Short-term health insurance can temporarily cover you if you're between jobs, missed open enrollment or need coverage before Medicare kicks in. Although you can extend it, coverage normally lasts less than a year. However, short-term plans are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act, meaning they don't always cover essential health benefits or pre-existing medical conditions.
National General Accident & Health received an overall MoneyGeek rating of 85 out of 100, making it the best short-term medical insurance provider in North Carolina. Everest Reinsurance Company, which garnered a similar score, is yet another excellent choice in the state.
Short-term health insurance is not a good substitute for a marketplace plan. Explore health insurance subsidies if you're concerned about cost-cutting and need a long-term insurance plan.
Best Companies for Short-Term Health Insurance in North Carolina
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 North Carolina
Based on MoneyGeek's research, the companies offering the best temporary health insurance in North Carolina are:
- National General Accident & Health: 85 out of 100
- Everest Reinsurance Company: 85 out of 100
- Companion Life Insurance Company: 63 out of 100
We based this ranking mainly on the range of cost-sharing choices and average maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) costs. While the first two companies share the same overall rating, the average MOOP for the winner is $6,875, Everest’s is around $7,958 and Companion Life’s is a hefty $12,438.
National General Accident & Health
National General Accident & Health rates as the top overall provider of short-term health insurance in North Carolina, scoring 85 out of 100. This company has provided insurance products for over 75 years and offers dentistry, short-term medical, accident and critical illness insurance.
Customers may like the flexibility of the company's short-term plans, which range in term duration, plan selections, co-insurance and deductibles. Some National General Accident & Health insurance comes with extras like coverage for prescription drugs and urgent care. However, some of these plans have application costs and impose waiting periods.
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Going without health insurance for a few months instead of obtaining temporary coverage is a bad idea. Accidental injuries or emergency surgery can cost thousands of dollars, leaving you in dire financial straits if you don’t have health insurance.
Best Cheap Short-Term Health Insurance
National General Accident & Health offers the cheapest short-term health insurance in North Carolina for people on a tight budget. The average maximum out-of-pocket expense for a plan from this insurer is $6,875.
Companies typically offer cheaper rates for plans with higher out-of-pocket expenses. If you choose an inexpensive plan, make sure its coverage is adequate for your health care needs.
National General Accident & Health
Our data shows that National General Accident & Health offers the state’s most affordable short-term health insurance plans. The organization provides multiple levels of benefits across all its plans. This insurer offers low out-of-pocket maximums and low co-insurance for some policies. However, some of its more cost-effective policies may not offer the protection you require.
North Carolina's short-term health insurance is not meant to replace a market-based or long-term plan. Instead, it safeguards you against catastrophic expenditures in an emergency medical situation. Many short-term insurance plans lack preventive health coverage and don’t cover pre-existing conditions. If you develop an illness during your insurance term, the company can choose not to renew your policy.
Best Short-Term Health Insurance Between Jobs
Many people choose to purchase temporary health insurance when they’re between jobs. The top short-term health insurers in North Carolina for unemployed people are:
- Companion Life Insurance Company: $148 per month
- Everest Reinsurance Company: $162 per month
- UnitedHealthcare: $171 per month
Despite offering fewer plan options than the other two, Companion Life Insurance Company had the lowest average premium, which increased its value in our ranking of North Carolina carriers.
As usual, it's a good idea to consider coverage and cost-sharing alternatives in addition to monthly fees. Plans with lower premiums tend to have higher MOOPs and may only be suitable for persons who don't require extensive medical care.
Companion Life Insurance Company
Companion Life Insurance Company has offered insurance services since 1971. This company provides short-term medical, group supplementary expenditure and limited-benefit health insurance.
Shorter waiting periods and lower application fees are typical features of Companion Life's short-term health insurance policies. The company doesn't provide many plan alternatives or term duration choices. If you require cancer treatment, you could also face a long wait.
You may want to extend your short-term coverage if the start date of your new job is postponed or if open enrollment is coming up soon. However, choosing temporary health insurance between jobs over marketplace plans is not a smart option in the long run. Marketplace plans offer affordable Catastrophic, high-deductible and Bronze options that deliver the essential health care benefits you require.
How Does Short-Term Health Insurance Work in North Carolina?
Short-term health insurance usually lasts a few months while you wait for long-term protection. It more closely resembles an emergency plan than a preventive strategy. In North Carolina, you can enroll in a plan for 364 days, at which point you can renew for a total duration of 36 months.
How to Buy Short-Term Health Insurance in North Carolina
With so much to consider, finding the best short-term health insurance in North Carolina can feel overwhelming. MoneyGeek outlined steps to get you started.
Determine How Long You Need Coverage
Short-term health insurance plans have terms ranging from three months to three years. Think about how long you’ll need coverage.
Assess Your Health Care Needs
Evaluate your particular health care needs, such as prescription medication and urgent medical attention.
Research Providers and Available Plans
Once you determine your coverage needs and duration, comparing providers is imperative. Examine the plan options, coverage limitations, term duration, deductibles and benefits each insurer provides in detail.
Short-term health insurance usually does not cover essential health benefits or pre-existing conditions. It’s meant as a stop-gap measure until you can get long-term insurance. In contrast, marketplace plans offer preventive services and maternity care, cover pre-existing conditions and are the best long-term option.
FAQs About Short-Term Health Insurance in North Carolina
MoneyGeek answers questions about short-term health insurance in North Carolina to help your search.
About Brenna Kelly, Licensed Health Insurance Agent