National General Health Insurance Review: Short-Term Policies with Excellent Flexibility

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National General Health Insurance Review: Short-Term Policies with Excellent Flexibility

Its plans are not the cheapest available and do not cover all health care necessities, but the company provides great benefits for policyholders.

Good for

  • Strong provider network through Aetna
  • Flexible short-term health plan deductibles, coinsurance levels, out-of-pocket maximums and coverage period maximums
  • Member benefits including telemedicine and gym membership discounts

Bad for

  • Insurance that covers the essential benefits (pregnancy, prescription drugs and other health care services)
  • Cheap short-term health insurance premiums

Editor's Rating


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National General offers short-term insurance plans that cover basic health care needs and can be purchased at any time, though it does not cover some of the essential benefits defined under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). National General's coverage includes great member benefits, and the company’s reviews and customer service are good, with few complaints filed during the company's operating history. However, quotes for short-term health insurance policies through National General are well above average when compared to competitors.

National General Health Insurance: Our Thoughts

National General Accident and Health Insurance offers a variety of products, including short-term health, supplemental and dental insurance. You can purchase health insurance through the company's online portal. Here you can also login to your account, view policy details, monitor your deductible and cancel your health insurance if you need to.

Health insurance through National General can be a great choice if you want cheap, temporary coverage. Situations where you may require a policy like this include:

  • Missing open enrollment
  • When are between jobs and waiting for your new benefits to begin
  • Looking for low-cost alternatives
  • If you are a student who is leaving your parents coverage

National General Short-Term Health Insurance

National General's health insurance policy is a short-term plan that covers a limited number of health care services. These are not Obamacare-qualified plans that are sold on health insurance marketplaces during open enrollment. Instead, you can purchase a short-term health insurance plan at any time if your state allows these plans, but they do not have the same level of health care coverage.

National General short-term plans only provide coverage for some of the essential benefits, including doctor visits, preventive care, hospital care, ambulance coverage and surgery. It would not provide coverage for normal pregnancy, prescription medications and pre-existing conditions. For this reason, short-term policies are best if you are healthy and looking for temporary coverage. For instance, if you are moving jobs and lose your employer coverage, then purchasing a short-term plan to bridge health insurance coverage could be useful.

Short-term health insurance through National General is available through two different plans: Standard Issue and Guaranteed Issue plans. Both short-term plans have coverage lengths that can be anywhere from 30 days to 12 months long and utilize Aetna's Open Choice PPO Network.

Standard Issue Short-Term Medical Plans

Standard Issue plans are National General's most basic health insurance offered. When applying for a Standard Issue policy, you would be required to fill out a health questionnaire to receive coverage. Below we have provided each tier of Standard Issue plan coverage, including each policy's deductible, coinsurance level, out-of-pocket maximum and coverage period maximum.

DeductibleCoinsuranceOut-Of-Pocket MaximumCoverage Period Maximum
$1,00050% / 50%$5,000$250,000
80% / 20%$5,000$1 million
$2,50050% / 50%$5,000$250,000
80% / 20%$5,000$1 million
100%$0$1 million
$5,00050% / 50%$5,000$250,000
80% / 20%$5,000$1 million
100%$0$1 million
$10,00080% / 20%$5,000$1 million
$25,00080% / 20%$5,000$1 million

Like most Obamacare health insurance plans, short-term policies will have deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket maximums that you must reach before certain benefits are provided by the insurer. The Standard Issue short-term medical plans differ in that there is a maximum coverage amount which sets a limit to how much the insurer will provide benefits. For example, say you had a Standard Issue policy with a coverage period maximum of $250,000 and a length of 12 months. If during the 12 month period, you incurred $260,000 in medical expenses then you would be required to pay the remaining $10,000 overage.

National General's short-term health insurance policies are more expensive when compared to similar plans. Therefore, if you are looking for the cheapest rates available you may be able to get a more affordable policy elsewhere. In the graph below we have compared National General's policy to similar plans offered through other insurance providers.

National General vs Competitor

Guaranteed Issue Plan

If you do not qualify for the Standard Issue policy due to health complications, then you would be able to purchase short-term medical coverage through the Guaranteed Issue plan. National General offers two types of Guaranteed Issue health plans:

Plan NameDeductibleCoinsuranceOut-Of-Pocket MaximumCoverage Period Maximum
Basic$5,00090% / 10%$5,000$100,000
Enhanced$3,50080% / 20%$6,500$100,000

National General Foundation Health

The Foundational Health insurance product from National General allows you to get affordable health care with first-dollar benefits. A first-dollar benefit means that any benefits from the health plan would be paid without any deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums or copays to satisfy. Additionally, the benefit you receive pays a preset dollar amount for specific health care services and is the same regardless of where you receive your care or how much the provider charges.

For instance, say you needed to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. If you had a Foundation Health Level 1 plan, you would be able to receive $300 to subsidize the cost of the ambulance ride. Normally, if you had no health insurance coverage, then you would be responsible for the entire cost of the ambulance service.

Foundation Health plans are separated into three different levels. As you go up in levels of coverage you would be required to pay a higher monthly premium but would also receive greater benefit amounts. You can view these different plans here.

These types of health policies are best for someone that wants extremely cheap health insurance coverage without having to worry about deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums or coinsurance. However, these are very thin health insurance plans meaning they do not provide many benefits when compared to more robust health policies. For this reason, we do not recommend going with a foundation health plan as your main source of coverage, and it may be more useful to pair with another plan, like a Standard Issue policy, that is offered through National General.

National General Supplemental Coverage

Supplemental coverage is an additional health plan that is designed to be added to a National General standard issue short-term medical plan. This type of plan can be used to help pay for services that would not be covered under your normal short term health insurance including critical illnesses, accidents, hospitalization and accidental death. National General's supplemental coverage does not utilize the same PPO network as the short-term plans, and instead, you have the freedom to choose any provider that works best for you.

National General Dental Insurance

Dental insurance through National General can be used to provide coverage for dental preventive care like examinations, cleanings, X-rays and a variety of surgeries. National General offers three different benefit levels to choose from that can help you find a plan that best fits your needs and budget. Dental plans utilize the Careington Maximum Care Dental Network, which provides discounts on all dental services so you can pay less.

Member Resources and Benefits

If you purchase an insurance policy through National General, you would automatically become enrolled in a LIFE Association Membership. This program provides access to a variety of benefits including telemedicine and product and service discounts. Telemedicine is a customer service tool that allows you to contact a licensed physician through video or over the phone who could treat you for common ailments or provide healthcare advice. The service is available 24/7 and can be useful for nonemergency illnesses.

A LIFE Association membership also provides discounts for everyday expenses you may incur. This can include subsidized gym memberships and an ID theft program.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

If you are looking for an insurer with great member benefits along with outstanding ratings then health insurance through National General would be a good choice. The company has great reviews, including an A+ rating and Accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. National General satisfies complaints in a timely manner and interacts with customers regularly. In addition, customer reviews online are positive with a few complaints regarding the filing process and payment of claims.

National General was founded in 1939 and is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Comments and Questions

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.