Unsplash/Gillian Vann

If you’re freelancing, every penny counts. Health insurance costs are rising and your premiums may be pretty expensive without an employer who is covering part of the costs. Even if your freelance life is temporary because you’re between jobs, you don’t have to take the risks that come with skipping insurance. Instead, try these approaches for short term health insurance. You may find that they make sense for your situation.

Health insurance is important

If you’re like many people, you may wonder if you really need health insurance. This could be especially true if you’re young, healthy, and don’t go to a doctor very often. It may seem like the money you pay for health insurance premiums is wasted and that money, particularly if freelancing work is tight, could be better spent on other things.

Health insurance is important because it allows you to prevent a financial catastrophe if a larger illness or accident occurs. Most plans, even the lowest-priced ones, have a cap on the amount of money a customer is expected to pay for health costs in a given year. If you are unfortunate enough to need your health plan for something serious, costs can quickly escalate to the five-figure level and beyond. With a spending cap in place, you’ll be protected from a financially devastating level of bills.

What temporary plans look like

So how does a temporary, low-cost health insurance plan look like? What does it cover and how do charges work? Short term or limited duration health care plans are considered their own specialized category of insurance and can beat the costs of longer-term insurance by 30% or more. However, many of these plans have a limit of between one and three years. That’s not forever, but it is a significant amount of time.

As you might expect, these plans aren’t as robust as their full-service, unlimited duration counterparts. However, they do cover emergencies and severe illnesses. Their pricing is likely to vary depending on a customer’s age with younger people paying lower premiums. Also, many plans don’t cover costs for prescription drugs, preventive care, hospitalization, prenatal and maternity care, and mental health and substance abuse. Customers using short-term plans typically have to have a medical examination before they’re accepted for coverage and may be denied coverage for preexisting conditions. However, plans vary and if you’re considering short-term coverage you should evaluate multiple options to see which is best for your situation.

Selecting a temporary health insurance plan

Temporary plans are available from many insurance providers. If you know of someone who provides for other insurance needs, you can ask them if they can give you a quote or can refer you to a different broker who may help. You can also conduct an online search or ask for referrals from other colleagues who are freelancers.

Before you select a plan or a provider, ask yourself some key questions. Firstly, understand the list of services that are eligible for reimbursement, medical professionals you can see, and how many times you can extend your coverage period. You’ll also want to understand what your out of pocket costs or deductibles would be, if there is a maximum allowable benefit, and if there any additional fees, such as application fees or processing fees, that you would be responsible for.

Once you have this information, you should be in a great place to select coverage for yourself and begin the application process. You’ll be well on your way to being protected from emergencies or illness that would result in catastrophic medical bills. That peace of mind means you can focus on your freelance work, not worrying about insurance.