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Why a Short-Term Health Plan Might Make Sense for Some Before Obamacare

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the Affordable Care Act nearing its Tuesday deadline for open enrollment, some Americans still aren't sure what moves to make on the fast-moving health care insurance front.

Only four in 10 Americans even know that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And half of Americans don't understand how the ACA will affect their families.

With uncertainty the rule, many Americans without health care or whose employers may be moving them on to heath care exchanges may be considering short-term care insurance -- at least to plug gaps and buy some time until they know where they stand under the new law.

But is taking the short route a good idea?

The Mountain View, Calif., online health insurance exchange eHealthInsurance says so. "If you're uninsured now and biding time until you enroll in 2014 -- or if you find yourself uninsured for a brief period of time in early 2014 -- short-term health insurance is worth considering," says Carrie McLean, eHealth's Obamacare expert (yes, that's her real title).

That said, even McLean says there are pros and cons to short-term coverage.

"Short-term coverage can provide you with a basic level of coverage in case of unexpected injury or illness," she says. "Because coverage under a short-term plan is limited, it's easier to qualify for -- you can buy today and start your coverage almost immediately."

With plans advertised as starting as low as $69 per month for individuals (or $169 for a family plan), McLean says short-term health care is affordable and you can elect to pay it in one lump sum or in monthly installments. (The company has been eyed for its seductive "teaser rates" in the past.)

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