Short-term health insurance can temporarily cover you when you're between jobs, missed open enrollment or looking for coverage before Medicare begins. Coverage typically lasts less than a year but can be extended. However, it's worth noting that short-term plans are not Affordable Care Act-compliant, so they don't always include essential health benefits or cover pre-existing medical conditions.
MoneyGeek discovered that National General Accident & Health offers the best overall short-term health insurance in Illinois, scoring 95 out of 100. Another great option in the state is Everest Reinsurance Company, which received a score of 85 out of 100.
If you’re keen on saving money, note that short-term health insurance is not an ideal replacement for a marketplace plan. It’s best to research health insurance subsidies to get better coverage at an affordable cost.
Best Companies for Short-Term Health Insurance in Illinois
To determine the best short-term health insurance companies, MoneyGeek analyzed the pricing, plan options and cost-sharing choices for thousands of plans. Within each state, plans were aggregated by company to compile an overview of a short-term health insurance provider. In determining the best short-term providers for specific categories, weights were redistributed to take into account the goal of the health insurance plan.
Please be advised that the costs provided are averages. Actual rates will vary based on consumer profile and location.
Best Overall Short-Term Health Insurance in Illinois
According to MoneyGeek’s analysis, the companies offering the best temporary health insurance in Illinois are:
- National General Accident & Health: 95 out of 100
- Everest Reinsurance Company: 85 out of 100
- UnitedHealthcare: 55 out of 100
These companies were selected based on their maximum out-of-pocket costs and other cost-sharing options.
On average, the maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) costs from National General Accident & Health and Everest Reinsurance Company are similar at $7,500 and $7,958, respectively. Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare’s MOOP cost is approximately $11,833.
National General Accident & Health
As the best overall company for short-term health insurance in Illinois, National General Accident & Health earned a 95 out of 100. For over 75 years, this provider has offered several insurance products, including dental, short-term medical, accident and critical illness insurance.
The company's short-term policies vary in term length, plan options, co-insurance and deductibles, providing flexibility that customers may appreciate. Some plans from National General Accident & Health include benefits like urgent care and prescription drug coverage. It's worth noting, however, that this insurer may enforce waiting periods and charge application fees.
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It may be tempting to forgo a health insurance plan for a few months rather than get short-term coverage to save money. However, MoneyGeek advises against this because of the financial burden of a medical emergency. For instance, an unplanned surgery can cost you tens of thousands of dollars without insurance.
Best Cheap Short-Term Health Insurance
For those on a budget, National General Accident & Health has the cheapest short-term health insurance in Illinois. A plan from this insurer has an average maximum out-of-pocket cost of $7,500.
When shopping around for affordable insurance, you'll find that companies tend to offer lower premiums for plans with higher out-of-pocket costs. Make sure the coverage you'll get is sufficient for your health care needs.
National General Accident & Health
Based on MoneyGeek's analysis, National General Accident & Health is also the most affordable company for temporary health insurance in Illinois. Aside from having the lowest average MOOP costs, the insurer also has low co-insurance and reasonable application fees. These features make the company relatively flexible with its pricing. However, some of its cheaper plans may not be worth the money and have higher out-of-pocket costs.
Understanding the purpose of short-term health insurance is crucial before purchasing a plan. This type of insurance is meant to bridge a temporary lapse in coverage, not to replace a marketplace or long-term plan.
Since short-term health insurance plans don't comply with federal marketplace requirements, they don't usually offer essential health benefits or cover pre-existing medical conditions. Plus, if you develop an illness during your short-term coverage, your policy may not be eligible for renewal.
Best Short-Term Health Insurance Between Jobs
Another common reason for short-term health insurance is when you're between jobs. MoneyGeek focused on monthly premiums and cost-sharing options to determine that the best companies in Illinois for unemployed individuals are:
- Companion Life Insurance Company: $148 per month
- Everest Reinsurance Company: $162 per month
- Independence American Insurance Company: $171 per month
Although Companion Life Insurance Company has fewer plan options than the other two, it had the lowest average premium, raising its overall value in our ranking of Illinois providers.
As always, it's wise to consider coverage and cost-sharing options alongside monthly premiums. Plans with lower premiums usually have higher MOOP costs. Thus, they may only be ideal for those who don't require much medical attention.
Companion Life Insurance Company
Since 1971, Companion Life Insurance Company has provided clients with quality insurance products. In terms of health insurance, this provider offers limited-benefit, short-term medical and group supplemental expense insurance.
Companion Life's short-term health insurance plans tend to have low application fees and shorter waiting periods. However, this company doesn't offer much flexibility regarding term length or plan options. You also may be waiting a long time if your coverage needs include cancer treatment.
There are a few circumstances when extending short-term health insurance coverage is a sensible decision — for example, if the start date of your new job is pushed back or open enrollment is a few months away. Otherwise, it's generally inadvisable to repeatedly choose temporary health insurance over a marketplace plan.
How Does Short-Term Health Insurance Work in Illinois?
Short-term health insurance covers you during a lapse in long-term coverage, usually from a few months to a year. Consider it emergency protection, not a long-term strategy.
Although some states allow you to renew your short-term plan for up to two years, this is not the case in Illinois. Under Illinois state law, you can only get temporary health insurance coverage for up to six months. Furthermore, you cannot renew or extend your short-term plan for a year after coverage ends. You're also prohibited from purchasing another plan from the same company within 60 days of your previous one's expiration date.
How to Buy Short-Term Health Insurance in Illinois
Buying short-term health insurance in Illinois is not as challenging as it seems. MoneyGeek walks you through the process of getting a short-term policy in the steps below.
Determine How Long You’ll Need Health Coverage
Short-term health insurance plans range from three months to three years. Before shopping around for a policy, you must consider your situation and how long you need your coverage to last. Doing so will help you avoid a gap in health insurance coverage.
Assess Your Health Care Needs
Since short-term plans don't comply with Affordable Care Act requirements, they don't cover all the essential health benefits. Thus, it's crucial to consider your health care needs, such as prescription drugs or immediate care. Knowing what you need allows you to explore plans that adequately cover them.
Research Providers and Available Plans
Compare providers to find the best option for your needs and situation. Take a close look at what each insurer offers regarding plan options, coverage limits, term length, deductibles and benefits.
Comparing short-term health insurance to marketplace health insurance can help determine which option suits your health care needs and situation. Short-term plans provide coverage for a few months to a year but don't usually include all the essential health benefits or cover pre-existing conditions. They're ideal for emergencies since most plans come with no waiting periods.
On the other hand, marketplace plans must have all the essential benefits and cover pre-existing conditions. You can usually purchase a plan during the open enrollment, which starts on November 1. However, you can qualify for special enrollment outside this period if you experience qualifying life circumstances.
FAQs About Short-Term Health Insurance in Illinois
MoneyGeek answered some frequently asked questions to help you better understand short-term health insurance in Illinois.
About Brenna Kelly, Licensed Health Insurance Agent