Supplemental health insurance plans are additional plans that can be purchased to cover any gaps left by your normal health coverage. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made it easier for many families in the US to find health plans, it’s still difficult for many to get all the coverage they need through a single health plan. Many basic plans don’t include dental or vision insurance, and even more comprehensive plans may not cover certain treatments. Those who qualify may get additional benefits through Original Medicare, but those who don’t qualify will need to look elsewhere.
Supplemental insurance is intended to grant you peace of mind even if your regular insurance plan fails to include all your needs. You can likely get your regular plan to cover basic medical costs such as preventative care, and it may even offer hospital coverage. To decide whether you should look into additional coverage, you’ll need to know what supplemental insurance frequently covers.
Gaps in Medicare
Medicare supplemental insurance, often referred to as Medigap, is meant to cover expenses that aren’t covered under Original Medicare benefits. It’s important to note that these policies can’t be sold along with Medicare Advantage. Medigap supplemental coverage can save you costs such as deductibles, expensive copayments, and even healthcare outside of the U.S. These plans are especially useful when hospitalized, but it’s important to remember they’re limited in that they can’t cover things that aren’t covered under any form of Medicare. They’re also limited to one person, so if you had a spouse who needed better coverage, they would need to purchase their own plan.
Accident insurance can be divided into two basic types: Accident health insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. Accident health insurance provides coverage to those involved in accidents. Coverage may include surgery, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and other expenses. For example, accident health insurance could cover an Orofacial Pain Diagnosis following a car accident.
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance works similarly to life insurance in that it provides a lump sum to the beneficiaries of someone who dies or is permanently disabled in an accident. Accident plans tend to be popular with those who have high deductible health plans in exchange for low premiums since accident plans protect them in case of an unforeseen catastrophe.
Dental and Vision
While the ACA does require marketplace insurance plans to offer pediatric vision and dental coverage, adults aren’t so lucky. Original Medicare also doesn’t cover these benefits, so obtaining supplemental vision and dental plans is quite common. Some are able to sign up for additional benefits through their employer, but those without the option will either have to purchase a supplemental plan or simply pay out of pocket for these expenses.
Also called catastrophic illness insurance, this supplemental plan is meant to cover the costs of serious illnesses and conditions such as heart attacks, cancer, strokes, and debilitating diseases. While one would hope they’d be covered for such events under their normal insurance plan, the truth is that the extended hospital stays and complex procedures these illnesses require often cost more than standard insurance plans will cover.
Depending on the plan, policyholders may be offered continuous income installments or a lump sum once the benefit is needed. This money is meant to cover the out of pocket expenses families would otherwise accrue. They may also receive benefits to help with additional costs like transportation or living expenses. The expenses involved with these illnesses can be financially crippling for many families, which can make critical illness insurance one of the most useful forms of supplemental insurance to have.
As with any insurance policies, you’ll need to carefully study the benefits a supplemental plan can offer as well as its limitations. While these plans can be great in specific circumstances, they won’t make much sense if your needs are already covered by your regular plan.