Supplementing Your Temporary Medical Insurance With Cash-Only Medical Visits

If you are between jobs and have lost health coverage, then a temporary medical insurance policy can help bridge the coverage gap until you get a new job that will provide you with insurance. These policies typically have low monthly premiums, but high deductibles. This means that you will have to shoulder a large portion of your medical bills out-of-pocket before the health plan kicks in and begins paying for expenses. If you have an existing health problem, such as diabetes, it will not be covered under a temporary policy, since these health plans exclude pre-existing conditions. They also do not cover pregnancy and childbirth. And routine health care such as doctor’s visits is not included under many of these plans.

However, a short-term health plan will allow you to be covered as soon as the day after your application is approved. Your policy can include coverage for dependents such as your wife and children. And, depending on your plan, certain transplants may also be covered, as well as home health care including at-home services from a registered nurse or health aide.

If you are concerned that your temporary medical insurance plan does not cover the cost of preventive care, however, then you may want to supplement it through a cash-only medical practice. Under this type of medical practice, which is also known as direct pay, patients pay a fixed fee for services rendered, which can be paid by credit card or check. Although these practices generally cater to the uninsured, patients with insurance coverage, such as those with health plans that have high-deductibles that only kick in for major health expenditures, are also welcome.

The idea behind a cash-only practice is to provide affordable health care by offering fixed, reasonable rates for all patients, rather than high rates for the uninsured and discounted rates for covered patients. It is also a better business model for many doctors, since by not participating in health insurance networks they can dispense with the extra staff necessary keep track of patient billings and claim processing, thus cutting down their overhead.

In order for you to avail of the services of a cash-only medical practice, you will usually have to become a member of the group. You will then be charged fixed fees based on the length of your visits. Many doctors, however, are founding their own direct pay practices without becoming members of a formal network. Many of these practices also offer consultations through phone or e-mail, making it more convenient for patients to get the answers to simple health questions without a personal visit; however, they will still be billed for the exact amount of time it took to address their health problem, just like an in-office visit. Some cash-only doctors will also make house calls but for a higher charge than a personal or online consultation.

These practices are a good way for people with temporary insurance coverage to get affordable routine care, particularly since limited-term health plans allow you to see any physician or health care professional that you want.

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