As you probably know, your primary health insurance covers your basic medical expenses like doctor visits, lab work, and prescription drugs, plus some great benefits . but your health plan may not cover everything. a separate plan that offers additional benefits is called secondary insurance.
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Your secondary health insurance may be another health plan, for example, through your spouse. more often, it’s a different type of plan you’ve purchased to extend your coverage. in that case, you might hear it as voluntary or supplemental coverage. all you need to remember is that the primary and secondary plans work together to offer you coordinated benefits.
Reading: What is secondary insurance coverage
Different people need different supplemental plans, depending on their circumstances. Below, you’ll read how Peggy, Cecilia, Dewayne, and Kevin use special policies to prepare for life’s unexpected health and financial challenges.
or watch this video to learn about the different coverage options available to you beyond your medical plan, all in 60 seconds:
dental plan: the mouth-body connection.
What happens in your mouth can have an effect on your overall health. Regular dental care is especially important for people with diabetes, who are more prone to gum disease. dental plans typically cover routine dental cleanings and preventive care, as well as procedures like fillings and extractions.
peggy, 38, is a married mother living in raleigh, nc. As a front desk agent at a local hotel, she purchased dental insurance from her employer even though the family has medical coverage through her husband Jim. She’s glad she did: Peggy broke a filling in a popcorn kernel and it needs a fix. Since she chose a more comprehensive plan, she will pay only a fraction of the cost to get a new filling.
A week from now, a parent at his toddler’s playgroup gives him some news. Experts now recommend that little ones have their first dental appointment at one year of age, or shortly after the first baby tooth erupts. your 2 year old is retarded! Peggy is delighted to discover that her plan covers her son’s visit.
vision plan: a window into your overall health.
Vision plans generally cover routine eye exams and help cover prescription lenses (glasses or contacts) and frames. And just like dental care, eye exams can also detect early signs of general health problems, like high blood pressure and lupus. That’s why it’s smart to see an ophthalmologist even if you have 20/20 vision.
cecilia, 27, is single and lives in miami, fl. the editor of a local magazine has worn prescription glasses since she was a child. she wants to upgrade to a fancier frame this year and knows that her vision plan gives her an annual allowance for frames as well as a reduction in the cost of prescription glasses. if she wanted to try contact lenses, she could use the benefits of her lenses instead of hers. Either way, Ella Cecilia will look her best and protect her long-term vision.
hospital plan: extra help when you need it most.
a hospital indemnity plan is a popular add-on to a high deductible health plan (hdhp) . this supplemental plan gives you a lump sum check if you are admitted to the hospital. You can use it to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses like deductibles and coinsurance, or non-medical expenses like rent and utilities.
dewayne, 49, is a divorced father living in philadelphia. an accountant, he is always weighing the financial considerations of each expense. he has hdhp through his employer and also opts for a hospital indemnity plan. Although his family is in good health, he knows that an unexpected hospital stay can cost $10,000, and the additional plan would help pay for out-of-pocket expenses, such as his high medical deductible.
Shortly thereafter, Dewayne’s daughter is hospitalized with appendicitis. Her hospital plan pays a lump sum benefit that helps offset her medical bills and allows this father to focus on her little girl during her recovery.
disability plan: cover your expenses when you can’t work.
Disability plans are helpful when you’re injured or sick because they cover a portion of your income for everyday expenses. short-term disability coverage can last between 9 and 52 weeks. after that, long-term disability coverage can begin.
Kevin, 52, married his high school sweetheart in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, where they are raising four children. he rarely got sick, until now. after feeling extremely fatigued, kevin saw his primary care doctor, who found blockages in his arteries. A stent procedure was unsuccessful, so Kevin will have to undergo bypass surgery. Since he has no other major health problems, his surgeon expects a full and speedy recovery. but he will be out of work for 8 to 12 weeks.
The family relies on Kevin’s income to cover their main expenses. Fortunately, you have a short-term and long-term disability plan through your employer. Kevin will receive 60 percent of his income while he is out of work, and the family will use the savings and cut back on expenses to help make up the difference. if all goes well, you will only need to use your short-term disability plan. if complications delay your recovery, you will start collecting long-term disability. Knowing that his family’s financial needs will be met for the most part helps Kevin worry less and focus on recovery.
These are some of the insurance options beyond your medical plan that you may want to consider. If you get health insurance through your job, your employer can tell you what additional plans are available to you. some supplemental plans may also be available directly from insurance companies.