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How to Pick the Best Short Term Health Plan

best short term health plans


We're always a little bit suspicious of "best" articles.


Best by what standard?


Especially when it comes to short term health insurance.


How exactly do we decide what's "best"


That's where 25+ years experience helps a little (a lot!)


We'll cover the important aspects to consider when shopping short term health.


We'll also look at how it's different from ACA or Obamacare plans.


Don't forget the expansion of short term might make it a secondary market for people who can't affordable Obamacare plans.


We'll touch on that as well.


If you just need a short term health quote:

How to quote best short term health plans


Otherwise, feel free to jump to any of these sections:



Lot's to cover.


Best to get to it! (our apologies for that!)

Quick intro to short term health


Before we can pick the best of anything, it's probably good to understand what we're picking.


Let's do that quickly with short term health.


We've written extensively on how short term works and the differences between short term and Obamacare.


The last one is real important.


There are big differences between Obamacare and short term health (even the Trump expansion to 364 days and 3 years).


That really deserves some consideration.


As for Short term...


Short term health traditionally is a policy purchased for a defined period of time (30 to 364 days).



It is catastrophic in nature.

This means that it's really there to cover the big "what if".


  • Think of car accidents.
  • Broken bones.
  • ACL repairs.


The list could go on and on.


It's not designed to over the day to day health care costs.


Of course there's a cost trade-off!


If you don't qualify for a tax credit under Obamacare, short term can be 50-70% cheaper than the Bronze plan.


Here's a quick comparison of short term versus Obamacare:

ACA Obamacare and short term health plans comparison


We're happy to help with any question on this.


Again, you can find lots of detail on how short term works, who it's good for, and which companies offer it.


Assuming you're looking for short term, how do we pick the best?

How do we pick the best short term health insurance


So what do we look for in a good short term health plan and company?


Based on our experience of over 25+ years and 10's of 1000's of short term comparisons, here's the list in order of importance:


  • Policy design - "no hidden gotchas"
  • Cost
  • Network
  • Flexibility of duration and process
  • Membership/Claims


Let's look at these in more detail.


Short term policy design


There are some companies that offer "short term" plans which are TERRIBLE!


They have caps on benefits in hospital per day along with a lost of other bad flaws.


It does you know good to buy a policy that caps a hospital benefit at $1000/day.


You can quickly hit $50K in one night at a hospital if not more.


The whole point of getting short term is too cover that big bill!

We want to make sure to avoid those companies.


We DO NOT quote them on our site.


They're bad for our clients.

So, we cleared that out...


Short term health cost


Obviously, this is next.


The monthly rate is most likely why we're considering short term health insurance.


We want the best rate!


This is pretty straight forward when we have a choice between different carriers since the benefits are pretty similar.

We'll touch more on this below.




This is the list of doctors and hospitals we can see under the plan.


We want the broadest network preferably with a PPO option.


We'll describe how to compare the best doctor networks below.


Flexibility of short term duration


In some areas, we may have the expansion of short term health plans to 364 days.


That's a lot better than the old 90 day limit.


The longer the better depending on how we're using the plans (just to cover a gap versus can't afford Obamacare).


Membership and Claims for Short Term Plans

Finally, we want an easier process when dealing with the short term plan.


Especially on the claims side!


We want them to pay what is reasonable to pay.


Most of that comes from picking a strong short term health company.

Let's get into the results!

Best short term health companies


Right now on the market, there are two legitimate and strong short term health companies.


We expect more carriers to come on board with the recent expansion.


Here are the best short term health insurance companies:


  • IHC (partners with BCBS)
  • UnitedHealthOne (part of United Health)


Both carriers may not be available in every State.


Here's the current list for best short term companies by State:

short term health plans by State


There will be ongoing change in the carrier availability so run your quote below to check on availability based on zipcode:

How to quote best short term health plans


These two carriers are solid players with long track records (decades).


Most importantly, their plans are legitimate short term coverages with avoid the bad design we mentioned above.


It's still catastrophic in nature and very different from Obamacare.


You can read further here:



Speaking of reviews...

Best short term health insurance reviews


We have helped 10's of 1000's of people compare short term health options.


Here's are top level review of the two best companies (more detail below by section).


First, keep in mind that health insurance online reviews by company are notoriously negative.


This is true for all health carriers.


Granted, they're not the easiest to deal with but there are other factors that feed into the reviews.


NO ONE ever gives a positive review.


Or very few. Even when the carrier pays 100's of $1000 in medical expenses.


We just don't think to comment on that.


It's not our favorite restaurant!


So...on to our review based on actual experience with 1000's of interactions.


By the way, there's no cost for our assistance with any of the best companies. ZERO

Call 800-320-6269 or email us with any questions.


Compare short term health plans


Let's touch on the factors.


Best Short Term Health Plan Design


UnitedHealthOne has an advantage here based on flexibility and breadth of options.


  • IHC's plan design is pretty streamlined and more catastrophic in nature.
  • UnitedHealthOne offers richer benefit options as well as the catastrophic.


They both have comparable coverages but you can choose from a wider array of deductibles, coinsurances, and out of pocket maxs with UnitedHealthOne.


Best Short Term Health Rates


This depends on your area, age, and plan option.


As we mentioned above, UnitedHealthOne has more flexibility in plan design but...


People aren't usually shopping short term health plans for richer benefits.


They're usually searching for lower cost!


In that case, most people would choose less rich benefits if UnitedHealthOne is the only option in their area anyway!


You can quickly quote both carriers here:

How to quote best short term health plans


The comparable plan would be $5000 deductible, 40 or 50% coinsurance, $5000 out of pocket, with $2M max benefit.


This way, you can compare for the best rates based on apples and apples.


Best Short Term Doctor networks


We'll touch on this below but a quick synopsis:


IHC has the PPO which is better than UnitedHealthOne's EPO


Both have extensive nationwide networks


Again, more on this below...


Best Short Term Customer Service


UnitedHealthOne has the slight advantage here.


This is always a function of the insurance company process, structure, and history.


United Health (the parent company) is just more adept at process.

This makes sense since they're one of the biggest US insurance companies for a while now.


That being said, process for both short term companies leave something to be desired.


For the most part, they pay when they're expected to...maybe requiring a nudge in the right direction now and then.


It's health insurance after all.


Apple has spoiled us!


As licensed short term health insurance agents, we can help you navigate the back end if there are issues.


There's no cost for our assistance at 800-320-6269 or by email.

Best short term health doctor networks


Let's talk about the doctors and hospitals a bit.




  • IHC uses the MultiPlan PPO (lookup here)
  • UnitedHealthOne uses UnitedHealth Choice EPO network (lookup here)


Both are huge!


1M doctors nationwide. 1000's of hospitals.


They're actually bigger than what we can get on many Obamacare networks by State.


This is kind of crazy but emblematic of some of the issues we've seen since 2014 with Obamacare.


Let's touch on the EPO versus PPO.


They both work the same way in terms of:


  • Referring yourself out
  • No primary care physician required
  • Not based on geographic area


Where are the different?


Out of Network!


With an EPO, you have no benefit outside the network other than for a true emergency.


With a PPO, you will have limited benefits out of network for covered benefits.


Pretty limited in fact.


If we have to pick the best one, we would choose PPO.


This assumes we have both carriers in our area however.

Let's look at the main driver for short term...rates.


Best short term health insurance rates


You can quote the major short term health carriers here:

How to quote best short term health plans


A few notes.


The rates can really differ depending on:


  • Age
  • Zip code
  • Plan choice


In one area, IHC will be less expensive.

In another, UnitedHealthOne will be less expensive.


One note...there are many States where we'll only have one of the best short term companies.


A further note on rates when you're quoting the plans.


It usually makes sense to go with a higher deductible and/or out of pocket max to save on monthly premium.


Keep in mind that we're looking to cover the "big what if".


A successful strategy is to get a higher deductible/max and add on a critical illness/accidental medical policy to fill in the big gap.

Both carriers offer this option alongside the short term health plans.


Best alternative to Obamacare


As a final wrap to our guide to comparing short term health plans, let's touch on the expansion.


Make sure to understand the differences of Obamacare versus short term health plans here.


Short term will likely become the best alternative to Obamacare.




Here's the deal...if you get a tax credit with Obamacare or have bigger health care needs, the last few years have been great with Obamacare.


If you don''s been very expensive!


Especially if you're older.


The expanded short term to 364 days and 3 year renewals will likely become an alternative to Obamacare for millions of people.


We're not exaggerating.




We already saw a large lapse in coverage at the beginning of 2017 for unsubsidized Obamacare members.


Add to that the people who didn't enroll at all.


Short term with a the 90 day Obama restriction was not a good work around.



You had to re-apply every 90 days.

The new 364 days will likely make it the best alterative to Obamacare for people who can't afford the ACA plans.


You can quote those options here:

How to quote best short term health plans


The enrollment is also available right through the quote!

There's no cost for assistance as licensed short term health agents!


Best short term health plan Wrap Up


Finding the best of everything requires information and experience.


We passed on our 25+ years experience up above for short term health plans but everyone's situation is different.


Feel free to reach out to us.


We'll not only help you understand the differences between short term and other options (Obamcare, Cobra, etc) but we'll help you find the best plan and rates.


It's not rocket science but it's close.


It's health insurance after all!


Let us help.

We don't push or sell.

We answer questions and that's it!


Quote the Best Short Term Health Plans by carrier here


Again, there is absolutely no cost to you for our services.  Call 800-320-6269 Today!



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