Health insurance is undoubtedly a great asset, but it doesn’t cover everything. For times when medical care needs exceed a patient’s current coverage limits, it’s good to have what’s known as supplemental health insurance. This type of policy is best thought of as an extension of the coverage provided by a standard policy, a kind of backup umbrella for extreme medical and healthcare circumstances. Learn more about supplemental insurance and which patients should look into talking about it with their current policy and healthcare provider.
Extra Coverage and Extra Assurance
One of the first things to know about secondary health insurance is it’s available in several different types. Some of the most common include:
- Critical illness insurance
- Short-term health coverage
- Adult dental insurance
- Long-term care insurance
- Vision insurance
- Hospital indemnity insurance
Knowing what’s included in a health insurance policy and understanding how that policy works goes a long way in ensuring patients use their coverage to its full potential. A critical illness policy is essential for cancer patients and others who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses that often come with crippling medical costs that could lead to financial ruin without additional insurance coverage. With hospital indemnity insurance, patients receive a cash benefit in the event they are unable to leave the hospital due to an injury or illness.
Which Patients are Candidates for Supplemental Health Insurance?
When it comes to the question of when it’s time for policyholders to talk with their insurance agent about adding a few extra policies to their current coverage plan, the truth is it depends entirely on the individual, her or his current and future finances, and overall lifestyle. For instance, those with dental problems that might eventually require implants, braces or the like may want to increase their current dental coverage, if they have it.
There are no guarantees when it comes to a person’s health, no matter how much we exercise or eat right. Those who feel there’s a good chance they most likely would not be able to afford extensive and expensive hospital and medical care bills if diagnosed with a serious illness later in life should consider getting long-term care insurance. Any time a person’s financial or health situation changes, either for the better or the worse, it’s best to sit down with insurance providers to discuss current coverage plans to see that they meet the policyholder’s most current and immediate needs.
Medicare Supplemental Plans
Another type of supplementary health coverage is a Medicare supplement plan. While Medicare can go a long way in paying for many medical health supplies and services, there are instances that fall out of its range of coverage. One thing patients should be aware of with this particular secondary plan is it does not extend to instances not normally covered by standard Medicare, making it essential to keep up with any changes that might impact what is and what isn’t currently covered by Medicare.
In regards to paying for health-related services and medical supplies, the way Medicare supplement plans work is a patient’s regular Medicare policy would take care of its share of all incurred costs Medicare normally covers, then the supplementary plan would activate to cover its portion of the medical bills. Some of the most common candidates for Medicare supplement plans are senior citizen patients who need advanced nursing home services as well as those who become hospitalized.
Something else to note here is there’s also Medicare Part D, which is useful for taking care of the full cost of prescription medication; senior citizens can have access to special supplemental plans to adequately meet their special health needs. Such coverage is not considered to be part of Medicare, but it can be used in conjunction with a Medicare policy. For instance, senior citizens might need dentures, implants and other dental services and devices to improve their oral health and make smiling and eating more comfortable. Older individuals also commonly have problems with their vision, and a supplementary vision plan can better ensure they see clearly, which is especially vital for senior citizens who still drive. There’s also final expense and fixed indemnity coverage with a Medicare supplement plan.
Anyone who feels secondary health insurance could prove beneficial should know it has its limits just like standard health policies. There could be a waiting period before payments start to kick in, there might be expenses a secondary policy doesn’t cover or there might be caps determined by how much patients pay and for how long they’ve paid. Those who buy secondary insurance should make themselves well aware of the policy’s limits and remain up-to-date on them in case they change over time.
There are also eligibility requirements for secondary insurance plans. Before deciding whether applicants qualify for coverage, providers take a look at their pre-existing conditions and overall medical history. It’s recommended not to rely on supplemental plans on their own without combining them with a standard health insurance policy. This is because doing so could result in patients having to pay penalties imposed by the ACA, making it especially vital to work with a knowledgeable provider familiar with such coverage.
Meritage is here to provide exemplary coverage and information for all healthcare and medical needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives should you need additional details on secondary health insurance, or if you’re thinking about making changes to your current health policy in Sonoma, Marin or Napa Counties.