The cost of health care is rising all the time. Co-pays and deductible amounts can add up, and even with full health coverage, you may find that your medical bills cause more stress than your health challenges.
Supplemental health insurance is one way to help reduce the extra costs associated with serious illnesses.
The best supplemental insurance policy is a plan that complements your current coverage and works when you need it the most. Your employer may offer supplemental health coverage, or you can buy it privately.
Either way, it pays to explore your options. Find a local independent agent who can help you compare supplemental health insurance companies and find the right coverage for your needs.
What to Ask When Comparing Supplemental Health Coverage
- What coverage gaps exist in my current healthcare plan?
- How much can I afford to pay for supplemental health coverage?
- What are my potential out-of-pocket costs?
- Will a supplemental health plan cover my current healthcare providers?
What Is Supplemental Health Insurance?
Supplemental health coverage will pay for certain costs that aren’t covered by your main form of health insurance. These are additional policies, and are not designed to completely replace your primary healthcare coverage.
Supplemental health insurance policies may come with a variety of benefits that you can customize to fit your needs. These policies also have several advantages that aren’t available with basic health insurance.
Many policies have no waiting periods or deductibles, and cash benefits are typically paid directly to you. Additionally, supplemental benefits aren’t contingent on other plans, so you’ll receive benefits no matter what.
What Do Supplemental Insurance Plans Cover?
Supplemental health care coverage can be used to cover a range of medical expenses, such as medications or hospital stays. Depending upon the type of supplemental coverage, the plan may cover deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and medications.
Some supplemental health plans will cover expenses like transportation, food, child care and other unexpected costs you may have during a hospital stay, a lengthy illness, or recovery from an accident. Some plans even include income replacement if you’re out of work for an extended period.
Supplemental health plans have many different coverage options. Some are basic while others are very inclusive. An agent who specializes in health insurance can help to customize a policy for your family and make sure you’re selecting the insurance you really need.
What Are the Different Types of Supplemental Insurance Plans?
There are various forms of supplemental health insurance. These are some of the most common.
- Medigap: This is sold by private companies to consumers enrolled in Medicare. The federal Medicare health insurance program offers decent coverage, but for the elderly and those with disabilities who meet Medicare criteria, medical bills can still be very expensive. Medigap can help pay for normal costs as well as extra hospital benefits, nursing home services, preventive care, and even some procedures performed outside the US.
- Supplemental hospital insurance: This kind of policy, also known as a hospital indemnity plan, takes care of you when you unexpectedly find yourself in the hospital. A serious illness can wreak havoc on your savings, but if you have hospital insurance, even transportation and childcare costs can be covered. You may receive benefits in one lump sum or it may be paid to you in installments. A waiting period may be applicable.
- Supplemental cancer insurance: This type of policy falls under the category of critical care insurance. Cancer can affect anyone, and it can involve expensive medical treatment. The American Cancer Society estimates that 67% of total cancer costs are non-medical and often aren’t covered by regular health insurance. This type of policy can help pay for radiation, chemotherapy, prescription drugs and air travel. Varying levels of coverage are available.
- Accidental death: This kind of policy will pay benefits if you are dismembered or are killed in an accident. You can choose a beneficiary who will receive the benefits in the event of your death. This is often offered by an employer, especially if you have a high-risk career, but it can be purchased privately as well. Your beneficiaries will not receive benefits from this coverage if your death is due to illness, suicide, or natural causes.
- International policies: You can buy a supplemental policy that will provide coverage in the event that you need special health care when in a foreign country.
Who Needs Supplemental Health Insurance?
Not everyone needs supplemental health insurance. While many policies are affordable, you certainly don't want to pay for duplicate coverage.
Check your regular health insurance policy and look for any gaps in coverage. A supplemental health insurance plan may not be worth the extra money unless you will potentially face financial strain from healthcare costs.
On the other hand, if you find one or more gaping holes in your coverage, supplemental health insurance may save you money in the long run.
If you have a dangerous job or pastime, or have a family history of critical illness that could result in high care costs that wouldn’t be covered, supplemental health insurance can provide you with peace of mind.
How to Choose the Best Supplemental Health Insurance Plan
Common sense and a helping hand can go a long way when determining your healthcare needs. It can be frustrating to find the right supplemental health insurance company, even if you know what your budget is and what your gaps are.
When you work with an agent, you can get help sorting through your coverage options and finding the best policy for your needs and budget.
Contact a local independent agent for personalized assistance with all your supplementary health insurance needs.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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