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Temporary Health Insurance
With temporary health insurance being yet another option in the confusing world in which we live, it seems that absolutely nothing is designed to last anymore. With drive-thru weddings (and divorces), short-term lease agreements, and temporary workers (temps) becoming part of our vocabulary, it was probably only a matter of time before temporary health insurance made its way into our lives. Of course, if you happen to be one of those temps out there working for a company without actually being employed by that organization (confused yet?), then you are probably living without the protection of health insurance. But in times when a single illness or injury can land you in bankruptcy court, perhaps it is time that you learned more about temporary health insurance and how it can protect you in these very uncertain (and expensive) times.
Rising healthcare costs are literally forcing many companies to alter their perception of benefits and the very manner in which they compensate, hire, and retain employees. Hence, the dramatic rise and use of temporary workers in both the United States and Europe. While the use of “temps” has decreased labor costs for businesses, it has literally left millions of hard-working people without health insurance. How is this possible?
Businesses are not required by law to offer temporary workers benefit packages including health insurance. Legally, a person may physically work at Company ABC without being an actual employee of that business. In truth, the worker is an employee of the temporary agency that sent them out to Company ABC. While many temporary agencies offer health insurance to “temps” who have attained a set number of hours, the costs of that coverage are often unrealistic for people earning “temp” wages. Thus, temporary health insurance may be the only viable option for millions of people.
Temporary health insurance is precisely as the name implies: temporary. Ideally, this type of medical insurance was designed for people in-between jobs, those just starting a new job whose benefits have not commenced yet, or even students who are no longer covered under their parents’ plan. Temporary health insurance was never designed to be a replacement for standard health coverage. Instead, this form of coverage is meant to give people legitimate protection in the event of a major illness or injury.
Temporary health insurance has a limited term that may range from 30-360 days. Some plans will allow you to renew at the end of the term while others will simply not extend coverage further or will make you apply again—it depends upon the insurer so be sure to do your homework and anticipate your needs before applying. In addition, there are some real limits to temporary health insurance which may include:
- No coverage for any pre-existing injuries, illnesses, or prescriptions
- No coverage for pregnancy or prenatal care
- No coverage for preventative care or even normal office visits
- Limits on the types of illnesses and injuries covered
The terms on these exclusions or limitations are determined, in part, by state regulations which vary.
Deciding on Temporary Health Insurance
You may be asking yourself at this point why you should even bother with temporary health insurance. Simply put, temporary health insurance is affordable and easy to obtain with many companies offering coverage within 24 hours of applying. While never designed to be your primary health insurance, temporary plans will cover you in the event of unforeseen illnesses or injuries. Remember, a simple broken arm might cost a patient $5-10,000 dollars by the time X-Rays, casts, and follow-up visits are tallied up! In these times of skyrocketing health costs, uninsured citizens are literally playing Russian Roulette with their financial future!
No, temporary health insurance does not end your need for a long-term solution. But with more and more of us having to seek employment through temporary agencies where health insurance is simply not an option, short-term coverage may be the only viable solution. The price of not having even temporary health coverage in these times is far greater than the reasonable rates being charged by providers and you will rest easier at night knowing that you are covered—at least for now!
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