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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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6 year gap until Medicare

originally posted: 4/27/2006  revised: 12/11/2010

Q: My wife currently has BCBS but the rates (over $700/mo.) are getting out of our reach. We are living on my Social Security, and she is not yet eligible for Medicare, being 59 years old. Is short term with several renewals feasible? That would mean 12 renewals of six-month policies. I assume the cost would increase with each renewal; true? We are looking at the Secure STM plan. Will this plan permit so many renewals?

A: Two consecutive 36 month policies would be a safer approach because it would decrease the risk of exclusion of ongoing treatments of pre-existing conditions. Availability of this option depends on your state of residence. Please see the OnlineAdviser article titled "Review-of-Secure-12x3-STM". Ability to reapply for consecutive policies is also controlled by state law; see "How long can I be covered by short term health insurance?" for any applicable restrictions in your state of residence.

The overshadowing issue at this point is the scheduled change to all health insurance plans in January 2014. For this reason, we can only make reasonable plans for the next three years. Beyond that, we would simply be guessing and any insurance planning holds little likelihood of being viable past that date.

Since the original date of publication, the maximum length of short term medical insurance was reduced to 12 months. It may be possible to string several types of policies together for longer periods of coverage if necessary.

Take a short term outlook on health coverage because health insurance products will likely change dramatically before January 2014.

More resources:

Secure 12x3 short term medical insurance