short-term indemnity health insurance

Hi. I’m buying 30 days of coverage before my student insurance starts. The plan says that it is an “indemnity plan” and that there’s no provider network (in the USA). Does this mean that any doctor or hospital will accept the plan? Or will it be viewed oddly and will I be told to go elsewhere?


It means that the plan will reimburse you personally, not your doctor. You pay the bill yourself, fill out the paperwork yourself, then send it to the insurance company. In due course, they’ll process it and send you a check.

Indemnity plans are the “traditional” health plans that your parents or grandparents probably had before HMOs became big. The idea is that you go to any doctor you want, you submit the paperwork to your insurance company yourself, and the insurance company pays you directly.

While they’re considerably rarer these days, indemnity plans are still in wide use and are well known to doctors. I don’t think that you’ll have any problems scheduling appointments due to having that type of insurance, though of course you can always call the individual doctor’s office and double check. The hospitals definitely won’t raise an eyebrow.

As with any health plan, even though it falls under a broad category, individual companies might be doing things their own way, or be bringing in elements (doctor offices doing the paperwork, incentives to use one of their doctors, etc.) of one of their HMO or POS plans. The main thing that you should do is call up the rep selling the plan to you, and ask them how filing a claim would work.

Got it. Thanks. I’ll call them, but if one were to have a very large bill (which for a grad student is anything over a couple hundred bucks), do you get reimbursed for each monthly payment, if you have to schedule payments to the doctor, labs and hosptial? Or do you submit the bill to the insurance company and they send one check (i.e., I get paid by the insurer within 30 days even though I tell beg the hospital to give me 60 days?). Otherwise, there’s a liquidity problem when you barely have next monhts rent in the bank.


I’m not sure, actually. But on the upside, as long as you’re actively attempting to pay or to get your insurance to pay, I’ve found hospital billing departments to be remarkably lenient. I speak from a personal experience with crappy carveout insurance.