August 17, 2015 by Tony Novak
Questions about temporary health coverage including queries about the federal program known as “COBRA” continue to be among the most common topics of consumer questions at Freedom Benefits. Individuals who need to find temporary health insurance are likely to find themselves in unfamiliar territory so these online resources at our web site remain popular. Temporary health insurance is primarily used by individuals who lose employer-provided coverage in the middle of the year. It is designed to bridge the gap until the end of the year when regular insurance becomes available through a state insurance exchange.
Commercial short-term medical insurance has been the most common solution for individuals who lose employer-provided coverage. Yet some individuals do not qualify for short-term medical insurance or are in the middle of ongoing medical treatment so that short-term medical insurance is not the most cost-effective solution. For these people the federal law known by the acronym COBRA ensures that some individuals can keep their former group coverage for a short time.
Temporary insurance – both short-term medical insurance and COBRA coverage – are unchanged by the Affordable Care Act. The online resource materials published at Freedom Benefits and COBRAplan.com long ago are still valid today.
The Affordable Care Act permits individuals who need to enroll in regular insurance to make an application in the 4th quarter of the calendar year for coverage starting January 1 of the following year. The most common error we hear about is allowing the maximum coverage time under the temporary insurance (usually 12 months for short-term medical insurance or 18 months for COBRA continuation) without enrolling in an exchange health insurance plan.
Personal help with temporary health insurance is available free of charge at OnlineNavigator.org