This article is intended for members enrolled in an individual health insurance plan.

If you’ve been hearing about temporary, or short-term, health care plans, they may seem like a good option to consider for health insurance because they may cost less than other types of plans. But what they cover is different than other plans, too.

Qualified health plans, sometimes known as Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, may cost more per month than short-term plans, but they offer more coverage options than many of the short-term plans. It’s important to be aware of the differences in coverage when you shop for a plan.

Here is a comparison of ACA plans and short-term plans for some popular coverage options.

Coverage Options

Affordable Care Act Plans

Short-Term Plans

Pre-existing conditions (such as asthma or diabetes)

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Pre-existing conditions may be excluded

Preventive services, including immunizations

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Preventive services are typically not covered

Prescription drugs

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71% do not cover prescription drugs

Maternity care

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100% do not cover maternity care

Mental health services, including substance abuse disorders

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43% do not cover mental health services
62% do not cover substance abuse treatment

No limits to cost of care

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Coverage is often limited to a set cost

Annually renewable when still available

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Limited renewals