans are guaranteed issue.
Unlike ACA plans, short-term plans typically won’t cover preexisting conditions such as diabetes.
How Much Do Short-Term Plans Typically Cost in Missouri?
Your premium — the amount you pay for coverage — will depend on factors that include your age, sex, ZIP code and tobacco use.
While it’s important to choose a plan you can afford, you also want one you can afford to use. While no one expects to get sick, you should consider the expenses that will occur if you do. In addition to premium, pay attention to the following:
- 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 a lower-premium plan to have higher cost-sharing requirements and vice versa. Also, pay attention to policy maximums and lifetime coverage limits.
The following example reflects rates and cost-sharing for a single, 35-year-old female living in St. Louis (63108). She needs coverage for 180 days, has no dependents, and doesn’t use tobacco.
** 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
Instant quotes available: check your rate.
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 Missouri Short-Term Health Insurance?
You can buy Missouri short-term plans from a private marketplace such as Pivot Health, a licensed health insurance agent, or an insurer.
Short-term medical insurance isn’t available through the Missouri Health Insurance Marketplace.
What if I Need Extra Coverage?
Once you find affordable insurance, you may still be concerned with the cost of using it. Supplemental insurance can help.
Supplemental policies pay lump-sum benefits directly to you when you have a covered accident or critical illness. You can choose to use 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.
You can find supplemental coverage from the same sources as short-term coverage — private marketplaces, licensed agents, and insurance companies.
What is the Best Health Plan for Me?
Your healthcare needs and financial situation will help guide you in choosing the right health insurance plan. You’ll want to gather quotes and compare plan details to narrow your options. Once you’re ready, the application and approval process will only take a few minutes.
Does short-term health insurance sound right for you? Compare plan options.