Nevada has a variety of short-term health insurance plans you can choose from — with a few caveats.
What You Need to Know:
In Nevada, short-term health insurance plans can last from 30 days up to 180 days. After six months of continuous coverage, the law requires you to wait at least six months before applying for a new policy.
If you qualify for coverage, the process to enroll online is quick and easy and coverage can start right away.
Temporary health insurance is best for people who are healthy and just need insurance to cover a gap and ensure they’re protected in the event of an accident, injury or unexpected illness.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health insurance is temporary medical insurance, meaning it isn’t permanent coverage. These plans can be ideal when you find yourself without healthcare coverage and don’t want to take the risk of going uninsured. It covers accidents and sudden illnesses that might occur, including doctor’s office visits, hospitalization and/or surgery, depending on the terms of the plan you choose.
In Nevada, short-term medical plans can cover you from a minimum of 30 days up to a maximum of 180 days. After 180 days (six months), state law requires you to take a 180-day break before buying a new short-term coverage policy. If you can’t get insurance after the 180-day limit, you can look into Medicaid or Nevada Health Link, the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans (also known as Obamacare).1
The Open Enrollment Period to sign up for an ACA plan (which is not short-term health insurance) in Nevada runs from November 1, 2020 to January 15, 2021. For coverage beginning January 1, 2021 you must enroll by December 31, 2020. If you lose your short-term health coverage after the 180-day limit, you must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period in order to gain ACA coverage.
Is Short-Term Insurance in Nevada Right For Me?
There are several factors to keep in mind as you weigh up whether short-term medical insurance is the best option for you right now. You may be tempted to focus only on price, but here are some other considerations:
Short-term insurance allows you to enroll immediately. If you’re uninsured and want a policy right away, these plans offer next-day coverage if you’re approved. If you enroll in a state Marketplace plan during ACA Open Enrollment Period, on the other hand, coverage won’t begin for up to a month or more, depending on your enrollment date. Short-term health insurance can give you comfort knowing you have coverage now.
Short-term insurance is good option for a variety of situations when you unexpectedly need coverage, such as:
- You lost your job and can’t afford COBRA insurance.
- You lost your health insurance and don’t qualify for COBRA.
- You’re in a waiting period for insurance with a new employer.
- Your employer doesn’t offer health insurance coverage.
- You’re turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health coverage.
- You’re a college student in another state that requires students to have health insurance.
- You’re getting divorced and losing the coverage you had through your spouse.
- You’re retiring early and losing employer coverage, but you’re not yet old enough to qualify for Medicare.
- You’re outside Nevada’s Open Enrollment Period for an ACA plan and you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
- You need to insure children who aren’t eligible to be covered on your policy.
Short-term health coverage is more affordable than Obamacare plans. Temporary health plans are some of the least expensive options out there. Why? These policies don’t cover any long-term care, such as for chronic conditions, pregnancy or ongoing mental health treatment. This allows insurers to keep costs down and give you coverage for the times when you really need medical care, as with an accident, injury or unexpected illness.
Many short-term health plans offer other benefits, too. The most popular non-insurance benefit is telemedicine (virtual/online appointments with healthcare providers), offered either at a low cost or free of charge, depending on the plan you choose. This benefit can be handy if you don’t expect to use your insurance much or at all, but find you need a quick virtual visit for an everyday medical issue or to get a prescription filled.
When Would Nevada Short-Term Medical Insurance Not Be Right For Me?
Short-term health plans aren’t for everyone. If you have a preexisting condition that requires multiple doctor’s office visits, prescription drugs and/or ongoing treatment, a short-term policy won’t meet your needs.
Temporary health insurance doesn’t cover anyone with a preexisting condition or those who have been told by their doctor to seek tests or treatment for a diagnosis prior to getting short-term medical insurance.
If you are managing an ongoing medical issue, chances are good that enrolling in an ACA plan through Nevada Health Link will end up saving you money in the end, even though the monthly premiums will be higher than with a short-term insurance plan.
- Annual wellness exams
- Emergency care
- Prescription drugs, including birth control
- Cancer screenings
- Birth control
In addition, nearly 90% of those who sign up for an ACA plan in the U.S. qualify for a financial subsidy based on their income, which means you would get help paying the monthly premium amount for your policy if you qualify.3 So be sure to look into subsidies if you think your income might make you eligible for help.
How Much Do Short-Term Health Plans Typically Cost in Nevada?
A 28-year-old woman living in Reno can pay as little as $63 a month for a short-term policy, and up to $275 for the most robust benefit plan.4 There are 79 short term plans available in the state for you to choose from. It’s up to you to decide if you want a cost-effective plan with lower premiums or benefit-heavy coverage that will cost you more each month.
As you figure out how you want to build your plan, take a few minutes to get familiar with these short-term health insurance terms:
Premium: The monthly cost of a health insurance plan is called the premium. How much you pay is determined by seven factors: your age, gender and ZIP code and the deductible, coinsurance, copayment and total out-of-pocket maximum of the policy you choose (more on those terms below). As you go through the process of getting a quote online, you can adjust the benefits to see how these changes affect what you would pay.
Deductible: The deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying out-of-pocket before the insurance company begins paying for covered medical expenses. Typically, a high-deductible health plan will cost less each month in premiums than a low-deductible plan, and the lowest-deductible plan will cost the most in monthly premiums.
Coinsurance: Once you’ve met your deductible, you’re still responsible for paying a percentage of your medical expenses; this is called coinsurance. Your insurance company pays the majority of covered costs, and you pay the rest. In Nevada, you have the option to select a plan with zero coinsurance up to 30%.
Copayment: Some plans offer a copayment (copay) option, a benefit that requires you to pay a set amount for a doctor’s office visit or prescription drugs. Note that copays apply to specific, covered services and don’t include additional services, like lab work, that might occur during a visit with your doctor.
Out-of-Pocket Maximum (Limit): This is the total amount you’re responsible for before your insurance company begins to pay 100%. Plans differ, so make sure you understand what’s considered the “maximum.” For example, the out-of-pocket maximum for some short-term plans is a combination of the deductible and coinsurance, whereas other plans consider the deductible alone the only amount you need to meet before you hit the maximum limit.
Total Coverage Maximum: There are set limits as to what your insurance company is responsible for. If you have a policy for $100,000 in total coverage and your medical bills exceed that amount, you’re responsible for all additional charges that go over $100,000.
How Do I Buy a Short-Term Medical Plan in Nevada?
Once you’ve compared plans and determined what temporary medical policy is right for you, it’s usually a quick and easy process to get enrolled online:
- Enter the requested information to get a quote(s).
- Review plans. Compare the different deductible amounts, coinsurance and copay options, as well as the benefits and what’s not included (covered). (You can compare plan features side-by-side on most sites.)
- Read the plan brochure to confirm you’ve made the choice that’s right for you.
- Decide on your policy start date.
- Answer the qualifying medical questions. If you qualify (you’ll find out right away), complete your personal and credit card or banking information to enroll in the plan.
You can sign up on an online marketplace like Pivot Health or contact a licensed agent or broker to take you through the process.
If you decide short-term health insurance is the right option to cover you now until you can get permanent coverage, here are a few last words of advice as you move ahead:
- Compare deductibles and benefits, not just price, for any policy you’re considering.
- Carefully read the policy exclusions and limitations on the website or in the brochure.
- Answer all medical questions truthfully.
- Remember that Nevada only allows a maximum of 180 days of coverage, so start thinking about how you’ll get long-term coverage when your policy ends.