Temporary Medical Insurance

By Matthew Rizos

There are a lot of reasons you could need temporary medical insurance--perhaps you are between jobs, have recently left a parent's plan, are looking for an alternative to your employer's COBRA plan, or are simply waiting for employer benefits. There are a lot of options for temporary insurance, but it is important to consider both the pros and cons to see if a temporary plan can work for you.

Temporary medical insurance can be very beneficial, as long as the buyer is aware of its provisions and limitations. First, it is usually much cheaper than a permanent plan, in some cases even half the price. This can be a lifesaver for those who are in between jobs, and is in general a cheaper choice than COBRA. Another pro of temporary insurance is it's promptness, in fact, most plans begin coverage the day after you complete the application.

However, there are some cons. While almost anyone can get a temporary policy, that policy may not include coverage for treatment of pre-existing conditions, so it is not the best option for those likely to need long-term care. Additionally, temporary medical insurance plans are only designed for short-term users, and usually cannot be renewed. Finally, temporary insurance can impact the level of coverage for pre-existing conditions in future insurance policies, so it is important to discuss this with a broker before you buy.

In most cases, the pros outweigh the cons, but it is important to be aware of what you are getting into. If you are likely to develop illnesses that necessitate long-term care, a short-term policy is probably not the best. However, if you are generally healthy and unlikely to develop a serious health condition in the time covered by the insurance, temporary medical insurance can be a good, cheap option.