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What is Temporary Medical Insurance?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Temporary medical insurance is a medical insurance plan which is designed to provide temporary coverage, classically for a year or less. There are a number of reasons for people to use temporary health insurance, ranging from the desire to make sure that a student's health will be covered during the summer when student health plans are ineffective to wanting to cover a gap between the expiration of one insurance policy and the date that a new one becomes effective. Many health insurance agents can write a policy for clients who need temporary medical insurance.

This type of medical insurance usually excludes pre-existing conditions, which makes it unsuitable for people with chronic conditions which require regular treatment, along with people who have just been diagnosed with medical problems. It also usually does not cover preventative care such as physicals and medical screenings, which is something important to consider.

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What temporary medical insurance will cover is major medical expenses, such as those associated with an accident or the onset of an acute condition, along with related costs such as prescriptions, follow up visits, and so forth. Like other types of insurance, it usually comes with a deductible, and it may include copays or coinsurance, which require patients to cover part of their own health care expenses. The higher the deductible and copays, the less expensive the policy will be, so patients who just need temporary health insurance for a short time might want to consider adjusting the terms of their policy to bring the premium down.

One of the best times to shop for temporary medical insurance is before an insurance policy has expired, as this will mean that there are no gaps in a patient's insurance coverage. People who are obtaining insurance for the first time or after a period of being uninsured may find it more challenging to get temporary health insurance, even if they have been approved for a long term policy which does not kick in right away. Some insurance plans may offer people temporary options as part of their overall coverage, as in the case of a school which allows students to buy into a temporary insurance plan so that they are covered while traveling or while not enrolled in school.

The length of time covered by temporary medical insurance varies. Some insurers specifically limit coverage, with three years often being an absolute maximum. Others may not have stated limits, but they may encourage customers to pursue other plans if they are interested in long term coverage. Temporary medical insurance can also be obtained in tandem with another insurance policy, if customers have insurance which does not cover all of their needs and they want to make sure that they will have access to all of the insurance benefits they might need to access.

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