Short Term Health Care
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Short-Term Health Insurance California
If you’re on this page, you are probably researching short-term health insurance. Perhaps you’re on the job hunt, a recent graduate or a new retiree. Maybe you missed the open enrollment period and are seeking health insurance to cover you until the next one. In the past, short-term health insurance would have been the best plan for people lacking other options.
Short-term insurance, also known as gap health insurance, was a plan that covered you for a short period or covered a time when you didn’t have health insurance.
What Is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Traditionally, the goal of short-term health plans was to fill any gaps in health coverage a person might have. Someone who had recently lost or changed jobs or graduated from college and lost their health insurance might have purchased a short-term insurance plan to tide them over until open enrollment came around or until they otherwise had an opportunity to purchase a longer-term health plan. People might also have bought short-term health plans or interim health insurance in an emergency when they needed coverage ASAP.
In 2018, the state of California passed SB 910, which prevents insurers from selling health insurance plans with a duration of fewer than 12 months.
The Role of Health Care Sharing Ministries — OneShare
Now, short-term coverage is only available through health care sharing ministries (HCSM) such as OneShare Health. These plans are not health insurance. These short-term health plans operate differently from health insurance plans and have fewer regulations from the government.
Participating in an HCSM plan exempts an individual from California’s personal health care mandate, allowing them to avoid paying the penalty. HCSMs provide coverage for people who might not be able to get coverage or afford it any other way. If you have a gap in coverage outside open enrollment, you cannot enroll in a health insurance plan. The only options available to you are health sharing plans.
Health sharing plans offer you coverage in the event of an unexpected illness, accident or injury while you’re waiting to enroll in a standard health plan. These plans often do not include preventive care, and they do have per-incident limits and lifetime limits, which you will not see on standard Covered California health insurance plans.
Health for California offers more flexible health sharing plans through OneShare. OneShare Health is an HCSM under law, which allows us to provide greater flexibility and lower rates. You can enroll at any time and even enjoy no penalties caused by non-enrollment. Enrollment is on a month-to-month basis, meaning you can cancel your participation at the end of the month if you find you can get a longer-term health insurance plan.
Pros and Cons of Short-Term Health Plans Through OneShare
Before joining an HCSM through OneShare, it is helpful to understand the benefits and drawbacks of doing so.
Some of the advantages of signing up for short-term health coverage from OneShare include the following.
- Affordability: HCSMs usually carry a much lower monthly cost than most major health plans available.
- Available year-round: With health insurance plans, you have to wait for the open enrollment period to apply for coverage. With short-term health sharing coverage, you can purchase at any time of the year.
- Begin almost immediately after your application: After applying for a short-term health sharing plan online, you can typically use it as soon as the next day, depending on the HCSM company. Most plans require a short approval period.
- Flexibility: Short-term health care sharing plans are for those who need medical coverage temporarily. If you’re waiting for benefits to begin at a job, for an open enrollment period or for another plan to start, you can use these plans for coverage while you wait.
- Cancellation options: You can decide to cancel a health sharing plan at any time. If you only need coverage for a month, sign up, make your first payment, then call to cancel once you no longer need it. If your situation changes and you need to remain on the health sharing plan, no problem! Just continue to pay each month.
All short-term health care sharing plans have limitations:
- Most do not cover pre-existing conditions: The ACA has set minimum requirements for major health insurance plans to meet. Short-term health sharing coverage does not have to include the minimum essential benefits of the ACA. As such, most do not cover pre-existing conditions. Also, an HCSM can deny your enrollment if you have a pre-existing condition. If the plan still accepts you, it might not cover the conditions you had before enrollment. Examples of conditions an HCSM might not cover include autism, substance abuse and mental health issues.
- May not cover prescription drugs: You might have to pay out of pocket for any prescription drugs you take or need to take during your short-term health plan duration.
- Many require a statement of faith: Health care sharing ministry plans require you to agree to a statement of faith, which may include your commitment to a particular lifestyle and healthy practices.
When Can I Benefit From California Gap Health Plans?
There are instances when getting interim health insurance in California through an HCSM is ideal or the best option. Some cases when you are likely to benefit the most from a short-term health plan are as follows.
- You missed out on the open enrollment period, and you don’t qualify for special enrollment: Life events that qualify you for a special enrollment period include getting married, having a baby, losing another form of health insurance or moving.
- You applied for the Covered California Health insurance plan and are still waiting for it to start: Coverage with an HCSM can begin as soon as the day after you join.
- You missed your company’s open enrollment for health insurance and need a temporary health coverage while waiting to sign up again: If you missed your employer’s open enrollment period for whatever reason, gap insurance through an HCSM can help you avoid California’s penalty until the next open enrollment period comes around.
- You recently started a new job and aren’t yet on your company’s insurance plan: Some companies require new employees to wait up to three months before they are eligible to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan.
- You are under 65 years old and almost ready for Medicare: Let’s say your 65th birthday is coming up, at which point you’ll be eligible for Medicare. You most likely do not want to pay for a full year of health insurance when Medicare coverage will begin after a few months. An HCSM can bridge the gap, providing you with health coverage until you can enroll in Medicare.
- Your job or school requires you to get health coverage immediately: Some schools or programs, such as nursing programs and some types of jobs, require all students or employees to have health coverage. Joining an HCSM can give you the immediate coverage you need until you are eligible for a longer-term plan.
Is Short-Term Health Insurance for You?
If you do not currently have health coverage, you’ll want to get a reliable form of coverage that offsets the costs of as much of your care as possible. However, while you wait to enroll for insurance, a short-term health care sharing plan can offer some protection. While it has limits, it can also provide peace of mind and ensure you don’t have to worry about your health while you wait.
OneShare Health sharing plans are flexible, have a simple application and are affordable, making it easier to stay covered until your other coverage begins. Get a quote and find out how little a health sharing plan may cost. Your no-obligation quote will come with zero risks and give you the facts you need as you consider your health plan options.
Final Thoughts on Short-Term Health Plans
Short-term health sharing plans do not meet government standards, so it’s not advisable to purchase these plans if you have a pre-existing condition. Be on the lookout for the next open enrollment, so you can apply for a major health insurance plan with more robust coverage. Also, be aware that you can use state exchange plans through Covered California for a short period. Covered California plans are month-to-month, and you can cancel at any time. However, to enroll, you would need to apply during the open enrollment period, or you would need to have a qualifying life event to get coverage during the special enrollment period. When purchasing a health sharing plan, you should get one you can drop anytime without penalties from the health insurance company.
If short-term coverage through an HCSM seems like the right option for you today, get a quote from OneShare Health.