If you become uninsured in Oregon, short-term health insurance is among your coverage options. Short-term plans can be quickly purchased online and provide healthcare benefits while you are between major medical policies.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health insurance is temporary medical insurance. It helps protect your finances from unexpected medical bills, with benefits for physician visits, urgent care, hospitalization and surgery, to name a few.
You can buy a short-term plan year-round. Policies can last as few as 30 days and are capped at 364 days under federal law.1However, state availability and policy limits vary.
Oregon short-term health insurance policies are limited to 90 days.2 Renewals are not allowed within 60 days of when your policy expires.
Is Short-Term Health Insurance Right for Me?
As you decide whether or not a short-term plan makes sense for you, here are a few things to consider:
Temporary insurance tends to be economical. Short-term plan premiums are often a fraction of unsubsidized ACA plan premiums.3
It only takes a few minutes to apply for short-term health insurance and see if you’re approved. If your application is accepted, you can begin coverage as soon as the next day.
If you are relatively healthy and rely on insurance for unexpected injuries and illnesses, then a short-term plan may be right for you.
Life situations in which short-term plans can be useful include being in between jobs or waiting for new coverage to begin.
To summarize, temporary coverage may be right for you if you:
- Don’t qualify for ACA subsidies or Medicaid.
- Can’t pay full price for a major medical plan.
- Missed open enrollment for an ACA plan or don’t qualify for special enrollment.
- Are relatively healthy.
- Need coverage as soon as possible.
Why Would a Short-Term Plan Not Be Right for Me?
Short-term health insurance isn’t a good fit for everyone. It is designed to provide quick, economical and temporary coverage. For that reason, it differs from major medical insurance in a few important ways:
You are not guaranteed to be issued a policy. The application process includes a series of health questions to determine your eligibility. You can be denied coverage based on your health history.
Short-term policies do not typically cover preexisting conditions such as diabetes, asthma or cancer. Having a preexisting condition could make you ineligible for coverage.
Short-term plans don’t include all of the ACA’s essential health benefits (that’s why they typically have lower premiums). This coverage won’t be right for you if you need the full range of essential health benefits — if you are pregnant, for example.
Short-term plans are not eligible for ACA subsidies. If you qualify for a premium tax credit,4 then you should consider buying an individual major medical plan from your state’s health insurance exchange.
In short, this coverage may not be right for you if you:
- Have preexisting conditions.
- Need comprehensive benefits.
- Qualify for ACA subsidies.
- Are eligible for Medicaid.
How Much Does Oregon Short-Term Health Insurance Cost?
Short-term plan premiums tend to be lower than unsubsidized ACA plan premiums, but prices vary based on factors such as ZIP code, age, and tobacco use.
Let’s look at sample quotes for a 30-year-old female who lives in Washington County (97035), doesn’t use tobacco and has no dependents.
|Plan C||$280.57||$1,000||$30 | $60**||20%|
* Cost subject to deductible and coinsurance.
** Office visit to primary care doctor | urgent care center visit.
Source: Pivot Health Cost Calculator
You’ll need to collect quotes to find out what Oregon short-term plans are available to you and how much they cost.
How to Buy a Short-Term Plan
Oregon’s state medical insurance exchange does not sell short-term health insurance. You can buy short-term plans on a private marketplace website such as Pivot Health, through a licensed health insurance agent, or from an insurance company.
Some insurers that sell short-term health insurance in Oregon include:
- Companion Life provided by Pivot Health
- Golden Rule, a UnitedHealthcare company
- National General
What if You Need Extra Coverage?
Maybe your budget requires you to choose a short-term plan with a low premium, but you’re concerned about the deductible. For just a few extra dollars, you can add supplemental health insurance to help with out-of-pocket expenses your short-term health insurance doesn’t cover.
Supplemental plans pay lump-sum (one-time) benefits when you are diagnosed with a critical illness or have an accident that results in covered medical expenses. You can use those benefits to pay for the following:
- Short-term plan deductible or coinsurance.
- Medical bills not covered by your short-term plan.
- Living expenses such as rent or mortgage, childcare and car payments.
How Much Does Supplemental Health Insurance Cost in Oregon?
You can get a quote on Oregon plans through a private marketplace website, a licensed health insurance agent or broker, or an insurance company.
What’s the Best Short-Term Plan for You?
As you compare your options, look at the whole picture, not just plan premium. Consider the deductible, copay and coinsurance — what you pay if you need to use your coverage. In general, the lower your premium, the higher your deductible and vice versa.
No two short-term plans look alike. Consider the specific benefits each choice offers. Also, pay attention to details such as network requirements and extra non-insurance benefits (telemedicine, dental and vision discounts).
Carefully read plan details so you understand what you are buying — what it includes and excludes. Contact customer service for the plan if you have any questions.
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Fact Sheet Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance Final Rule.” News release, August 1, 2018, accessed July 2020).
- State of Oregon, Division of Financial Regulation. “Guidance for Short-Term Health Insurance.” oregon.gov (accessed July 2020).
- Rosato, Donna. Consumer Reports. “Short-Term Health Insurance Isn’t as Cheap as You Think. Consumerreports.org, October 2, 2018 (accessed July 2020).
- Internal Revenue Service. “The Premium Tax Credit – The Basics.” irs.gov (accessed July 2020).