Supplemental Insurance

As the name suggests, supplemental insurance works in combination with other insurance. It's not designed to stand on its own or provide basic, primary health coverage - and it's not for everyone. Supplemental health insurance is often a good option for the self-employed, families with children, those financially unprepared to handle large medical bills or time off from work due to illness or injury, and those on Medicare.

Services Covered

When it comes to supplemental insurance, you can get additional coverage for a truly amazing amount of conditions or uses. One type of supplemental plan, hospital indemnity insurance, provides fixed cash benefits for covered services, including hospital stays for emergencies and outpatient services.

There are basic supplemental medical plans that provide fixed benefits for covered preventive medical care. If cancer is a concern, there are supplemental cancer insurance plans that pay cash to policyholders for cancer treatments and related expenses.

For situations involving a critical condition or illness, there are policies that give lump sum benefits to help pay out-of-pocket expenses for heart attacks, strokes, heart surgeries, cancer and other illnesses.

Again, nearly any condition can be covered under a supplemental policy. The real barrier to coverage is cost. What are you willing to pay for these types of additional coverage?

Services Not Covered

Even Medicare stops short of truly comprehensive coverage. That's why there's an entire class of Medicare supplement insurance, also known as Medigap. It helps cover some of the expenses not covered by Medicare and limits annual out-of-pocket expenses.

Coverage Limits

Depending on the policy, supplemental insurance can be expensive. Like any type of insurance, you should do good research before making any purchase. You should also balance the costs of additional coverage against its benefits and ask some tough questions.

  • What are the odds that you will use this policy?
  • How much do premiums cost over the course of several years versus paying cash outright for the medical bills?

You should also read the fine print on policies to determine exactly what they cover. This may take some time, but it is an extremely important step to insure that you get exactly what you expect from your coverage.