Definition of Short-Term Insurance


Short-term health insurance, also known as temporary health insurance, is a product that provides coverage for 12 months or less. This type of insurance is typically purchased by recent college graduates or individuals in between jobs. Short-term health insurance typically does not include coverage that is found in a comprehensive health insurance plan. As a result this insurance should only be used as an option to fill a temporary gap in coverage.


The duration of coverage for short-term health insurance is typically from one to six months and can be as long as 12 months. Policies can typically be renewed for a maximum of 36 months. Short-term health insurance policies generally do not provide coverage for a pre-existing condition. This includes any health condition that existed up to 36 months prior to the start of coverage. Policies typically provide coverage for surgeries that are required, hospital care, emergency room visits and prescription drugs.


The costs of a short-term health insurance policy vary depending on various factors. These can include the amount of coverage that is required and the amount of the deductible that applies to the policy. Individuals under the age of 30 who do not smoke may pay around $150 (or less) per month for a short-term health insurance policy. Premiums for a policy can be paid up-front, with a discount, or once per month.

Policy Advantages

There are several advantages to purchasing a short-term health insurance policy, some of which include costs that are lower than those for a traditional health insurance policy and coverage that is typically available the day after the policy is postmarked. Another benefit to this type of health insurance plan is that there is no provider network in which a specific physician needs to be used.

Policy Disadvantages

Short-term health insurance policies also have some disadvantages, one of which is their exempt status from federal portability laws; pre-existing conditions are not covered. Another disadvantage is that short-term policies can only be renewed for a specific period; in addition, they do not provide dental or vision coverage and do not cover maternity.


Many insurers have various eligibility requirements for a short-term health insurance policy to be issued. Most individuals who apply for a policy need to be under the age of 65 and must not have been denied health insurance coverage in the past. Insurance companies may also have guidelines such as being within acceptable height and weight limits.

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