Best Short Term Health Insurance in Washington

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 15, 2022

Without risk, there’s no reward, right? That may be true in some cases. But, there’s no reward for risking your health. That’s why it’s a good idea to have health insurance. Kaiser-Permanente, Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Cigna comprise the best health insurance in the United States. But, if you find that you’re temporarily without health insurance and need coverage for a short time, you’ve got options. 

Best Short Term Health Insurance Options in Washington

So many health insurance options exist and it can be a bit daunting. You may wonder if you can even afford health insurance if you have to pay out of pocket. Rest assured, health insurance isn’t out of your reach. You can get affordable health insurance.

But, if you’re looking to fill a void between the coverage you received for an employer or your parents until you can enroll in your new company’s plan, short term health insurance is a good strategy. As mentioned, there’s only one short term health insurance option in Washington. Here’s a look at LifeMap and a few options for both dental and vision benefits.

1. Pivot

Pivot Health is a solution designed for those who miss the open enrollment period, need quick coverage, need to bridge the gap between policies, recent graduates, adult children who fall off their parents’ policies or those who need a COBRA alternative.

Pivot plans include:

  • 24/7 telehealth options
  • Up to 70% savings on prescriptions
  • Discounts up to 15% or 30% on vision services

Moreover, Pivot Health meets your short-term insurance needs with:

  • Up to $1 million in benefits per coverage period
  • Deductible options from $1,000 to $10,000
  • 20%-30% coinsurance
  • Covered hospital and surgical services
  • Physical therapy options
  • Mental health services coverage
  • Home health care and extended care facility coverage
  • Separate prescription drug benefits and copays on certain policies

Pivot Health is highly-rated on TrustPilot and carries an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau along with an A+ rating from AM Best for its underwriter, Companion Health.

  • securely through Pivot Health's website
    securely through Pivot Health's website
    Best For:
    Comparing short term health plans

    Availability of plans and policy duration vary by state.

2. UnitedHealthcare

UHC has provided personal health insurance for more than 75 years. Protect your eye health for as little as around $10 per month with UHC vision insurance through Golden Rule Insurance Company. UHC provides single focus plans if you’re looking for stand-alone vision benefits.

Or, you can combine your vision benefits with your dental benefits to streamline your benefit provider services. UHC gives you 2 plans to choose from. The major difference between the plans is coverage for lenses and contacts. One plan allows you to get lenses or contacts every 12 months. The other plan allows you to get lenses and contacts every 12 months.

And, you don’t need to stick to a predetermined network for coverage. As long as you’re willing to pay the difference between what your plan allows and the final cost, you can seek services out of network. As noted above, UHC earns an A from AM Best and an A+ from the BBB.

Washington Health Insurance Laws

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Americans are required to have health insurance, however, there’s no penalty if you don’t. 

In Washington State, you’ve got some options for health insurance coverage:   

  • Your parents can keep you on their health insurance plan until you turn 26.
  • If you’re employed full-time, you can get health insurance through your employer.
  • If your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you’re in-between jobs or you cannot afford insurance, you can buy individual health insurance and secure federally-subsidized insurance through the health insurance Marketplace. 

Are you new to getting health insurance? Breathe easy. We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to get health insurance. Plus, remember that you can shop around and search for other things that might be right for your situation. Maybe you don’t need medical insurance but a discount club might help. Some people pay cash for their medical care and get a discount.

The same is true of medications. The retail price for many medications is not all that high, and there are new companies popping up every day that help you save money on your medications.

What is Short Term Health Insurance? 

Short term health insurance in Washington is a little different than most of the rest of the country. Under federal law, short term insurance can last up to 36 months. Laws in Washington are more strict. Therefore, your short term health insurance policy:

  • Must not exceed 90 days
  • Needs to meet minimum benefit standards
  • Cannot be obtained during the ACA annual open enrollment period, which is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 
  • Cannot be renewed after the 90 days
  • Cannot be sold to a person who’s had 3 months of short term health insurance in the past 12 months

Because the laws are more prohibitive in Washington, there’s only 2 short term health insurance providers.  

Who Needs Short Term Health Insurance?

Life is unpredictable. Accidents happen. Illnesses catch us off-guard. So, it’s not a good idea to be without health insurance. Even for a short time. Medical expenses can add up quickly. You don’t want to be caught holding a pile of bills wondering how you’re going to pay them. So, short term health insurance is a good option for you if you’ve got a gap in your health insurance coverage. Reasons you might have a gap in your coverage include:

  • You’ve left or lost your job. 
  • You’ve started a new job and health insurance doesn’t immediately begin.
  • You’ve turned 26 and your parents’ health insurance can’t cover you. 
  • You must get coverage for your children as part of a divorce settlement.
  • You’re trying to insure a friend or loved one who is in immediate need.
  • You may need coverage for an immediate concern, but not in the long-term.

When Can You Enroll for Short Term Health Insurance?

Created to fill a gap in the event of a coverage lapse, short term health insurance cannot be purchased during the ACA open enrollment period for coverage in the following year. So, if late this year (2020) you were looking to purchase short term health insurance for the first 3 months of next year (2021) you need to purchase it on Dec. 16 or later.

Where Can You Enroll for Short Term Health Insurance? 

Currently, Pivot and UnitedHealthCare are the 2 short term health insurance providers in Washington. If you’re going to be without health care benefits, you might consider a combination of 90-day short term insurance coverage and individual dental and vision plans. A combination of short term health insurance, dental and vision benefits would mirror what you would receive from many employers. It also likely mirrors the benefits you receive as a dependent on your parents’ insurance if you’re under the age of 26. 

If you decide that piecing together full coverage by purchasing 3 policies is right for you, you’ll need to enroll in these plans separately.  

Get the Reward Without the Risk 

Protect your quality of life by protecting your health. Accidents and illnesses happen when you least expect them. Health insurance helps you manage life’s surprises. Taking care of the business side of life, like securing health insurance, gives you peace of mind. Save the risk of trying a new restaurant or sport. Reap the rewards by securing your well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is short term health insurance affordable?


Yes, short term health insurance providers tend to offer low rates for coverage that doesn’t last all that long.


Can you buy short term health insurance right now?


Yes, you can buy short term health insurance at any time, even though you may be outside the open enrollment period.