Short Term Health Insurance Glossary

Health Insurance Terms Defined

Short Term Medical Insurance


Short term health insurance for temporary gaps in coverage.



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Term Definition
Copayments (Copays)

The fixed amount the insured person must pay out of pocket for specific medical services.

Generally co-pays pertain to general health care services, such as general office visits. Some short term health insurance plans require that the insured pay the full amount for all medical services, including general doctor’s visits, until the deductible has been met.


An amount that must be met, usually over the course of one year or certificate period, in order for the short term medical insurance plan to cover specific medical expenses. Most temporary plans identify an individual and a family deductible.

There also may be deductibles assigned to specific medical services that are separate from the primary deductible. For example, there may be a deductible for an emergency room visit that is separate from the full deductible assigned to the plan.

Dependent Coverage

Coverage that extends beyond the individual on the short term health insurance policy to cover a spouse or child. Age limitations for dependent coverage vary from state to state.

Date of Service

The date that a medical service was received. This date may differ from the date that the medical claim is filed with the insurance company.


The approval process that the insurance carrier follows to review an applicant’s medical history and current health status. The underwriter uses this information to determine whether or not to accept your application for a short term medical insurance policy.


When plan coverage is cancelled by the insurer due to lack of premium payment. Short term medical insurance can cover lapses when an individual is between employer provided policies.

Out of Pocket

An amount determined in the short term medical insurance plan as the amount the insured must pay, in addition to premiums, for health care services.

A maximum amount is usually assigned per policy. Once the maximum is met, the insurer will pay a percentage – sometimes up to 100 percent – of the insured’s eligible health care costs.

In Network

This refers to physicians who, under contract with the insurer, provide medical services at a discounted rate for members of the short term medical insurance plan.


Physicians who are out of network have not committed to a contract with the insurer and thus charge the full rate for their services.

Urgent Care Center

Medical clinics that offer immediate care, usually without an appointment. Services include acute care such as treatment for minor illnesses or injuries. Unlike emergency room services, urgent care clinics are not meant to be used for life-threatening care.

Well Baby Care/Child Care

Well baby and child care services are identified within a short term medical insurance plan as preventive and routinely scheduled care for infants and children up to a certain age identified in the policy. Usually these services include immunizations and physicals.

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