What is temporary medical insurance, and who is it for? 

What is temporary medical insurance, and who is it for? 

Temporary medical insurance or short-term insurance refers to insurance coverage that helps you get through a period when you do not have insurance cover. Say, for instance, when you are between jobs and no longer have access to an employer-sponsored plan, you missed the Obamacare open enrollment period or are waiting until you can enroll in Medicare.

Temporary medical insurance is a cheaper alternative to a COBRA insurance plan or other individual plans. It is a great fit to protect against unexpected accidents. By and large, it can be a convenient option, but you'd need to know if you qualify for it.

Who Qualifies for Temporary Medical Insurance?

Temporary medical insurance is designed for healthy people who do not plan on using healthcare services often. It is not a long-term solution, and its coverage might be extensive, but it comes in handy in the event of health emergencies. You qualify for temporary medical insurance if you are in any of the following situations: 

  • If you are about to be enrolled in a group plan by a new employer.
  • If you are a recent college graduate.
  • If you are moving from a spouse's or parent's health plan.
  • If you are making a career change.
  • If you are seasonally employed.
  • If you need coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period.
  • If you are about to be enrolled in Medicare after retirement
  • If you are in between jobs and can't afford COBRA or an ACA plan but need some level of insurance.
  • If you missed open enrollment for other health insurance and you don't qualify for special registration.

You should not opt for temporary medical insurance if you have pre-existing conditions like asthma or diabetes. The reason is that in most cases, the pre-existing condition can lead to significant premiums. Here are situations where you do not qualify for temporary medical insurance:

  • If you are pregnant
  • If, as a man, you happen to weigh more than 300 pounds.
  • If, as a woman, you weigh more than 250 pounds
  • If you have been diagnosed with or treated for HIV or AIDS
  • If you are currently insured under another policy

If you qualify for Medicaid

  • If you are not a citizen or legal resident of the United States

What does temporary medical insurance cover? 

What your short-term plan will cover depends on the specifics of the plan. However, you should know that these plans are not regulated by the ACA. Thus, you should not expect minimum coverage from short-term plans. Often, these plans will not cover: 

  • Mental health and substance use disorder treatment 
  • Outpatient prescription medications 
  • Maternity care 
  • Most pre-existing conditions 

Be sure to check the specifics of any short-term plan to know what's covered and what's not covered before buying. 


Do you meet the requirements for getting this kind of medical insurance? If you do, then you should get it. If you don't, then you might need to get an insurance plan that you are eligible for. Remember, "health is wealth."


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