What is Short Term Medical Coverage?

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  • Written By: Tiffany Manley
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Short term medical coverage is designed for individuals who might be without medical coverage for a short period of time. This might be for any of several reasons, such as job loss, recent college graduation, new hire status or losing dependent status under a parent’s insurance. This type of insurance essentially works as a safety net for those who feel that they need provisions in place for medical coverage while they are between traditional policies.

It should be noted that short term medical coverage is not designed to replace traditional medical coverage. Even though short term policies generally are cheaper, they usually do not allow for preexisting conditions. In addition, many times if a claim is made on the policy, renewal of that policy will not be offered, and an entirely new policy must be drawn up. The previous claim might be treated as a preexisting condition, thereby affecting possible future treatment.

Depending on the company, coverage can be extended for one to six months, with some companies allowing renewals for up to three years. Payment for the policy can be made in one lump sum or spread out over the term of the policy. Since short term medical coverage is designed for healthy individuals, premiums are generally low.


Purchasers of short term medical coverage generally enjoy a wide range of services available under their policy. Most routine medical needs usually are covered by short term medical policies, including office visits, surgeries, prescription drugs and follow-up visits. The ability to use a doctor of choice also is a popular feature of short term medical plans. One of the most important things to remember when seeking treatment while using short term medical insurance is that an individual should get pre-authorization for any care so that it is covered under the policy.

There are many benefits to short term medical coverage, but there are a few things that should be taken into consideration as well. Generally, these policies are sold only to individuals who are less than 65 years old. Also, a person might not qualify for a policy if he or she has ever been turned down for medical coverage. Dental care, vision care, pregnancy and childbirth usually are not covered under short term policies.

A government agency that oversees insurance can be a good source to compare the policies of various companies as well as their reputation and other information. Many insurance departments offer information in the form of brochures, online media and seminars. They also can offer guidance on things to look for when shopping for insurance, such as money-back guarantees.



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