Does short-term health insurance cover prescriptions? If you’re shopping for short-term health insurance coverage, you may be curious about whether it includes prescription drug coverage. Although it’s not common, some short-term plans – including some offered through Vera Health – provide benefits for prescription drugs in some states.
Keep reading for more about short-term health plan benefits, plus tips on how to save money on your prescription drugs.
The Rising Cost of Prescription Drugs in the U.S.
Americans spend more on prescription drugs – $1,200 per person per year, on average – than any other country in the world. That’s a serious chunk of change. What’s more, prescription drug prices are only climbing. The prices of nearly 500 prescription drugs have risen since Jan. 1, 2020, and the average price increase is around 5%, according to GoodRx.
Health insurance can help cover prescription drug costs, so if that’s an important benefit to you, you’ll want to make sure you purchase a plan that includes it.
Does Short-Term Health Insurance Cover Prescriptions?
Short-term health insurance plans usually include benefits for preventive care, doctor visits, urgent care, and emergency room visits. It’s not common, but some short-term insurance plans offer benefits for prescription drugs in some states. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, 29% of short-term health insurance plans offer prescription medication benefits.
Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant major medical plans must cover 10 essential health benefits, which include prescription drug coverage. However, short-term plans are different. Short-term health insurance is not required to comply with the ACA, so coverages vary widely depending on your plan and provider.
It’s so important to read the fine print before you purchase any health insurance plan, especially if you’re seeking short-term health insurance that includes benefits for prescription drugs. That way, you know exactly what is and is not covered, so you’re not caught off guard when you pay for your prescription at the pharmacy.
What Does Short-Term Health Insurance Cover?
Short-term health insurance does not provide as much coverage as ACA-compliant major medical plans, but it may offer the benefits you want. For example, a short-term health insurance plan through Vera Health typically includes access to the Aetna Open Choice® PPO network and benefits for the following:
- Doctor visits
- Urgent care
- Ground ambulance trips
- Emergency room care
- Home health care
- Child immunizations
- Physical therapy
- Diagnostic testing
- Emergency surgery
- Prescription drug benefits, in some states*
Short-term medical coverage’s limited benefits make this type of health insurance an affordable option for those who don’t want to pay for all the coverages included with an ACA-compliant plan. However, because the benefits of short-term health insurance plans vary so widely, it’s critical to understand the exclusions and limitations before purchasing any plan.
Short-term health insurance is a good fit for some, but it’s not right for everyone. For example, if you require ongoing prescription medication, an ACA-compliant major medical plan may provide more comprehensive benefits to help pay for your prescription drug costs.
How to Save Money on Your Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs are expensive, even with health insurance. Who couldn’t use a little help with prescription costs? Whether you take daily medication or need to fill a one-time prescription from your doc, knowing how to save money on your prescription drugs can come in handy. Follow these tips to save money on your’ scripts:
- Go generic. Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, but they are significantly less expensive. If your doctor prescribes you medication, ask if a generic is available. Even if there isn’t, there could be a similar drug with a more affordable generic version.
- Use coupons. Sites like GoodRx and WeRx offer coupons for prescription drugs. Search for your medication, find a coupon, and share it with the pharmacist for savings.
- Compare cash price v. insured price. You may be better off paying the cash price for your prescription if your short-term health insurance does not cover it. Remember to ask your pharmacist the cash price of your meds before making an expensive purchase.
- Buy in bulk. Most pharmacies charge a fraction less for your prescriptions if you buy them in bulk. If you take a daily medication, you could save money on your prescription drugs by filling a 90-day supply instead of 30 days.
- Shop around. Prescription drug retail prices vary, and some meds are cheaper at certain pharmacies than others. Compare pricing with GoodRx or WeRx, or call around the different pharmacies in your area.
- Get a discount card. Short-term medical plans through Vera Health include access to a prescription discount card through your LIFE Association membership, helping you save money on your prescription drugs. You can also sign up for discount cards on sites like ScriptSave and WellRx. Exact savings vary by medication and pharmacy, but saving something is better than saving nothing at all.
- Use a mail-order service. You could save money by ordering your medications online through a reputable mail-order pharmacy, such as Express Scripts, Optum RX, or HealthWarehouse.com. Before ordering, verify that the pharmacy is VIPPS-accredited, which means they follow best practices for prescription safety. Some people use overseas mail-order pharmacies to get the lowest prices on prescription meds, but it’s usually less risky to order from verified online pharmacies in the U.S.
Your Health Insurance Questions, Answered
Curious how short-term health insurance could help offset the cost of your prescriptions? Call 888-499-1187 to chat with a Vera Health pro to learn whether a short-term health plan could offer the prescription medication benefits you want. Or, visit our homepage and adjust the slider to start customizing your own plan.
*Covered services may be subject to waiting periods, visit limitations, deductible, coinsurance, copays, and/or benefit maximums depending on the plan you purchased.
Short Term Medical coverage is not required to comply with federal market requirements for health insurance, principally those contained in the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check your policy carefully to make sure you are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions or health benefits (such as hospitalization, emergency service, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services). If this coverage expires or you lose eligibility for this coverage, you might have to wait until an open enrollment period to get other health insurance coverage.