Securing health insurance can be stressful and expensive. Short-term health insurance can help. Learn more about short-term health insurance in North Carolina.
- North Carolina Short-Term Health Insurance Laws
- What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
- How Short-Term Health Insurance Works
- Who Needs Short-Term Health Insurance?
- When Can You Enroll for Short-Term Health Insurance?
- Where Can You Enroll for Short-Term Health Insurance?
- Best Short-Term Health Insurance Options in North Carolina
- Is a Short-Term Health Plan Right for You?
North Carolina Short-Term Health Insurance Laws
- You can renew short-term insurance plans for up to 36 months.
- You may have to answer health questions to qualify for or renew coverage.
- These plans may not cover preexisting conditions.
What is Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term insurance is an affordable health insurance option. It a good fit for those with coverage gaps, and you can typically purchase policies that last from 30 days to 12 months, with an option to renew for a total of up to 36 months of coverage.
North Carolina short-health insurance doesn’t meet the minimum coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA, also known as Obamacare, requires health insurance plans to cover certain services like maternity and mental health care. ACA plans are sold through state marketplaces or offered by employers.
Short-term health insurance plans don’t have to offer the same level of coverage as ACA plans. That makes them less expensive. It’s essential to carefully review any short-term insurance plans to make sure they offer the coverage you need. If prescription or mental health coverage is important to you, check to ensure the short-term plan you’re considering offers it.
These insurance plans can also use medical underwriting to decide whether to accept applicants. That means that you need to answer health questions on the application. You also can be declined for coverage based on the answers to those questions. This is different from ACA health insurance plans, which can’t decline applicants based on their health.
Short-term plans typically don’t cover preexisting conditions. That means that if you need care for a health condition that started before your plan, you won’t be covered. For example, if you break your arm before your short-term plan starts, it may not pay for follow-up doctor visits.
How Short-Term Health Insurance Works
North Carolina short health insurance plans are structured like traditional ACA plans. You pay a premium, which is the monthly cost of your plan.
You also have a deductible, which is the amount you pay for covered services before your plan pays. If you have a $5,000 deductible, you pay $5,000 for covered costs before your plan starts paying for care. The deductibles on short-term plans tend to be higher than with traditional health insurance plans, so keep that in mind as you compare plans.
Plans also have copays, coinsurance or both. Copays are a set amount you pay for a service. You could pay $30 for a doctor’s visit. Coinsurance is a percentage you pay for a service. You could pay 20% of a hospital stay.
Plans also have maximum benefits. The maximum benefit is the most it will pay for your care. A plan with a $1 million limit will pay up to $1 million. Any costs beyond that are your responsibility.
Plans often have several options for deductibles, coinsurance and maximum benefits. You can select different options depending on what you’re comfortable with. Let’s say you have limited savings. You may want to buy a plan with a lower deductible, even though it’s a little more expensive, so you don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs.
Short-term plans are also easy to cancel, and you can cancel at any time.
Who Needs Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short health plans are best for those who are waiting for other coverage. They could be a good fit if you’re:
- A new employee waiting for your benefits to start
- A 26-year-old transitioning off your parent’s insurance
- A healthy 64-year-old waiting for benefits to start
- Between jobs
When Can You Enroll for Short-Term Health Insurance?
One of the perks of North Carolina short-term health insurance is that you don’t have to wait to enroll. Some plans offer coverage as soon as the next day. With traditional health insurance plans, you can only enroll at certain times of the year or after life events like marriage. Short-term health plans accept applications throughout the year.
Where Can You Enroll for Short-Term Health Insurance?
When it comes to how to get health insurance, the process for short-term plans is relatively simple. Visit insurance provider websites and review plans, and then request a quote for the plans you’re interested in. Review the plans carefully, comparing the premiums, deductibles, copays, coinsurance and maximum benefits.
When you apply, look at when the plan starts. Some start immediately, while others have a short waiting period.
Best Short-Term Health Insurance Options in North Carolina
Where should you start when it comes to getting a quote? Here are the best health insurance plans for the short term in North Carolina.
1. Best Overall: Pivot Health
Pivot Health sets itself apart by offering flexible coverage options and benefits. You can choose your deductible and whether you want to pay copays or coinsurance. You can also choose a plan with a provider network or one with more flexibility. Some of its plans include preventive care.
All of its plans have low-cost or free telehealth. That means you can talk to a doctor when you need to without having to wait. It also offers a prescription discount card with all of its plans, and some offer prescription benefits.
2. Best for Comparing Plans: eHealth Insurance
eHealth Insurance makes it easy to compare plans and get quotes. You enter your basic information and it provides you with short-term insurance providers in North Carolina. You can sort the results by premium, deductible and by which plans sell the best.
You can choose up to 4 plans to do a side-by-side comparison, making it simple to compare plan benefits and limits. Once you choose a plan, you can apply right from the eHealth Insurance website.
3. Best for Longer Term Coverage: UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare partners with Golden Rule Insurance Company to offer short-term insurance. Its TriTerm Medical Plans are a unique option that allow you to apply once for 3 years of coverage. Most short-term plans require you to reapply after each year, so TriTerm offers security in knowing you have a few years of coverage unless you choose to cancel.
Most TriTerm plans have preventive care, doctor visit coverage and prescription coverage. It has an extensive network of providers, so you won’t have trouble finding care when you need it. You can also add on accident coverage and dental and vision insurance.
4. Best for Preexisting Conditions: Independence American Insurance Company
Independence American Insurance Company sets itself apart by offering plans that cover preexisting conditions. There’s a limit to how much they will cover, but every little bit helps. Its plans also have a range of deductibles, coinsurance and maximum benefits so you can tailor a plan to your budget.
Independence American Insurance Company also allows you to add on additional coverage. You can add on telemedicine and prescription benefits, dental care and additional hospital insurance.
5. Best for Wellness Care: Everest
Everest provides a benefit for preventive care, including well baby care. It also covers mental health services, which are often not covered by short-term plans. It covers inpatient care for up to $100 per day and outpatient care for up to $50 per day. Its coverage includes substance use disorder treatment.
Everest also covers home health care and physical, occupational and speech therapy. You can choose your deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, coverage maximum and coinsurance, making it easy to choose a plan that fits into your budget.
Is a Short-Term Health Plan Right for You?
Whether a North Carolina short-term plan is right for you depends on your situation. If you’re fairly healthy and you’re experiencing a temporary gap in coverage, it could be a good fit. If you have health conditions, it may still be worthwhile to enroll in a plan, but it’s important to keep in mind that plans typically won’t cover preexisting conditions.
If your budget is limited, you may want to apply for North Carolina Medicaid. Medicaid offers very low-cost medical care to those with limited incomes. If you’re not eligible for Medicaid, a short-term plan could be an expensive way to ensure you have some coverage in place until you secure it another way.