Summer has settled in across the country, and we’ve all got something to celebrate in this warm weather. As a college student or recent grad, you certainly have your fair share of reasons and opportunities to celebrate as well. But according to a recent poll, 72% of those in your shoes – or in your caps and gowns as the case may be – are facing a challenge: finding affordable health insurance.
With 40% of your fellow college students and recent grads mostly concerned about the cost of premiums and 20% concerned about high out-of-pocket costs, you will undoubtedly have questions about your options this summer. You may be coming off coverage through your university or your parents’ health plan or you may be waiting for coverage sponsored by your new employers to begin. You may also be priced out of traditional major medical coverage as well. Short-term medical plans may help you address your healthcare needs.
STM plans can include benefits and features such as:
- Flexibility in length of coverage in cost depending on benefits selected
- Variety of deductible and coinsurance options
- Benefits that are paid in a similar manner to traditional major medical plans
- Wellness options
- Little to no waiting periods
- Next day coverage for some carriers
- Relatively inexpensive premiums due to lower and more restricted benefits
- Low-cost doctor and specialist copays depending on the plan selected
- Open network of physicians, specialists, and hospital depending on the plan selected
Your family may also have concerns about your coverage options as well. When you research your options, talk with them about what STM plans can offer. This level of coverage is available at any time in the year and you can cancel it at any time as well. It can also offer access to providers of your choice, including providers you visited through their parents’ health coverage. If you’re looking to change providers, STM plans can provide you the opportunity to file your own claim and submit for reimbursement if needed.
However, STM coverage does not provide the minimum essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and will not help you avoid the penalty for not carrying health insurance. At this time, STM plans have a maximum duration of 3 months at which point you must re-apply to continue coverage. There may be limits on how many times you can re-apply as well. In addition, pre-existing conditions are not covered. Benefits vary by plan and state and may not include those that are listed above. Before making a purchasing decision, review any plan details carefully.
If you find that you aren’t eligible for STM coverage and that you’re priced out of ACA coverage, you may find health benefit insurance plans (commonly known as limited benefit medical plans) to fit your lifestyle and healthcare needs.
Health benefit insurance plans provide a basic insurance coverage that is capped at specific amounts for services provided due to accidental injuries, sickness, inpatient surgical care, outpatient care, and even pre-existing conditions. Plans vary as to the specific, fixed amounts provided and which specific medical services they will provide benefits for, but often times, this level of coverage may provide little to no waiting periods and benefits for critical illness and/or accidental death.
HBI coverage can also offer benefits and features such as:
- Guaranteed issue coverage
- Next day coverage or little to no waiting periods for accidental injuries or sickness
- 12 month waiting period for pre-existing conditions
- Ability to supplement existing coverage
- Access to non-insurance benefits such as a prescription savings program, 24/7/365 video and phone access to quality physicians, and a patient advocacy service
But remember: like STM plans, HBI plans do not count as minimum essential coverage required by the Affordable Care Act and is not suitable to serve as your only medical coverage. Although the premiums may be lower than a major medical plan, the benefits are also lower and more restricted.
Benefits offered vary by plan and state. Not available in all states. Make sure to review any plan details carefully prior to making a purchasing decision.
With our leading edge tools and technologies, we’re upgrading how you experience your choice of coverage.
Stay tuned to our next blog post!
Click here to join our Facebook community for more information about your health and your healthcare coverage.