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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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Advantages of Secure STM policy

originally posted: 3/7/2006  revised: 2/4/2011

Q: You wrote that the Secure STM health insurance is better than the previous policies. Can you give more details?

A: Secure STM is an easy-to-use short term medical insurance that often offers significant advantages over other options. Following are a few of the that add value to this new version of Secure STM insurance:

1. Coverage can be kept for up to 12 months to prevent the exclusions for pre-existing conditions would otherwise be incurred on the next permanent individual or group policy due to a gap in prior coverage. 

2. A prescription drug card is included that covers pre-existing medications. This is not a discount card, but an actual insurance card. The cost is $10 for generic drugs and $20 for brand name drugs. This is the only low cost health insurance that covers the cost of pre-existing prescription drugs.

3. The premium is significantly lower than permanent coverage.

First dollar benefits are included for a doctor's office visit. There is no deductible that must be satisfied for this benefit, only a $25 co-pay.

4. Emergency accident coverage is available as an option. This option that provides benefits without satisfying a deductible is not available on most low cost health insurance plans.

5. This policy is a great value for large families. Premiums are charged for up to 3 children per family regardless of the number of children who are covered by the policy. Also, large families only pay up to 3 deductibles, regardless of the number of family members who may incur medical expenses.

6. Standard Life is an "A rated" insurer with an excellent reputation. Consumer complaints are virtually non-existent, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Web site at

7. Offers live enrollment support, customer service and claims support by HPA, one of the best-respected independent companies in the industry. This "live" service is becoming increasingly rare among health plans today.

8. Enrollment can be completed online in minutes and evidence of insurance can be printed immediately. Duplicate ID cards can be accessed anytime through the Internet as long as the policy is in force.

8. Includes PPO pricing and claims processing benefits through PHCS, previously cited by Consumer Reports as the nation's highest rated preferred commercial provider network. Yet there are no penalties for using any U.S. provider outside of the network.

This insurance is about 30% more expensive than the lowest cost health insurance policies available but still less than 1/2 the cost of prevailing health insurance options. The benefits you get for the premium are outstanding by comparison.

It is easy for me to endorse this specific policy as one of the best health insurance values available today. Unfortunately it is only available in about half of the states. See the enrollment page for more specific information.

More resources:

Secure STM details